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Digital Subscriptions > Antiques Trade Gazette > 2305 > How fragments sell for fortunes

How fragments sell for fortunes

Bindings can conceal much earlier and very valuable works – but bits of them only

Books and works on paper

Over the years, any number of rare and very early manuscript fragments have been recovered from disintegrating old bindings in which they had been used as packing.

One such find, sold for £36,000, was the first item to be offered in a 175-lot, July 6 sale of Western and Oriental manuscripts and miniatures held by Dreweatts & Bloomsbury (18/12% buyer’s premium).

The leaf, illustrated right, was removed from the binding of a 1489, Antwerp edition of Petrarch’s Decretum de contemptu mundi, and it features part of Charlemagne’s Admonitio Generalis, the law codes issued by the royal Frankish court in 789.

More significantly, it dates either from the lifetime of Charlemagne himself, or from the decades immediately following his death in 814. Carolingian law, the cataloguer pointed out, was founded on capitularies – documents recording the decisions of the royal court that were distributed throughout the provinces.

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About Antiques Trade Gazette

Antiques Trade Gazette is the essential publication for everyone with a serious interest in art, antiques and collectables. Every week it is packed with up-to-the-minute news on the market, with individual items beautifully illustrated throughout. Since 1971 it has been the most reliable source of information on what is really happening at auctions in the UK and around the world. Each issue is filled with auction advertisements and detailed auction reports written by expert journalists. The Dealer’s Diary section keeps readers constantly updated on what is happening at the fairs and markets and in the galleries and shops. Market professionals and serious collectors throughout the world rely on ATG to keep them informed on developments and issues which shape the art market. It is here that they learn about the prices achieved at auction in every area - from antiquities to pop memorabilia, from impressionist paintings to Chinese art. With 500 or more art objects pictured, every issue is a treat to the eye and a visual education. Whatever the topic Antiques Trade Gazette is well-informed, up-to-date and entertaining.

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