DR Book £1m; CR Cash £1m

If I asked you how much would you pay for a book on double-entry, I’m guessing most of you wouldn’t be willing to pay £1m.

Whilst accountants the world over know and (sometimes) love double-entry, the most that most people would have paid for a book on double entry would be £20 to £30 when they were studying for their exams.

There’s a book that’s coming up for sale though that is expected to be sold for a lot more.

It’s an extremely rare book written by Luca Pacioli.

Luca Pacioli?

That name probably sounds familiar to many accountants reading this as Luca Pacioli was a Franciscan monk who came up with the concept of double entry back in the 15th century.

The book that’s coming up for sale is called Summa de arithmetica and was printed in Venice in 1494. It contains the first published description of double-entry bookkeeping.

The book is due to be auctioned in June in New York by upmarket Auction house Christie’s and is expected to be sold for between $1m and $1.5m (approx. £0.8m and £1.2m).

The Institute of Chartered Accountants of England and Wales (ICAEW) hold two copies of the book (neither of these are the book that will be auctioned).

If you’re interested in looking at the contents of Summa de arithmetica you can do so courtesy of ICAEW’s “Turning the page library”.

Summa de arithmetica can be viewed here.

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