Chinese ancient books sell for 216 million yuan

Ancient Chinese books have been auctioned off for 216 million yuan (34.2 million U.S. dollars) in Beijing, the auction house said Monday night.

A collection of 1,292 ancient books from Guo Yunlou (过云楼藏书), a library belonging to the Guo family in Suzhou of east China’s Jiangsu province, was sold to a private buyer at the 2012 Beijing Council Spring Auction on Monday night.

The auction began at 9:35 p.m. and started with a bidding price of 180 million yuan. A buyer finalized the bidding at the price of 188 million yuan. The total cost is 216 million yuan including commission fees.

The deal will be finally realized after the buyer pays all the expenses within the required period of time, according to the auction rules.

After six generations, in about 150 years of heritage since the reign of Emperor Daoguang in the Qing Dynasty (1820-1849), Guoyunlou’s collection has reached more than 800 kinds including block-printed editions from the Song Dynasty (960-1279) and Yuan Dynasty (1271-1368), fine writing and old copies as well as inscriptions from the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644) and Qing Dynasty (1644-1911).

Three quarters of the Guoyunlou collection were bought by the Nanjing Library in early 1990s, while the remaining 1292 books of 179 titles are still kept by some private collectors.

The remaining 1,292 books were bought by a private buyer at an auction in 2005 at the price of 23.1 million yuan.

The encyclopedia of Splendid Valley of Flowers, the only existing and well-preserved copy handed down from the Song Dynasty, is the eye-catcher of the Guoyunlou collection.

Written in 40 books bound in 80 volumes, the encyclopedia is the world’s largest Song edition. It has significant value in academic and history research as it has the content of some lost ancient books, said Fan Jingzhong, a professor from the China Academy of Art.


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