Werner Rolevinck's Fasciculus Temporum - the first history of the world ever created - highlighted a June 21 Rare Books and Manuscripts sale in San Francisco.
Werner Rolevinck was a German monk and historian who created over 50 titles during his lifetime, with the Fasciculus Temporum standing as his most triumphant work. First published circa 1471, the book provides a complete history of the world from creation to Pope Sixtus IV.
As if an entire history of the world wasn't a big enough feat in the 15th century, Rolevinck created the book with dual parallel timelines, one running from creation, the other from the birth of Jesus Christ. The work was an instant hit upon its release, with over 30 editions published before Rolevinck's death in 1502.
It also stands as the second book ever published by any living author, with only Robertus Valturius' 1472 work, De re militaria, published earlier. The auction example of the Fasciculus Temporum is one of just 13 known manuscript copies, and one of just seven that pre-date the printed book.
A spectacular work, the manuscript comprises 30 vellum leaves in Latin, presented in an unusually large size known as "grand format". The magnificent manuscript stands in contrast to the printed book, having been embellished with three miniature paintings of the Holy Trinity, while the print edition features only basic woodcut illustrations.
Despite recent market success, the manuscript just about topped its low estimate of $100,000 to achieve $102,000. This may be attributed to the auction being held in the US, where rare manuscripts relating the country's own history traditionally fare much better.
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Collectors won't want to miss out on our Elizabeth I signed manuscript, which features an incredible example of the Royal Great Seal.