With the top result of around 1.7 million*, the Rare Books Auction at Ketterer Kunst
in Hamburg on November 29 exceeded the excellent spring result by ca. 20%. In the Evening Sale alone almost 90% of the objects were sold, many with enormous increases owed to the interest of at times up to 20 bidders. The stars of the evening were Abraham Ortelius and Gregor Mendel.
A life without Google Maps is posssible: The analog world of Abraham Ortelius, whose atlas Theatrum orbis terrarum (lot 22) was the measure of all things for all later atlases, attracted great attention - not only in the run-up to the auction and in the due to Covid regulations rather sparsely attended auction room. Phone bidders in particular, of which most were from Europe and the USA, but also various online bidders, lifted the impressive book from a calling price of 65,000 to the excellent result of 162,500, eventually granted by a French trader.
The battle for Gregor Mendels Versuche über Pflanzen-Hybriden (lot 42), fought by around a dozen proxies and seven phones from Germany, Austria and the USA, was not least impressive. Despite the late persistence of an American trader, a German private collection eventually carried the trophy home for 143,750* - more than a five-fold of the calling price.
This result is a world record price for the first edition, explains Christoph Calaminus, auctioneer and head of Ketterer Rare Books in Hamburg, happily. He continues with much general contentment: It was a very good sale with brisk domestic and international bidding, to which more than 40 results in five figure realms and an continuously growing online participation testify.
German book lovers let Will Grohmanns fantastic artist book with woodcuts and book decor by Ernst Ludwig Kirchner (lot 69) soar to nearly three and a half times its calling price of 15,000. A German private collection eventually honored the signed de-luxe edition with 60,000.
Estimated at 8,000, it also was a German bidder who stood his grounds for the monumental splendid work (lot 31) by the Orient painter David Roberts. After a tough battle against international competitors, mainly from Italy and Great Britain, he gained the victory for a result of 27,500.
Yet another highlight was the Latin Book of Hours for the Use of Langres. With his generous written bid, an Austrian collector lifted the rare manuscript from a calling price of 36,000 to a result of 60.000 and relegated competitors, in particular a persistent English trader, to places second and beyond.