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Ancient Chinese books sell for US$34.2m at auction

  • Xinhua and Staff Reporter
  • 2012-06-06
  • 08:52 (GMT+8)
University professors check out two books from the Guo Yunlou collection, sold for US$34.2 million. (Photo/Xinhua)

University professors check out two books from the Guo Yunlou collection, sold for US$34.2 million. (Photo/Xinhua)

A collection of ancient Chinese books have been auctioned for 216 million yuan (US$34.2 million) in Beijing, the auction house said Monday night.

A collection of 1,292 ancient books from Guo Yunlou, a library belonging to the Guo family in Suzhou in 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 9:35pm and started with a bidding price of 180 million yuan (US$28.29 million). A buyer finalized the bidding at the price of 188 million yuan (US$29.54 million). The total cost is 216 million yuan (US$33.94 million) including commission fees.

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

The collection, which has passed through 6 generations spanning 150 years since the time of the Daoguang Emperor in the Qing dynasty (reigned 1820-1849), has burgeoned to over 800 works, 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 Guo collection were bought by the Nanjing Library in early 1990's, while the remaining 1292 books, composing 179 titles, are still kept by 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 (US$3.63 million).

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 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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