Friday, November 26, 2010

Major medieval library in Amsterdam may have collection sold off

The upcoming sale of a medieval manuscript has raised speculation that a major academic library will be closed and have it collection sold off in order to pay off its owner’s debts. The Bibliotheca Philosophica Hermetica in the Dutch city of Amsterdam has been closed to the public and one of its major manuscripts, The Rochefoucauld Grail, is set to be auctioned off by Sotheby’s on December 7th.

The Bibliotheca Philosophica Hermetica was founded as a private library in 1984 by JR Ritman, who owns a 60% stake in the library. The collection focuses on manuscripts and printed works in the field of the Hermetic tradition, more specifically the ‘Christian-Hermetic’ tradition, with works by Augustine, Lactantius and other medieval and Renaissance writers. The library holds more than 22,000 volumes: ca. 700 manuscripts (85 of which date before 1550), ca. 5,000 books printed before 1800 (305 of which are incunables, books printed before 1500) and ca. 17,000 books (primary and secondary sources) printed after 1800.

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