World Record for Extremely Rare Hand-Colored First Edition of the Nuremberg Chronicle
Bonhams Fine Books Sale in New York

An extremely rare first edition of the Nuremberg Chronicle, hand-colored by contemporary artists and bound for the publisher in Nuremberg by the Weltchronik-Meister, set a new world auction record for the book when it sold for $437,813 at Bonhams Fine Books & Manuscripts sale in New York on Friday 11 December. It had been estimated at $200,000-300,000. The sale made a total of $1,670,000.

Bonhams Director of Fine Books in New York, Ian Ehling, said: "This was a very rare copy of one of the most significant and ambitious early printed books. Preserved in its original binding with bold contemporary hand-colored illustrations, the Chronicle unsurprisingly attracted spirited bidding online and on the telephone. The new world auction record price is a true reflection of the book's beauty and importance."

A pictorial history of the world, the Nuremberg Chronicle was written over several years by the doctor and book collector Hartmann Schedel, who was commissioned by two Nuremberg merchants. It was originally published in Latin in an edition of around 1400-1500, of which 400 are thought to have survived. It came in two formats; unbound and uncolored and, at a considerably higher price, hand-colored and bound - this copy was hand-colored and bound in the original first binding from the Nuremberg Weltchronik-Meister.

Other highlights include:

• A handwritten letter by Malcolm X. 1925-1965. (El-Hajj Malik el-Shabazz). A profoundly important Malcolm X letter written from Mecca upon the completion of his pilgrimage (hajj) on the transformation he experienced and acknowledging a turning point in his thinking on race in America. Sold for $106,563 (estimate: $40,000-60,000).
• Gradual for the use of Rome. Illuminated manuscript on vellum, in Latin, Southern Germany, second half of the fifteenth century. The Gradual contains the words and music for the sung parts of the Mass, in the case of the present volume for the entire temporale, the proper of times from the first Sunday of Advent to the last Sunday after Pentecost, and also including the major feasts relating to the life of Christ. Sold for $52,813 (estimate $6,000-9,000).
• The Charles Dickens Collection of Martin Nason including a presentation copy of the Old Curiosity Shop the rare trial issue of A Christmas Carol, as well as a fine collection of signed photographs, manuscripts and printed ephemera from the writings and life of Charles Dickens. Sold for $50,313 (estimate: £30,000-50,000).
• Original manuscripts, documents, and photographs from the estate of Clara Barton, founder of the American Red Cross, including an original autograph manuscript of the Charter for the American Red Cross in the hand of Clara Barton, a series of letters from Susan B. Anthony to Clara Barton, and her original diary from 1874-1875. Sold for $40,313 (estimate: $30,000-40,000).


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