More from the Library of H.P. Kraus<br>At Oak Knoll Books
Fast forward to 1911. That was when Robert Hoe put his magnificent collection on the block. The sale was enormous, bringing in almost $2 million, which was larger than the next four largest book auctions combined at the time. It took eight catalogues to cover it all, which were published from 1911 to 1912 by the Anderson Auction Company, the major book auction of that era. Item 908 is the complete set of the Catalogue of the Library of Robert Hoe of New York. $450. Among the items sold was a copy of Gutenberg's Bible for $50,000, more than the entire Hibbert auction 80 years earlier. Hoe's copy of Gutenberg would be purchased by Henry Huntington, one of the greatest collectors ever, whose collection can now be found in the Huntington Library in San Marino, California.
Item 927 can fill you in more on the early books at the Huntington. It's Herman Mead's Incunabula in the Huntington Library. From 1937. $75. Item 926 is Henry E. Huntington's Library of Libraries by Donald Dickinson. This will tell you more about how Huntington assembled his library, including the purchase of entire collections from others. $24.95.
Now we move ahead to one of H.P. Kraus' own catalogues. This was titled Monumenta Xylographica et Typographica, the Cradle of Printing Part II from 1971 (Part I was published in 1964). Item 976. $75. The first item Kraus was offering was a Gutenberg Bible, but the price was now $2,500,000. I cannot imagine what a Gutenberg would command today, but single leaves from this 1282-page book crossed the $10,000 mark at auction back in the 1980s. Suffice to say it has been a good investment.
Item 108 is Histoire de l'Invention de l'Imprimerie by Johann Lichtenberger. This is an 1825 book about the invention of printing, and includes a lithographed portrait of Gutenberg plus eight woodcuts of type specimens. In this book, Lichtenberg argues that Gutenberg made his first attempts at printing in Strasbourg, later perfecting the process in Mainz where his bible was printed. $150.