1517 Roman History Textbook
Appraised Value: $1,000 - $1,500
IMAGE: 1 of 1
Appraisal Video: (2:11)
GUEST: I know nothing about this book. I picked it up at an estate sale in northwest Washington.
APPRAISER: Really? How long ago?
GUEST: Uh, just, oh, maybe about a year ago.
APPRAISER: No kidding? Do you know what you paid for it? Do you remember?
APPRAISER: Okay, um, did anybody at the estate sale give you any history of where this book came from?
GUEST: Nothing, I know nothing.
APPRAISER: I want to go to the estate sales you go to. You did real good. This book is... the Marcus Valerius Martialis Epigrammata, which is the History of Rome, which was originally written by Martialis during the 1st Century A.D., and it's famous because it's the only uncensored history of Rome that was written at that time period. This book was used in Venice, and you can see here in the back, it shows the printer's mark, "Venice by Aldus" and it has the date, "1517." If we were going to college at that time, this is the book that we would take to class for Latin History 101. But what makes this book even more incredible is whoever the printer was, he took 13th-century manuscripts and bound them to protect the pages of the front and back of the book. If these were intact, they'd sell for between $2,000 to $5,000 a page. And here, you have somebody who just chopped down, during the 1500s... It's just an amazing period piece. It has so much going for it as far as its history, as far as the way a book was constructed. All books at this time period were bound in sheepskin, which is called "vellum." It's bound by a master binder. Uh, it's just, it's incredible. You'll be surprised at the value. Would you like to take a guess of what this book is worth?
GUEST: I have no idea. I think I'm going to be on the floor, though.
APPRAISER: Okay, well, if this book was put up on the open market right now, it would sell from anywhere between $1,000 to $1,500.
GUEST: No kidding?
APPRAISER: Yeah. And, I mean, it's just, it's a wonderful, wonderful piece. You did real good at your estate sale.
GUEST: I guess so.
This website is produced for PBS Online by WGBH Boston. ©1997-2015 WGBH Educational Foundation.
ANTIQUES ROADSHOW is a trademark of the BBC and is produced for PBS by WGBH under license from BBC Worldwide.
WGBH and PBS are not responsible for the content of websites linked to or from ANTIQUES ROADSHOW Online.
PBS is a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit organization.