Knowledge does not take place, but sometimes it can be worth an eye. We dive into libraries and collections and tell you about some of the most expensive books in the world and the fortune they have cost.
At Theforbiz we confess to being lovers of reading, a habit that extends the limits of the imagination, allows us to know other lives from the teleportation that is a novel and provides us with numerous health benefits: it increases life expectancy, improves the ability to learn, drive creativity and decision making, increase empathy and reduce stress and anxiety. Without going any further, we recently echoed an investigation of more than 160,000 adults in 31 different countries that revealed that growing up in a house full of books improves skills such as literacy, calculation or ICT management.
The rarest books in history
In many occasions we have provided literary recommendations to swell your bookshelf: from the best kitchen tomes to become an amateur chef and surprise between the kitchen to the most relevant classics of science fiction, through the best novels to give away today or the best books to reset errata and be a more creative person. Today, however, talk about those volumes that are quite far from the economic possibilities of the most common of mortals. We review which the ten most expensive books in the world are.
Codex Leicester, by Leonardo da Vinci
The entrepreneur and philanthropist Bill Gates, founder of Microsoft, took this valuable work in 1994. It is a 72-page scientific document written by the Renaissance genius Leonardo da Vinci and contains knowledge of astronomy, meteorology, hydraulics, cosmology, geology and paleontology. After spending more than two centuries in the hands of the descendants of the first Earl of Codex Leicester, Thomas Coke, Gates paid for it the astronomical one – never better said – a figure of 30.8 million dollars, equivalent to 23 million Euros.
Acquired in 2007 by the American businessman David Rubenstein, the one who was also paid a millionaire amount for another book on this list- after paying 15.5 million dollars. It is a 1297 copy of this priceless historical document, handwritten and stamped by King Edward I.
The original letter was granted by John I of England and drafted by the archbishop of Canterbury, Stephen Langton, to make peace between the English monarch and a group of rebellious barons, promising to protect the ecclesiastical rights, the barons before the illegal imprisonment, the access to immediate justice and limitations on feudal fees to the Crown.
Book of Psalms of the Bay
It is the first printed book in what is now the United States and dates from 1640, when it was made in Cambridge, Massachusetts, twenty years after the arrival of the pilgrims. The form belonged to the collection of the Old South Church of Boston, which had it in its possession for three hundred years, having two copies at its disposal. The American businessman David Rubenstein bought a copy of the printed book for 14.165 million dollars.
The book of Psalms of the Bay was part of an edition of 1,700 copies of which only 11 copies remain today distributed in the libraries of Harvard, Yale, Oxford, the New York Public Library and the Huntington Library in California.
Gospels of Henry the Lion
These gospels written on behalf of Henry the Lion, Duke of Babiera and Saxony, written and illustrated at the Helmarshausen monastery in 1188, were purchased in 1983 for a value of 8.15 million pounds by a group of German institutions, although its current value is estimated to be around 16 million Euros. There are 800 pages handwritten and commissioned by the Prince of Saxony and Bavaria illustrating the medieval art applied to this type of format
Gospel of St. Cuthbert of Lindisfarne
Currently owned by the British Library, it is the oldest European book preserved in perfect condition. It is a manuscript and Latin copy of the Gospel according to St. John, discovered in the tomb of St. Cuthbert to open in 1104. It reaches the current value of 10.7 million Euros.
Rothschild’s prayer book
It was purchased at auction for 13.6 million by Australian businessman Kerry Stokes of Christie’s New York and is now on display at the National Library of Australia. It is a prayer book that reflects the achievements and beauty of Renaissance Flemish painting, with 150 pages and high-quality miniatures by authors such as Gerard Horenbout, Simon Bening and Maximilian I’s Book of Hours Master. The copy had been previously sold in 1999 in London for 9.8 million Euros, triple the expected, which made it become the most expensive manuscript ever auctioned.
The Birds of America, by John James Audubon
The London art dealer Michael Tollemache bought it in 2010 paying 8.4 million Euros. It is a very special work of which only 120 complete copies were published between 1827 and 1838; a total of 435 impressions distributed in four volumes. The delicate hand-made illustrations were made by the ornithologist John James Audubon on a natural scale after touring the Mississippi River in 1820. The work consists of 435 watercolors.
Comedies, histories and tragedies
We talked about his first folio: this single page was worth 3.94 million and belongs to the first compilation of plays by Shakespeare. The book has 36 folios with 11 tragedies, 15 comedies and 10 historical works. It was published in 1963. Today its value, despite the price at which it was awarded, has risen considerably and is already estimated at 16 million Euros.
The Canterbury Tales
There are only 12 copies of the original Canterbury short story written by Geoffrey Chaucer, one of them bought by book merchants in London in 1998 for a price of 7.5 million Euros. It is one of the masterpieces of the English narrative, written in 1478 and profusely illustrated with miniatures.