Utah book dealer Ken Sanders looks over a copy of...

Utah book dealer Ken Sanders looks over a copy of the Nuremberg Chronicle, published in 1493. (April 23, 2011) Credit: AP

SALT LAKE CITY -- Book dealer Ken Sanders has seen a lot of nothing in his decades appraising "rare" finds pulled from attics and basements, storage sheds and closets.

Sanders, who occasionally appraises items for PBS' "Antiques Roadshow," often employs the "fine art of letting people down gently."

But on a recent Saturday while volunteering at a fundraiser for the small town museum in Sandy, Utah, just south of Salt Lake, Sanders got the surprise of a lifetime.

"Late in the afternoon, a man sat down and started unwrapping a book from a big plastic sack, informing me he had a really, really old book and he thought it might be worth some money," he said. "I kinda start, 'Oh boy, I've heard this before.' "

Then he produced a tattered, partial copy of the 500-year-old Nuremberg Chronicle.

The German-language edition printed by Anton Koberger and published in 1493 is a world history beginning in biblical times. It's considered one of the earliest and most lavishly illustrated books of the 15th century.

The book's owner has declined to be identified, but Sanders said it was passed down to the man by his great uncle and had been gathering dust in his attic for decades.

San Francisco-based antiquities book dealer John Windle said if this copy of the Nuremberg Chronicle were in mint condition and fully intact, it could be worth up to $1 million.

Because of this book's tattered state, Windle said it's probably worth less than $50,000.

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