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G_j Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Apr-25-11 10:27 AM
Original message
500-year-old book surfaces in Utah
Source: AP

By BRIAN SKOLOFF, Associated Press Brian Skoloff, Associated Press Mon Apr 25, 5:59 am ET

SALT LAKE CITY Book dealer Ken Sanders has seen a lot of nothing in his decades appraising "rare" finds pulled from attics and basements, storage sheds and closets.

<snip.>

Late in the afternoon, a man sat down and started unwrapping a book from a big plastic sack, informing me he had a really, really old book and he thought it might be worth some money," he said. "I kinda start, oh boy, I've heard this before."

Then he produced a tattered, partial copy of the 500-year-old Nuremberg Chronicle.

The German language edition printed by Anton Koberger and published in 1493 is a world history beginning in biblical times. It's considered to be one of the earliest and most lavishly illustrated books produced after Johannes Gutenberg invented the printing press and revolutionized publishing.

"I was just absolutely astounded. I was flabbergasted, particularly here in the interior West," Sanders said. "We might see a lot of rare Mormon books and other treasures, but you don't expect to see a five centuries old book, you don't expect to see one of the oldest printed books in the world pop up in Sandy, Utah."



Read more: http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20110425/ap_on_re_us/us_old_...
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nebenaube Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Apr-25-11 10:29 AM
Response to Original message
1. War trophy? n/t
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FormerDittoHead Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Apr-25-11 10:32 AM
Response to Reply #1
3. Sounds like. My father was in Nuremberg - brought home a steamer trunk of Leicas.
Edited on Mon Apr-25-11 10:33 AM by FormerDittoHead
Which he sold for way too little before I was born.
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DURHAM D Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Apr-25-11 10:35 AM
Response to Reply #1
4. Also my first thought...
And my second thought given that the current owner does not want to be identified.
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MineralMan Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Apr-25-11 10:39 AM
Response to Reply #1
5. Probably not.
More likely it came from immigrants who put a high enough value on the book to make it one of the possessions that traveled with them to America.

I'm an estate sale aficionado, and occasionally find incunabula at them. Most often, it's been spotted, and priced out of my buying range, but occasionally, something is left in a box or somewhere. I've had some very interesting finds, which I promptly pass on through the auction process. You just never know what will turn up in old houses where people have lived for a long time.

Stuff as rare as the one in the OP is rare, so it's remarkable, but there's more of it out there than you'd think. It's just that you don't come across it all the time.

My best find of all, in that line, though, was a small 8 cm. Sumerian cuneiform tablet, wrapped in a letter from an archaeologist that detailed where and how it was found, along with a partial translation. It was in a box I bought at an estate sale. Nothing even close to that was in the box.

After a bit of thought, I contacted the family, told them about it, and returned it to them. I had a sizable monetary value, but they had been looking for it in the deceased person's effects, and knew it was somewhere. It's in a museum, now, donated by the heirs of that archaeologist. Sometimes, there are considerations beyond profit.
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cliffordu Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Apr-25-11 10:51 AM
Response to Reply #5
7. considerations beyond profit, indeed.
I like you more all the time, MM....
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MineralMan Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Apr-25-11 10:57 AM
Response to Reply #7
8. Thanks, but it just seemed the right thing to do at the time.
Edited on Mon Apr-25-11 10:59 AM by MineralMan
That family was so glad to have that back that it was well worth it. Doing the right thing is just the right thing to do. I learned that one from my father, who never, to my knowledge, did the wrong thing in any situation. I wish I could live fully up to his standard.
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TuxedoKat Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Apr-25-11 12:22 PM
Response to Reply #8
25. Good for you
I learned that from my dad too. :)
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AlecBGreen Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Apr-26-11 08:24 AM
Response to Reply #8
34. +1
Good for you MM! :yourock:
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Sal Minella Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Apr-25-11 11:14 AM
Response to Reply #7
12. Same here. One of the DU names I always hope to see on site. n/t
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proud patriot Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Apr-25-11 11:06 AM
Response to Reply #5
9. You Sir are an Honorable Man
:patriot:
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MineralMan Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Apr-25-11 11:20 AM
Response to Reply #9
14. It's better, in the long run, to be honorable.
That's how it seems to me. The pleasure of handing that back to the archaeologist's family was a far more satisfying thing than the money I could have gotten for the tablet. The only other time such an occasion has come up was at a garage sale.

The sale was at a pretty crummy apartment building, and was obviously happening so the woman having the sale could pay her rent. She didn't have much of interest at the sale, but there was a cardboard box under a table. I looked in it, and it was full of old silver and turquoise jewelry, badly tarnished and all jumbled together. I could see that it was very old and authentic stuff. Whoa! I thought. I asked her how much for the box and she said $20. That time, I didn't need to think about it.

I told her about a shop in a nearby town who specialized in Navajo turquoise and silver jewelry, and told her to take the box there and get an appraisal. When I told her that she had hundreds of dollars worth of old Navajo jewelry, at a minimum, she started crying. I recommended the shop because I knew the guy there, and knew he'd offer her an honest price for the jewelry. I don't think I could have lived with myself if I had given her that $20 and taken the stuff. So, again, I benefited more from giving her some good news than I would have from the money.

Now, had she been asking $500 for the box of jewelry, I'd have paid her and taken it, without a second thought, since she would have recognized that it had value. There's a line to be drawn with stuff like this.
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proud patriot Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Apr-26-11 01:56 PM
Response to Reply #14
37. Indeed
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rasputin1952 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Apr-25-11 11:10 AM
Response to Reply #5
11. Good for you!
My stepdad brought home a solid silver Torah marker of some sort that was buried in the woods sometime between 1939-42. A friend of his found it, and asked, that if anything happened to him, please make sure it made it back to the States. The finder was killed a while later, and my stepdad brought it with him from Germany. It was forgotten in a box, he wasn't sure what to do with it, and there was no family to be found. After his death, my mom was "cleaning out" all kinds o stuff and came across it. We grew up around a lot of Holocaust survivors, so she decided to ask what it was. After finding out, she took it to a Synagogue in NYC, where they accepted it as a gift...it wound up with some other artifacts from the Holocaust in a mini-museum that was attached to the Synagogue. The story wound up in the local papers, turns out, it was some 600 years old and weighed in at a hefty pound and a half...it was also in remarkable condition after all it had been through.

When someone asked her why she donated it, she just looked at the guy and said, "it's simply the right thing to do." I think we forget that at times, it comes down to, "the right thing to do."

:hi:


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MineralMan Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Apr-25-11 11:22 AM
Response to Reply #11
15. Very good. This is the kind of thing that keeps my faith in
humanity in good order. Thanks for the story.
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Yo_Mama Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Apr-25-11 11:19 AM
Response to Reply #5
13. You, Sir, are a decent human being
The story itself is very interesting, but this story provides some comfort to me as I contemplate our current problems.
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MineralMan Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Apr-25-11 11:24 AM
Response to Reply #13
17. I think you'd be surprised at how many people do things like that
all the time. I truly believe that most people will choose to do the right thing most of the time. I have to believe that, really.
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mahatmakanejeeves Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Apr-25-11 11:23 AM
Response to Reply #5
16. I found a Breitling watch in the pocket of a jacket I bought at a yard sale.
Yeah, I handed it back to the seller. She hadn't known it was there. It was her ex-boyfriend's jacket, so no telling if the watch made it back to him. I can't control everything.

And of course I've found bags of dope in yard sale clothes, which I quietly return....
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MineralMan Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Apr-25-11 11:25 AM
Response to Reply #16
18. Good job.
Honesty and ethical behavior pay off, in many ways.
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pansypoo53219 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Apr-25-11 12:07 PM
Response to Reply #5
22. very true. estate sales are great places for books.
and usually a bargain. tho, i did drive to the bonnies. forgot why. but had been a book collector and there were some 1700 and a few older books in the cases. $$$. i stick kick myself not asking for assitance in getting ALL the free 1903 encyclopedia books from the attic of one mansion. instead i only have 3 from the set. man they are good bathroom books. so good i had to buy a 1891 set.
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MineralMan Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Apr-25-11 12:18 PM
Response to Reply #22
24. I just sold my 11th Edition Britannica a few months ago.
Got more for it than I expected, too. I love Craig's List. A very nice Episcopal minister bought it at the asking price for his library. I hadn't looked at it in several years.
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lumberjack_jeff Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Apr-25-11 07:09 PM
Response to Reply #5
30. Kudos
:yourock:
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nebenaube Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Apr-25-11 07:35 PM
Response to Reply #5
31. I get that..
That is basically what I did with all the Nazi artifacts I found as a kid growing up in Germany. I donated them to the Grafenwohr city museum just before I left the country.
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crikkett Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Apr-26-11 08:29 AM
Response to Reply #5
35. what did the tablet say?
you said that the letter included a partial translation.

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Javaman Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Apr-26-11 08:34 AM
Response to Reply #35
36. It was the assembly instructions for a pool table.
:rofl:
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harun Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Apr-25-11 10:31 AM
Response to Original message
2. Super cool.
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xchrom Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Apr-25-11 10:44 AM
Response to Original message
6. wow -- imagine holding that. nt
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proud patriot Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Apr-25-11 11:10 AM
Response to Original message
10. very cool
:-)
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Book Lover Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Apr-25-11 11:51 AM
Response to Original message
19. This was discussed on the bookarts listserv a few weeks ago
I think this story is a wonderful example of how people simply revere books. This book is actually not all that rare, it is certainly in poor condition, and I'd bet my next paycheck it is incomplete. Leaves from the Nuremberg Chronicle regularly sell on eBay and from dealers for about $100 each. But everyone here is all agog over the story. Books are *magic*!
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Lorien Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Apr-25-11 11:52 AM
Response to Original message
20. I had to chuckle when seeing what's to the left of the book dealer in this photo
Edited on Mon Apr-25-11 11:52 AM by Lorien
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G_j Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Apr-25-11 12:09 PM
Response to Reply #20
23. LOL
I bet that is worth something also.
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LibertyFox Donating Member (124 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Apr-25-11 12:55 PM
Response to Reply #20
27. Now we know what Santa does in the off-season.n/t
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jwirr Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Apr-25-11 12:02 PM
Response to Original message
21. Actually it does not surprise me that the book was found there. Mormons
are genealogists and a history book like that would be priceless. I hope they republish it. I love old history books because they often have the names of the participants in them - more so than modern day history books.
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Book Lover Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Apr-25-11 12:51 PM
Response to Reply #21
26. It has been
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RainDog Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Apr-25-11 05:05 PM
Response to Reply #21
29. dover books has reproductions from the Nuremberg Chronicles
available now.

I've seen a real Nuremberg Chronicle up close - got to touch it and everything b/c of my work. The colors are almost garish - but it's really a marvel to see. It's a very large format book - like the early Gutenberg Bibles.
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WatsonT Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Apr-25-11 04:04 PM
Response to Original message
28. But you have to read it in a hat
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Keith Bee Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Apr-25-11 07:37 PM
Response to Original message
32. Lemme guess:
It says, "Yea verily, a man named Mitt shall lead them." :eyes:
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-..__... Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Apr-26-11 07:59 AM
Response to Original message
33. You know...
this thing would look fantastic in my shop... I mean, it's a piece of history. Who wouldn't want it?

My only concern is it's condition; it's old, it's used and in pretty tough shape.

It could end up costing me a fortune having it restored.

Best I can offer is $150.00.

Take it or leave it...

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