Posted on 08/27/2020 at 10:00 AM by Sadye Scott-Hainchek

What we learned from a German library’s recent book purchase: never say never.

The Guardian reports that in 1648, Duke Augustus, a member of the German House of Welf, tried to buy what’s known as a friendship book to put in his library.

This book is notable among others like it, in that the people who signed it were luminaries like Cosimo De’ Medici; the Holy Roman Emperor Rudolf II; and Christian IV, the king of Denmark and Norway.

These men commissioned an artist to paint something to accompany their signatures, making the book truly a work of art — and highly sought after.

Duke Augustus was unsuccessful, but fortunately, his attempts were recorded in some way — research from Sotheby’s, which was asked to auction off the book last year, uncovered its connection to the Herzog August Bibliothek and led staffers to arrange a private sale.

The book, known as Das Großes Stammbuch, was purchased for around €2.8 million ($3.3 million).

Read more about the book and its journey in the Guardian.

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Categories: Today in Books

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