Rare Books Auction in Germany raises &euro1,050,000 for a Gutenberg Bible
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Rare Books Auction in Germany raises &euro1,050,000 for a Gutenberg Bible
Biblia latina – Fust-Schöffer-Bible, 2 volumes, August 14, 1462. Sold for: € 1,050,000.

HAMBURG.- With total proceeds of more than € 2.2 million, the auction of Rare Books at Ketterer Kunst in Hamburg on November 25 did not only yield an excellent result, it also set a new season record for the second consecutive time. The auction‘s undisputed star was the Fust-Schöffer-Bible from Gutenberg‘s printing press, which now is the most expensive bible in German auction history.

Robert Ketterer, owner of Ketterer Kunst, expresses his enthusiasm: “With the two seven-figure results realized for works by Wassily Kandinsky and Andy Warhol in spring, we now set a new mark in the millions in the Rare Books section. This once more underlines our position as Germany‘s number one auction house.“

Christoph Calaminus, auctioneer and head of the Rare Books department of Ketterer Kunst in Hamburg adds: “This has been an excellen auction. The sale of the Fust-Schöffer-Bible was a rare and special event, which is why I am ever the more happy that we accomplished our mission to realize the highest auction result for a bible in Germany ever.“

The moment the Fust-Schöffer-Bible (lot 11), of which only three copies can be found in private ownership world-wide, went to auction was awaited eagerly around the globe. The atmosphere was tense in the saleroom when the masterpiece from the first decade of book printing was called up. A private collector from Switzerland won the precious rarity for a result of € 1,050,000.

Bibles occurred on several occasions in this auction, and next to a Biblia Germanica, the so-called “Merian-Bibel“ (lot 131) from 1630, which soared from a calling price of € 2,500 to a result of € 13,125, Marc Chagall‘s celebrated series of etchings with scenes from the bible was particularly convincing. The work of a one-of-a-kind artistic relevance – its printing plates were destroyed after completion – was lifted from a calling price of € 28,000 to a result of € 60,000 by an American trader who relegated art lovers from all over Germany to places second and beyond.

Second place in the auction ranking was won by the “Geographie opus novissima traductione“ by Claudius Ptolemaeus (lot 26). The work with the first map of America, and increased with later maps from Martin Waldseemüller in one atlas, will now go on a journey to the New World for a result of € 100,000.

Max Beckmann‘s “Brentano, Fanferlieschen Schönefüßchen“ (lot 67) experienced one of the auction‘s sharpest increases, as it was lifted from a calling price of € 7,000 to the result of € 62,500 by a particularly persistent art lover from Southern Germany. His commission beat almost half a dozen phones from Germany and England.

It took a final price of € 30,000* for a collector from the French-speaking part of Switzerland to win Rainer Maria Rilke‘s “Typoskript, Korrekturfahnen, 6 Briefe und 1 eigenh. Gedicht“ (lot 56) over the phone. He did not only outperform competitors from Germany and Austria, but also made for a result a four-fold the calling price of € 8,000.

The sharpest increase of all – that is a twelve-fold of the calling price of € 2,000 – was realized for Friedrich Gerhard Müller‘s nine volume strong “Sammlung russischer Geschichte“ (lot 190), which was popular with book lovers from all over Europe. The very rare complete series of this collection was honored with a result of € 25.000* by a phone bidder from the American West Coast. Neither competitors from all over Europe on the phones nor a persistent bidder in the sale room could curb his eagerness.

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