Nuremberg Chronicle: the first mechanically printed books put up for auction


PA Media

One of the first mechanically printed books is about to be auctioned off in Scotland.

The super rare publication is a copy of the Nuremberg Chronicle produced in 1493 – an account of Christian history from Creation to the 1500s.

It was written in Latin by the physician and humanist Hartmann Schedel and was later translated into German.

He is expected to reach between £ 30,000 and £ 40,000 when he goes under the hammer.

The book was funded by two dealers, Sebald Schreyer and Sebastian Kammermeister, and has been in the same family since at least the 1860s.

When was mechanical printing invented?

Johannes Gutenberg printingGetty Images

Johannes Gutenberg’s invention was revolutionary

Hundreds of years ago, all of Europe’s books and manuscripts were painstakingly handwritten.

Later printing was done using individually carved wooden printing blocks for each page

But the invention of the movable-type printing press in the 1440s by Johannes Gutenberg made printing much faster and cheaper.

Gutenberg found a way to print pages quickly and accurately, using movable metal letters, allowing books to be mass produced.

It is said that his invention changed the world forever and was unlike anything anyone at the time had seen before.

When is the auction?

The auction will be organized by Lyon and Turnbull in Edinburgh on Wednesday.

Cathy Marsden, Lyon & Turnbull rare books, manuscripts and maps specialist, said: “It was a pleasure to see this Latin incunabula, a book from the birthplace of printing.

“The advent of mechanical printing was a bit like the creation of the Internet in terms of suddenly making information through the written word much more widely accessible.

“Not only has the publication of the Nuremberg Chronicle played an extremely important role in the history of printing, it is also a fascinating account of Christian history through the eyes of its author, combined with many elaborate illustrations. ”


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