The Helmasperger Notarial Instrument


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NotariatsinstrumentOn 6 November 1455, Ulrich Helmasperger, clerk of the Bishopric of Bamberg, royal notary and certified public recorder at the Court of the Archbishop of Mainz wrote the Instrument which bears his name. This is the only contemporary account of the business relations between Gutenberg and Fust and of Gutenberg's invention, the "Work of the Books". This account of the legal proceedings documents that the citizen of Mainz, Johannes Fust, swore the following under oath:

He had lent Gutenberg the sum of 1550 guilders which he himself had had to borrow at an interest rate of 6%. In his view the money he lent Gutenberg which was not used for their mutual benefit for the Work of the Books was a loan and thus he demanded that the interest on this loan be refunded to him. The Instrument briefly discusses the first legal complaint - the demand for repayment of the money - and describes the judgement which was unfavorable for Gutenberg.

The Instrument does not mention the final judgement - Fust's demand that the partnership with Gutenberg be dissolved and the consequences of this.


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