Harry’s impression: World’s oldest accounting book sold for US$1.2m


The oldest known book on accounting, Somma di arithmetica, geometria, proporzioni e proporzionalità, by Italian mathematician Luca Pacioli, was sold for US$1,215,000 at an auction on 12 June at Christie’s in New York. The 15th century 615-page book was published in 1494 and is renowned for its first-ever description of a double-entry bookkeeping system. The book also discusses mathematical principles such as probability theory and computing, which are important features of modern finance. According to Christie’s, the book is one of only three complete copies that have been recorded at auction in more than 50 years. Pacioli, who lived from around 1445 to 1517, was a friend of Leonardo da Vinci, and taught him mathematics.

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