1660251705037 Tracibiophoto

Rare Alchemy Manuscripts Date Back To 15th Century

Jan. 1, 2000

I'm a fan of Antiques Roadshow. The best moments happen when the experts tell an unassuming owner that their tchotchke was once owned by King Arthur/Ptolemy/Mendeleev and it dates back to before they were keeping track of days. In fact, it's so rare that we have to send you home with your own security detail to ensure your safety. Well, I don't think I've ever seen that last part – but if it were me holding on to Mendeleev's first draft of the Periodic Table of Elements I'd be looking over my shoulder more than once.

I'm a fan of Antiques Roadshow. The best moments happen when the experts tell an unassuming owner that their tchotchke was once owned by King Arthur/Ptolemy/Mendeleev and it dates back to before they were keeping track of days. In fact, it's so rare that we have to send you home with your own security detail to ensure your safety. Well, I don't think I've ever seen that last part – but if it were me holding on to Mendeleev's first draft of the Periodic Table of Elements I'd be looking over my shoulder more than once.Imagine what those Roadshow experts would do if they got their hands on a rare collection of very early alchemy manuscripts, some dating from before the invention of printing. While this collection is no longer on the market, it is available for public viewing via The Chemical Heritage Foundation's (CHF) Donald F. and Mildred Topp Othmer Library of Chemical History.  The CHF recently acquired the collection, which features nine manuscripts -- seven date to the 15th century, as early as the 1430s. Among them is Petrus Bonus’s Pretiosa margarita novella (The Precious New Pearl), ca. 1450–1480; it is one of only six known complete copies of that work in existence. The collection also includes three framed illuminated miniatures of alchemical imagery from around 1450.If you're going to be in the Philadelphia area, be sure to visit the CHF and view these rare documents first hand. You can read about the CHF's acquisition of the alchemy manuscripts here.
Traci PurdumSenior Digital Editor and wannabe antique collector.

Sponsored Recommendations

Keys to Improving Safety in Chemical Processes (PDF)

Many facilities handle dangerous processes and products on a daily basis. Keeping everything under control demands well-trained people working with the best equipment.

Get Hands-On Training in Emerson's Interactive Plant Environment

Enhance the training experience and increase retention by training hands-on in Emerson's Interactive Plant Environment. Build skills here so you have them where and when it matters...

Managing and Reducing Methane Emission in Upstream Oil & Gas

Measurement Instrumentation for reducing emissions, improving efficiency and ensuring safety.

Micro Motion 4700 Coriolis Configurable Inputs and Outputs Transmitter

The Micro Motion 4700 Coriolis Transmitter offers a compact C1D1 (Zone 1) housing. Bluetooth and Smart Meter Verification are available.