€78.000 for a herbal book at auction in Germany
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€78.000 for a herbal book at auction in Germany
The top spot is held by the Latin herbal book 'Herbarius Patavie'.

HAMBURG.- With an overall result of € 1.6 million*, the two-day auction of Rare Books at Ketterer Kunst in Hamburg on 17/18 November realized an excellent result that even topped that of this year's spring auction by around € 100.000. A series of botanic works was in particular demand, as they were entirely sold with sharp increases.

The top spot is held by the Latin herbal book 'Herbarius Patavie' (lot 28), which is inscribed with the autographed ownership entry of the anatomist and botanist Lorenz Heister. The well-filled order book was even beaten by the rush in the salesroom and on the numerous phone lines. In the end bidders from Germany, Austria, Italy, France and England competed for the work from 1485. Eventually, a particularly persistent Hessian collector carried the trophy home with his bid of € 78.000*.

Similar attention was raised by the incunabula 'Hortus sanitatis' (lot 27), made in Strasbourg in 1497. Eight phone bidders from all over Europe were competing for this lot in a hot bidding skirmish which was stopped by a private collector from the principality Liechtenstein, who made the wonderful copy of one of the finest and most comprehensive herbal and medical books from the 15th century sure for himself for a result of € 54.000*.

While an English collector valued the auction's top lot, the famous 'Weltchronik' (lot 12) by Hartmann Schedel with a result of € 120.000*, a Southern German collection honored the 'Neunte Deutsche Bibel' (lot 15), another highlight of the auction which also adorned the title of the catalog of the evening auction, with a result of € 65.000*.

In the section of autographs it was especially Hermann Hesse's manuscript 'Zwölf Gedichte' (lot 116) with signature and 13 feather drawings over watercolors from 1954. Energetic efforts from Germany paid off. A Southern German art trader stood his grounds against fierce competitors and can call the unique piece, called up at € 12.000, his own for a result of € 38.000*.

A poem of a very different kind comes from Henri Chopin, a key figure of the European post-war avant- garde. His 29 'dactylopoèmes' (lot 125) made in various typewriter colors in 1978-82. The fascinating and optically impressive collection of graphic works, which climbed from € 3.400 to the result of € 28.000*, realizing an eight-fold of its starting price, was in particular demand. The inexorable bidding skirmish was won by an English art trader on the phone, who eventually stood his grounds against an especially persistent French competitor in the salesroom.

Another live bidder in the room won a rare German Dada publication. With a result of € 20.000*, Raoul Hausmann's work 'Material der Malerei, Plastik, Architektur' from 1918 (lot 106) achieved more than four times its starting price of € 5.000 and was sold to the German art commerce, a committed private collector from Hamburg was left empty-hand.

With the lot number 166, the section of Geography had a very special object in store. In early forenoon a 'Chinese Vase' from the possession of Ed Zimmermann was called up. He was a member of the Swedish-Chinese expedition to Central Asia under Sven Hedin between 1926 and 1935. During his long stay Zimmermann even became medicine man under the Mongols, for he successfully treated illnesses with Aspirin and Eau de Cologne 4711. When he was able to heal the nephew of the 13th Dalai Lama, who had a slit and purulent throat, he was given an almost 4000 years old ceramic jug as complimentary gift in context of an audience. Called up at just € 800, it found a new home in Hamburg for the result of € 14.400*.

* The rounded result is the hammer price + 20 percent buyer's premium

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€78.000 for a herbal book at auction in Germany

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