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Unique esoteric book collection broken up after financial dispute

Tuesday 14 December 2010

The Dutch state has removed its share of the esoteric book collection known as the Bibliotheca Filosofica Hermetica from Amsterdam and transferred it to the national library in The Hague for safe keeping, Trouw reports on Monday.

The state bought around one third of the collection, put together by an Amsterdam businessman, in 2005 for €18m. The collection includes some 20,000 books covering 5,000 years of western spirituality, including very rare volumes on alchemy and medieval religious movements.

Businessman Joost Ritman, who owns the rest of the collection, is embroiled in a dispute with Friesland bank and the library has been closed to scholars since early November.

Ritman claims the state had agreed to buy another share of the collection which led him to borrow money to expand it further. Now the sale is not going ahead, the bank is demanding repayment, Trouw said.

Last week Ritman sold one of the key pieces – a 14th century illuminated manuscript known as the Rochefoucauld Grail for €2.8m at auction in London.

© DutchNews.nl

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Readers' comments (1)

Breaking up the Ritman collection is almost tantamount to a criminal act. This was the largest collection of esoteric works available to the ordinary citizen.

Guess I'll have to join the Grand Lodge of Amsterdam after all...

By Bill | December 14, 2010 4:13 PM

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