Top five most expensive books and manuscripts
1) The Codex Leicester by Leonardo da Vinci - $30.8 million
The Codex Leicester is a notebook handwritten by da Vinci, containting many of his scientific theories and observations including why fossils can be found on mountains and the movement of water.
The Codex was bought by Bill Gates of Microsoft in 1994 for $30.8 million.
2) The Magna Carta - $21,321,000
A copy of the document featuring a series of written promises between King John and his subjects was sold at a Sotheby’s auction in 2007.
It was bought for $21,321,000 by David Rubenstein, co-founder of the Carlyle Group private equity firm.
3) The Rothschild Prayerbook - £8,580,000
This Flemish illuminated manuscript book of hours was sold in July 1999 at a Christie’s auction in London for £8,580,000.
4) The Gospels of Henry the Lion - £8,140,000
The book, which contains the text of the four gospels with 50 full page illustrations, was sold by Sotheby’s in 1983 for £8,140,000.
The book was bought by the West German Government for £8,140,000, which at that time, was the highest price paid for any work of art.
Since then, the Gospels have been kept in the Herzog August Library in Germany.
5) Birds of America by John James Audubon - £7,321,250
Birds of America is a comprehensive ornithological study featuring 435 hand-coloured engraved plates based on Audubon’s original watercolours.
In 2010 it sold for £7.3 million at a Sotheby’s London auction.
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