1624 Cryptography Book Up for Auction

Lot 1102

Rare 17th Century work on Cryptography

Title: Cryptomenytices et cryptographiae libri IX. In quibus & planissima Steganographiae à Johanne Trithemio, abbate Spanheymensi & Herbipolensi, admirandi ingenij viro, magicè & aenigmaticè olim conscriptae, enodatio traditur. Inspersis ubiquè authoris ac aliorum, non contemnendis inventis…

Author: Selenus, Gustavus [pseud. of August, Duke of Braunschweig-Luneburg]

Auction on September 13. Estimated price $5,000-$8,000.

EDITED TO ADD (9/13): A partial English translation.

Posted on September 11, 2007 at 12:21 PM14 Comments


ArchonMagnus September 11, 2007 1:21 PM

Immediately after reading the entry and contemplating the publication date, my first thought was, “Is it bad that my first thought of cryptography involves digital methods?” (I instantaneously thought of RC4, AES, DES, etc. It took a second to think of One-Time-Pads, Polyalphabetic Ciphers, and Caesar Ciphers.)

Nick Lancaster September 11, 2007 2:23 PM

Okay, enough with the bashing about the McDonald’s exploit.

Yes, it seems like small change when cast against larger and more profitable forms of fraud. But then, when you learn cryptography, you start with simple transposition ciphers, and then move on to more complex ones.

When you learn sleight-of-hand, you practice the small things and the basics.

Discussion of the McExploit helps people grasp security concepts and social engineering.

Porlock Junior September 12, 2007 11:25 PM

20% buyer’s premium is pretty much the norm now, within a point or so. Special discount rate if you’re buying an item for a few hundred thou. But with luck, that book won’t bring such a bid.

And yet the auction business goes on, and makes a profit. I don’t understand it either.

supersnail September 14, 2007 6:59 AM

Almost worth the 6000USD to find out what is the difference between “scattering of letters” and “strewing of letters”.

Maybe Bruces next cipher should adopt the terminoligy — ” And lo though shalt scatter the letters according to thine seed then thow strewest thine scattered letters about thine S-box unto the fourth and twentieth round. ”

The reference implementation could be coded in LISP to make reading even easier.

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Sidebar photo of Bruce Schneier by Joe MacInnis.