RESULTS: The Arcana Collection: Exceptional Illuminated Manuscripts and Incunabula






Lots Sold: 40

Lots Offered: 48

Sold by Lot: 83%

Sold by £: 59%

Exchange Rate£:= $1.511/  €1.199





Estimate (£)


Purchase Price




Bartholomaeus Anglicus (by 1203-1272), Le livre des propriétés des choses, in the French translation of Jean Corbechon, Illuminated Manuscript On Vellum

500,000 - 800,000





Hieronymus (St., c.342-420). Epistolae. Edited by Adrianus Brielis (d.1472). Mainz: Peter Schoeffer, 7 September 1470

800,000 - 1,200,000





Schedel, Hartmann (1440-1514). Liber Chronicarum, in German: Das Buch der Chroniken und Geschichten mit figuren und pildnussen. Translated from Latin by Georg Alt (c.1450-1510). Nuremberg: Anton Koberger, 23 December 1493

800,000 - 1,200,000





Boccaccio, Giovanni (?1313-75). Decamerone. - Hieronymus Squarzaficus (fl. 1475-after 1503). Vita di Boccaccio. Venice: Johannes and Gregorius de Gregoriis, de Forlivio, 20 June 1492

220,000 - 280,000





The Hours of François I, Use of Rome, in Latin, illuminated manuscript on vellum, [Paris or Tours] 1539-1540

300,000 - 500,000





Colonna, Francesco (1433-1527). Hypnerotomachia Poliphili, in Italian. Venice: Aldus Manutius for Leonardus Crassus, December 1499

220,000 - 260,000





Plinius Secundus, Gaius (23-79). Historia naturalis, in Italian. Translated by Cristoforo Landino (1424-1492). Venice: Nicolaus Jenson, 1476

250,000 - 350,000





Fridolin, Stephan (d.1498). Schatzbehalter der wahren Reichtümer des Heils. Nuremberg: Anton Koberger, 8 November 1491

120,000 - 160,000





Simon Bening (1483/84-1561): The Virgin and Child in a garden between the nativity and Christ among the doctors, illuminated triptych on vellum on wooden panels

150,000 - 200,000





Hours and Ferial Psalter, Use of Langres, in Latin, illuminated manuscript on vellum, [Langres or Troyes] 1463, with later additions

200,000 - 300,000





Comment: Margaret Ford, Director, Head of Department: “The Arcana Collection has attracted huge admiration and interest leading up to Part I of the sale. Today’s auction took place in a packed saleroom and realised the highest total for an auction of Books and Manuscripts at Christie’s in London since the landmark Longleat sale in 2002. It is also the first time since that sale that a book has sold here for over £1 million. While the top lot did not find a buyer which had an effect on the sold rate (by value), we saw all but 8 lots find buyers, and the breadth of bidding was illustrated by the fact that the top 10 lots were acquired by 10 different clients. We look forward to Part 2 of the collection on 28 October, which will offer post-1500 printed books and non-Western European manuscripts, including examples from Russia and the Middle East.


About Christie’s

Founded in 1766, Christie’s is a world-leading art and luxury business. Renowned and trusted for its expert live and online auctions, as well as its bespoke private sales, Christie’s offers a full portfolio of global services to its clients, including art appraisal, art financing, international real estate and education. Christie’s has a physical presence in 46 countries, throughout the Americas, Europe, Middle East, and Asia Pacific, with flagship international sales hubs in New York, London, Hong Kong, Paris and Geneva. It also is the only international auction house authorized to hold sales in mainland China (Shanghai).

Christie’s auctions span more than 80 art and luxury categories, at price points ranging from $200 to over $100 million. In recent years, Christie’s has achieved the world record price for an artwork at auction (Leonardo da Vinci’s Salvator Mundi, 2017), for a 20th century artwork (Andy Warhol’s Shot Sage Blue Marilyn, 2022) and for a work by a living artist (Jeff Koons’ Rabbit, 2019). Christie's is also recognised as a reference for prestigious single owner collections, having auctioned 8 of the 10 most important collections in history.

Christie’s Private Sales offers a seamless service for buying and selling art, jewellery and watches outside of the auction calendar, working exclusively with Christie’s specialists at a client’s individual pace.

Recent innovations at Christie’s include the groundbreaking sale of the first NFT for a digital work of art ever offered at a major auction house (Beeple’s Everydays, March 2021), with the unprecedented acceptance of cryptocurrency as a means of payment. As an industry leader in digital innovation, Christie’s also continues to pioneer new technologies that are redefining the business of art, including use of hologram technology to tour life-size 3D objects around the world, and the creation of viewing and bidding experiences that integrate augmented reality, global livestreaming, buy-now channels, and hybrid sales formats. 

Christie’s is dedicated to advancing responsible culture throughout its business and communities worldwide, including achieving sustainability through net zero carbon emissions by 2030, and actively using its platform in the art world to amplify under-represented voices and support positive change.

Browse, bid, discover, and join us for the best of art and luxury at: or by downloading Christie’s apps. The COVID-related re-opening status of our global locations is available here.