1586 Matthioli Herbalist Book
Appraised Value: $25,000
IMAGE: 1 of 2
Appraisal Video: (3:33)
GUEST: It is a book from my father's family. It has been in the family, I believe, since his grandfather. We believe it's dated 1586.
APPRAISER: Well, it certainly is. It's right here on the cover. And his grandfather was a pharmacist, and so it's been a book that's been handed down through the family. And it was brought with a group of books from Europe?
APPRAISER: When was that?
GUEST: We brought them over only about two or three years ago, but they have been in the family for a very long time.
APPRAISER: It's notable, particularly, because of its binding with the date of publication squarely stamped on the blind-tooled, pigskin cover which is over solid wooden boards. Unfortunately, the front board is split, and the book is a very popular text. It's by Matthioli, who was born in Sienna in 1501 and died in 1577, and he was a herbalist. And his text was widely published, first of all, in Italy. This is a German edition, edited by a Nuremberg physician called Joachimum Camerarium, you see here, Medicine of Nuremberg, Nuremberg Medicine. Published in Frankfurt an Main in 1586. And the beauty of this book is that it's among the earliest series of botanical illustrations using woodcut technique, but making the illustrations from life specimens, from the plants themselves. And just a random selection we have here shows you how beautiful the thing is, but all of these-- as it's called a Kreuterbuch-- were for herbalist purposes-- remedies, nutrition, that sort of thing. Even got some early repair here, probably done in the last century. So people have cared for this book... a lot, which is great.
GUEST: Is it done on the Gutenberg press?
APPRAISER: This is nearly 150 years post-Gutenberg. This is a perfectly respectable printing outfit in Frankfurt. And if we turn the book back here, we'll see the printer's mark. It's Frankfurt am Main, and it's printed by Sigmund Fehrerbend.
APPRAISER: And there's the printer's device.
APPRAISER: And there's the date of the printing.
APPRAISER: And it's seen some wear. It's got some worm holes. It lacks its tabs and clasps, but it's the most beautiful, nice, original, old object. And value-wise, Matthioli's works have been bringing quite a lot of money recently, and I would value this at $25,000 for insurance purposes.
GUEST: Wow... Wow! That's great.
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.