Extremely rare first edition of Machiavelli’s The Prince, found in Norfolk, to go under the hammer in Aylsham

An extremely-rare edition of Machiavelli's The Prince, discovered by chance in a Norfolk home, could fetch between �25,000 and �30,000 when it is auctioned in the county this week.

The English first edition of the seminal Renaissance book, dated 1640, was spotted by Andrew Bullock, head of the book department at Aylsham-based auctioneers Keys, who described it as 'an extremely exciting find.'

Mr Bullock added: 'I was going through the collection of a late gentleman at the request of his family to see if any of his books would be saleable.

'The Machiavelli was on a shelf hidden amongst a number of Common Prayer books, but some sort of sixth sense asserted itself, and I took it down to take a closer look.'

The auction in Aylsham this Thursday, July 26, is expected to attract worldwide interest.

Niccol� Machiavelli (1469-1527) was a historian, diplomat, philosopher and writer based in renaissance Florence, and is regarded as the founder of modern political science.

His greatest work, The Prince (Il Principe), was written around 1512-1513 and is regarded as the first work of modern philosophy.

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Machiavelli believed that a prince had to separate public and private morality in order to rule, which could occasionally require methods including brute force and deceit.

His philosophy led to the term 'Machiavellian' being coined to describe anyone who used cunning, unscrupulous means to further their career.

The book had a profound influence on political thinking throughout Europe, and is said to have influenced King Henry VIII in turning to Protestantism.

The 300 page book itself measures only 14.5cm x 9cm (5�in x 3�in).

? For more information visit: www.keysauctions.co.uk

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