The book traveled nearly five centuries. It disappeared in 1567 after Prince William of Orange left the Castle in Breda to continue his fight against the Spanish King in Dillenburg. It then appeared in the collection of an English Prime Minister, and in collector libraries in London, New York and Paris.
The Hypnerotomachia Poliphili is published by the well-known Italian printer Aldus Manutius.
Jean Martin a French writer, translator and diplomat, translates the book into French and makes it accessible to a wide audience.
William of Orange buys the book and has it bound and provided with his family crest surrounded by the chain of the Golden Fleece.
On April 15, 1567, William of Orange leaves Breda for the Dillenburg in Germany. He took his beloved books with him. He never returned to Breda. On December 16, 1567, the Council of Beroerten decided to prosecute.
On May 23, 1568, William of Orange's brother, Louis of Nassau, fought at Heiligerlee (near Groningen) against the Spaniards. In retrospect, this was considered the beginning of the Eighty Years' War.
The book appears in England's Harlean Library, owned by Robert Harley, Prime Minister of England.
In 1743 the merchant Thomas Osborn bought part of the library from Edward Harley for £ 13,000. The book of William of Orange is in a catalog of this purchase (book 4799). It is Lionel Tollemache, 3rd Earl of Dysart (1649 – 1727) who buys Osborne's book.
Lionel Tollemache, 4th Earl of Dysart (1707-1770), inherited a substantial library from his grandfather, the 3rd Earl, who lived in Ham House. Ham House's library has been sold by later heirs to finance the upkeep of the estate. William of Orange's book is sold by Sotheby's Auction House on May 30, 1938 and purchased by London bookseller Maggs Brothers Ltd for £ 240 (Lot No. 90). Maggs sells the book to Lucius Wilmerding of New York for an undisclosed amount.
Lucius Wilmerding was a renowned collector specializing in English and French literature, colored 18th century plate books and historical bindings. After a long illness, he died at his summer home in Far Hills, New Jersey on July 15, 1949. The sale of his library took place in 1951 at the Parke-Bernet auction house in New York. The book was sold there to the Frenchman Pierre Berès (Lot no. I85, $ 3,100).
The Frenchman Pierre Berès was a famous bookseller. In his catalog 49 entitled "Livres Francais de quinzieme et seasonieme siecles", he attributed a value to the Prince's book of Ffr 1,6000,000. Berès retired at the age of 92 and decided to sell his 12,000 books at auction. On June 20, 2006, the book by Willem van Oranje was purchased there by the Dutch Antiquarian Forum for € 352,223.
From September 23, 2006 to January 7, 2007, the exhibition "A dream of a book" is on view in Museum Meermanno in The Hague. The book in question here is the Hypnerotomachia Poliphili. Willem van Oranje's book will be added to this exhibition at the last minute.
Prince Jost zu Stolberg-Stolberg, a distant descendant of Juliana van Stolberg, the mother of William of Orange proudly presents the recently surfaced famous book. Besides him historian and Orange connoisseur Reinildis van Ditzhuyzen and antiquarian bookkeeper Laurens Hesselink. The latter assigns the book a value of 1 million euros.
Sebastiaan Hesselink praises William of Orange's book as the most important book from the Prince's library in the trade journal "Antiekjournaal".
In 2008, Antiquariaat FORUM sells the book of Oranje to a Dutch collector for an amount that has not been made public.
The translation of the book appears. To make the book known to a large audience, the "Book of Orange Foundation" is organizing an exhibition at various museums in the Netherlands and Belgium.