Man discovers priceless book in his attic. Why is it called a “chronicle?”

Imagine this: your beloved great uncle bequeaths to you an old book; so old that it is literally coming apart at the seams. You tuck away the tattered tome in the attic, where it will stay for decades. One day you decide to unearth the inherited manuscript and have it appraised. To your astonishment, your great uncle left you a highly coveted artifact that dates back to the 15th century. This biblio-fairy tale turned into a true story for one Sandy, Utah resident.

The discovery of the partial copy of the 500-year-old Nuremberg Chronicle left antique book dealer, Ken Sanders, flabbergasted. “You don’t expect to see one of the oldest printed books pop up in Sandy, Utah” Sanders said. It’s a long journey indeed; one that begins in Nuremberg, Germany.

Originally published in Latin in July of 1493 and referred to by Latin scholars as the Liber Chronicarum (Book of Chronicles), the text was translated into German five months later and called the Nuremberg Chronicle – a reference to the city in which it was published.  To honor its author, Hartmann Schedel, German speakers refer to the text as Die Schedelshe Weltchronic or Schedel’s World History. The pages describe a version of human history segmented into seven chapters or “ages,” beginning with the Biblical Creation and ending at the Last Judgment.

The only chronicles one hears about these days generally relate to the fictional Narnia, but these texts constitute one of the earliest and most important genres in the history of written language. The Anglo-Saxon Chronicle is one of the first known English language texts. Part almanac, part history, chronicles are typically comprehensive and idiosyncratic. In contrast to a history, which prioritizes events according to an author’s point of view, the chronicle theoretically catalogues all events in particular time period.

The Nuremberg Chronicle is considered one of the most perfectly executed examples of early printing. The book is one of the first to successfully combine text with woodcut illustrations, 1,089 in all, bathed in watercolor.

So what’s the going rate for a find such as this? According to San Francisco-based antiquities book dealer, John Windle, a mint condition copy of the Nuremberg Chronicle could fetch up to $1 million at auction. “Because of this book’s tattered state,” Windle said, “It’s likely worth less than $50,000.” Nonetheless, for an avuncular gift, not too shabby.


  1. rainfalls -  May 7, 2011 - 4:18 pm

    well, our family history, of course ;-)

  2. rainfalls -  May 7, 2011 - 4:17 pm

    hope I have a great uncle like that and bequeaths me with a family history

  3. EightYearOldWormedBook Ü -  May 6, 2011 - 5:21 am

    Jame: wag nyo na po akong pansinin kuya Jame…

  4. Mindfield -  May 5, 2011 - 12:57 pm

    The story of how it got to the attic in Utah would be fascinating.

  5. Jay -  May 5, 2011 - 12:55 pm

    What!!! No one touting god and their own personal beliefs on this one? Amazing! There are books that are ancient in comparison to this one. It is one of the first PRINTED books, not the first written. ex. Egyptian Book of the Dead

  6. EightYearOldWormedBook Ü -  May 5, 2011 - 6:51 am

    @Cyberquill: hahhahah… Love it. Like it…

  7. jame -  May 4, 2011 - 10:09 pm

    @ EightYearOldWormedBook : how’d i been ” mayabang” hUh ???
    @ Cyberquill : yEah.. iF onLy Lady gaga authograped it.. hahaha !!!
    for me the contents of that book is sooooo booooring !!!! what else book have u found in your attic huh ??? is there any more interesting ???? ahaha !!!!

  8. Cyberquill -  May 4, 2011 - 5:35 pm

    Perhaps if Lady Gaga autographed it, it would be worth $1 million despite its tattered condition.

  9. IRON TURTLE -  May 4, 2011 - 4:48 pm


  10. not your guy -  May 4, 2011 - 4:45 pm

    I don’t think that’s very impressive. ju
    very boring………………………….

  11. Jan -  May 4, 2011 - 1:57 pm

    I thought Colin’s comment was funny.

  12. !@#$%^&* -  May 4, 2011 - 1:16 pm

    if i was gonna buy a book that expensive, i would at least made it english.=D

  13. JAFO -  May 4, 2011 - 12:27 pm

    I have a copy of Superfudge with the cover ripped off. Email me with offers.

  14. EightYearOldWormedBook Ü -  May 4, 2011 - 9:56 am

    @Rickedy Rick: sigh*
    @thatguy: arg!
    @jame: Yabang! hmp!

  15. Rickedy Rick -  May 4, 2011 - 6:53 am

    I have a Japanese book (translated into English) predicting Japan’s role in WW2 that was written in 1930. Email me with offers.

  16. jame -  May 3, 2011 - 8:46 pm

    even i can afford to buy that book, i would’nt but it. i’ll just waste my money. that book was translated into german. duh ! i can’t understand that language ! buti sana if translated in tagalog ! hahaha !!! just kidding !

    so where’s the book ??? did the founder sell it ??? =D

  17. DRF -  May 3, 2011 - 5:36 pm

    Wow, cool! Also, that question mark should be outside the quotation marks.

  18. thatguy -  May 3, 2011 - 4:12 pm

    I’m sure that would burn pretty nicely.

  19. Judy -  May 3, 2011 - 3:53 pm

    A bunch of tough critics.

  20. Consilium -  May 3, 2011 - 2:04 pm

    Woah…priceless or not, finding a 500-year old book your great uncle gave you in your attic would be pretty awesome. Though, yeah, there is a pretty big difference between ‘priceless,’ ‘one million dollars,’ and ‘fifty thousand dollars.’ Seriously, which one is it?

  21. Jeannette Warnert -  May 3, 2011 - 1:36 pm

    How did the uncle get the book? Stolen during wartime? Who is the rightful owner? Perhaps it should be returned to Germany.

  22. William -  May 3, 2011 - 1:24 pm

    Because I don’t have any money?

  23. Razimus -  May 3, 2011 - 12:54 pm

    if you have ever seen the movie the 9th gate starring johnny depp, the expert antique book bounty hunter, you would know book dealers often rip off people who want to get rid of priceless books, their values are often undervalued

  24. Carlitos -  May 3, 2011 - 11:29 am

    Funny to me that 3/5ths of the world can’t afford to eat yet some pay $50,000 for a book. Yes; it should go to a museum. And yes; it should be digitally copied and made freely available on the internet.

  25. JfromI -  May 3, 2011 - 11:06 am

    @ Jimbo: I believe they meant “priceless” for the historical and literary impact, not the selling price. Unfortunately, everything has a price. Even the Mona Lisa and the Shroud of Turin. This is a disgusting feature of humanity.

  26. Leslieh -  May 3, 2011 - 9:46 am

    Some call it boring?
    I guess I can’t say that till I read it. How can I read it if I don’t want to spend $50,000 in a book?
    What an awesome trea
    Intriguing, who brought it to Sandy? Was it purchased with the knowledge of its origin. LOL! I mean I can go on with practice.

    If anyone knows more about this book people post us!


    • Sherry -  May 21, 2015 - 2:50 pm

      I am the director of the museum the book came into. The book was under his bed, not in the attic. It was given to him by his uncle who was an attorney. A client that could not pay for his services gave him articles in trade, including documents with the same signers as on the Declaration of Independence. Ken Sanders of Ken Sanders Rare Books was here to appraise the book. It is a wonderful piece of history that is not the first book but one of the oldest hand stamped books, companion to the Gutenberg Bible.

  27. eric -  May 3, 2011 - 8:44 am

    So is the book priceless or worth just under $50,000?

  28. john rhea -  May 3, 2011 - 8:24 am

    The book dealers name was mispelled in the last paragraph. It’s John Swindle, not Windle. That’s why the value is only 5%..

  29. john rhea -  May 3, 2011 - 8:12 am

    @shiyana harvey – this book is just like you: missing a few pages…

  30. Bill Musser -  May 3, 2011 - 7:44 am

    From: Hartman Schedel and the Nuremberg Chronicle
    By Ashley Baynton-Williams
    “The Nuremberg Chronicle proved to be a very popular volume. In a study published in 1976 (1), some 800 examples of the Latin edition and 400 of the German edition were traced. Examples of the book can frequently be encountered in the stock of leading dealers, or at auction. ”

    I inadvertently called it “The Nuremberg Chronicles.” That should be “Chronicle!”

  31. Preston -  May 3, 2011 - 7:39 am

    That would be amazing the only thing my grandma was left when her friend died were two letters tucked away under the border of her very old drawer. Inside were to letters yellow with age both addressed to her friend i the year 1942, from an affectionate man, the writer of the letter was Adolf Hitler. However the letters were Typed in German, and all we could translate was “To my children”. The worst of the situation was that before my grandma could send them to the university in Oberlin, Ohio to be translated further ;she lost them. WTF.

  32. Bill Musser -  May 3, 2011 - 7:37 am

    Having worked in Nuremberg for a short period and being a librarian in a research library with rare books going back to 1586, I have a special interest in this book. I believe there are about 200 copies of the Nuremberg Chronicles known to exist, so although it is a rare book, this is less “endangered” than many other early printed books. Just last month I paged through a copy at a university library here in Iowa. It is a remarkable piece of work!

  33. jimbo -  May 3, 2011 - 7:01 am

    an article on the site dictionary.com calls an item ‘priceless’ and than values it at under $50 000? lol

  34. Justin -  May 3, 2011 - 5:48 am

    … Is anyone thinking what I’m thinking? eBay!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  35. Marc -  May 3, 2011 - 5:34 am

    How come I can’t find something like that in my attic? Darn it!
    Oops. I don’t have an attic. That’s the problem.

  36. EightYearOldWormedBook Ü -  May 3, 2011 - 5:17 am

    I’m interested with the story of this book… a 500 year-old book, wow… I hope technology will help revive the story of this book and keep the old manuscript. Well, to the person who found this book, I hope he will donate it to a Museum. For the future generation to see it rather than to sell it to some collector who only does is to keep it in their houses for display, shame!

  37. Melanie Alcalde -  May 3, 2011 - 3:39 am

    Just to show that relics are not something to ignore by younger generations unless they know more about ancient history but how many of us are interested? Sadly, not that many. If we were interested in history we care more about our earth and our goodwill to mankind. History is not a boring stuff unless people do not care his/her origin of the past and its surroundings, we call it “earth” where life exists.

  38. CUBBYHOLE | BLOGCHI@mayopia.com -  May 3, 2011 - 3:20 am

    [...] painted Blue. — The quote of Flaubert in a letter to George Sand is only a smudge of the ‘Chronicle’ of one who feels he has a calling. — The ‘Career Tragectory’ of one appearing [...]

  39. BG -  May 3, 2011 - 2:45 am

    The owner should take the money as long as the book goes to an institution or someone who could preserve it properly.

  40. jame -  May 3, 2011 - 2:05 am

    what’s the title of the book ???

  41. zed ink -  May 3, 2011 - 12:38 am


  42. Colin -  May 2, 2011 - 10:43 pm

    Title: “Man discovers priceless book in his attic”
    Last quote: “It’s likely worth less than $50,000″

  43. shiyana harvey -  May 2, 2011 - 8:05 pm

    how can a book be very priceless i mean got lee

  44. the epicness that is me -  May 2, 2011 - 7:46 pm

    That’s pretty awesome. A random ancient german book, turning up in the middle of Utah.

  45. Siddharth Nayak -  May 2, 2011 - 6:58 pm

    …slightly boring.

  46. JJ Rousseau -  May 2, 2011 - 6:53 pm

    Chronicle! We see, Oui, relate, record.

  47. NUREMBERG_CHRONICLE | BLOGCHI@mayopia.com -  May 2, 2011 - 6:50 pm

    [...] Point of View, is the ‘Chronicle’ — concerning history of the world, of a Fifteenth Century Mel Brookswith all due respect. — Mayhap not as comical. — Writer, producer, director, oh how the times have changed, whatever else should we expect. — Biblical corrector, with a cast and crew, translated, interpreted, rearranged, — for the birth and life of books. — The value of any Red Violin is its journey, not how it eventually looks. –>>Rupert L.T.Rhyme [...]

  48. T -  May 2, 2011 - 6:32 pm



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