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Rare books donated to national library

NZ Newswire logoNZ Newswire 13/03/2018

It includes works on theology, Latin classical texts, the lives of saints and astrology. © ShutterStock It includes works on theology, Latin classical texts, the lives of saints and astrology. A collection of rare books dating back more than 500 years has been donated to the Alexander Turnbull Library in Wellington.

The 20 books - printed between 1472 and 1512, and valued at nearly $200,000 - were bequeathed from the estate of John Barton (1931-2016).

A New Plymouth book collector, Mr Barton named his collection the Dalberton Library.

It includes works on theology, Latin classical texts, the lives of saints and astrology.

One volume, a history of the world to the end of the 14th Century by Archbishop Antoninus of Florence (1389-1459), is one of only eight known in the world.

The library's curator of rare books and fine printing, Anthony Tedeschi, says most of the books are the only copies of these specific editions in New Zealand.

"They will be of particular interest to scholars and researchers of late medieval and early modern history," he said.

"Some include handwritten notes by their early owners, offering us a window into the thinking of centuries-old readers."

To be known as the John Barton Collection, the books will be available for request from mid-July.

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