The following ran as a sidebar to a feature in our Jan. 5 edition on Mr. Frank Martin, a Charleston, W. Va., collector of medieval books. Included in his collection are Roman Missals and Psalters, some of which date back 800 years. A version of the article may be read at The Charleston Gazette. Using the word “antiques” to describe Martin’s books and manuscripts is an understatement.
Pages from illuminated manuscripts can be surprisingly affordable and collectible given their age, aesthetic and the fact all were done by hand by trained craftsmen. Others, however, regularly sell in excess of six figures, especially those printed in the first 50 years of movable type.
Recent sales of illuminated pages
The mid to late 15th century vellum leaf at left sold for $550 at Affiliated Auctions’ Oct. 16 sale. The piece measures 9 1/4 inches by 11 1/2 inches framed; the image itself measures 4 1/2 inches by 5 inches. Complete with certificate of authenticity attached.
2500 Apalachee Parkway
Tallahassee, FL 32301
Writing is in Latin, on vellum. Reported as a rare leaf due to King Henry VIII of England destroying many of the Catholic books.
The recto and verso each have 35 lines of double column text in gothic script. Initials are in blue ink, each with a dragon in red pen work as well as initials in heavily embossed gold on a rectangular blue and red ground with white tendrils.
The piece is in fine condition and measures 6 inches by 4 1/4 inches.
Tory Hill Auctions
5301 Hillsborough Street
Raleigh, NC 27606
Illuminated in gold, it appears to have text written on the verso. The image size is 7 3/8 inches by 5 1/8 inches; the frame size is 13 inches by 9 3/4 inches.
Bunte Auction Services, Inc.
755 Church Road
Elgin, IL 60123
Photos courtesy LiveAuctioneers.com
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