When an art fair is also a book fair (rare)

GNTHER Two things stand out to me. One, the Stammheim Missal (1170-1180), now resides in the collection of the J. Paul Getty Museum in ...


GNTHER Two things stand out to me. One, the Stammheim Missal (1170-1180), now resides in the collection of the J. Paul Getty Museum in Los Angeles. I acquired it from a German noble family who had owned it for about 200 years and sold it in the mid-90s to the Getty. I still think this is the best manuscript in their collection. Another favorite is the 10th century Etymologies written by Isidore of Seville. In the 19th century, a collector divided the book into two parts, the second of which was passed on to a European collector. This collector came to me in the hope that we could find the first part and bring the two together. The missing half was found, and after 200 years it was complete and complete again.

TENSCHERT After privately purchasing an incredibly rich 14th-century Book of Hours, illuminated throughout and with 60 (!) Full-page miniatures of the so-called master of Martainville, we discovered that it must have been act from the personal prayer book of Queen Catherine of Aragon. , first wife of Henry VIII. The manuscript sold immediately. I can’t share buyer’s name or price, only that it’s a US customer. Americans are waking up to this kind of collector’s item.

Any advice for starting a rare book collection?

SHAPERO The only advice to any collector, in any area, is to buy what you like. That’s not to say that you shouldn’t do your research or educate yourself in this area – in fact, it’s essential – but no matter how much value shifts, up or down, you will always have this. love and appreciation for what you own.

TENSCHERT Buy only the nicest item you can afford, get rid of anything ordinary or in poor condition. As a book lover, I must tell you to steer clear of isolated miniatures, let alone clippings that only remind you that they are slaughterhouse waste of manuscripts when completed.

CLAVREUIL Whatever your budget, visit as many bookstores as possible and meet with the experts to determine the type of collection you want to build. Trust and learn from booksellers.

GNTHER There are no rules for collecting, but be clear about your motives. You may decide that you only want books from one time period or geographic region, and then you can refine your eye through a specific study. It is possible to create a collection at any budget (within reason) and it will be something special if it was motivated by your passion.

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