Heritage Auctions, the world's third-largest auction house, is going to represent an important collection of Armenian rare books, including three illuminated manuscripts of the Four Gospels. Excellent examples of manuscripts and early printed books in period bindings highlight Oct. 17 rare books auction in New York.
An Armenian illuminated manuscript (photo), copied on vellum by a priest in 1659 and still retaining its jeweled binding, is expected to bring $25,000+ to lead an important collection of more than 55 titles of Armenian history in Heritage Auctions' Oct. 17 Rare Books Signature Auction in New York. "In addition to its precious subject matter - ranging from historical, theological and liturgical works - this collection holds many fine examples of period book production and fine binding, including many books with period gilt extra bindings, elaborately guffawed edges, and fine engraved illustrations," said James Gannon, Director of Rare Books at Heritage. "Many of the printed books are featured in the Catalogue of Armenian Books and include early books printed in Venice and Amsterdam."
A gospel manuscript copied on parchment by Archimandrite Hovhannes and illustrated with 15 full-page miniatures by a monk named Nerses is expected to bring $20,000+. The work was completed in the monastery of Holy Virgin Plea-Fulfilling, located in the province of Upper Armenia (Բարձր Հայք, Bardzr Hayk), in Western Armenia (current territory of Turkey). An undated Gospel, written in bolorgir, was copied by a scribe named Barsegh between the 13th and 16th centuries. It is also expected to change hands for $20,000+.
Additional rarities include but are not limited by a Sharaknots, an illustrated first edition of the collection of Hymns of the Armenian Church, dated 1664-1665 and estimated at $5,000+. Hisus Vordi (Յիսուս Որդի, Jesus the Son) by Hovhannes Ankiuratsi, a first edition by the author whose life goal was to publish the Bible in Armenian. When he was blocked by the Vatican, he published this famous poem by Nerses Shnorhali, a saint of the Armenian Church: Est. $5,000+. A diminutive children's book, in three parts to include an encyclopedia and text on theology and physics, published circa 1700: Est. $4,000+.