Andreas Hofer’s prayerbook, 1804

Franziskus Schwenck
Andreas Hofer’s prayerbook, Konstanz, Johann Ignaz Neyer, 1747
Starting price: € 3,500

„This book belongs
to me Andere Hofer
ßant in Passeyr 1804“

These three lines, slightly awkwardly written in brown ink, and not conforming at all to current German spelling conventions, can be found on the first interior page of a prayerbook bound in brown leather and published in 1747 in Konstanz. Words that make it a special object of Austrian and Tirolean history: in modern German the words mean that the book belonged to Andreas Hofer, from Sand in Passeiertal in South Tyrol.

Andreas Hofer,

The personification of the freedom fighter, admired and controversial, who with an “army” of peasants in 1809 confronted Napoleon’s invincible army in three different mountain battles. It was only in the fourth battle that they were defeated, Hofer was arrested and taken to Mantua, where he was executed on 10th February 1810. Did he have this prayerbook with him until the end, as the gold embossed writing on the leather binding seems to suggest? Did he buy the book or did he inherit it?
We don’t know, all we know is that this is one of the few things from Andreas Hofer’s personal belongings that is still with us today.

Bibliophile rarities

of this kind are being offered in a special auction based around the library at Schloss Pfannberg in Styria, belonging to Count Anton Goess-Saurau and his wife Marie, née Mayr-Melnhof. The auction provides collectors with the rare opportunity to dive into the wide world of books, with its 500-year history and always new treasures of knowledge, experience, and travel from long-forgotten times to discover.

This book will be auctioned in the “Books & Autographs” auction on 22nd June 2017 at im Kinsky.

Text: Marianne Hussl-Hörmann, im Kinsky