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In demy 8vo. bound in buckram, and printed on good paper,
with fine margin for notes, price £i 75. 6d. net.
VOLUMES I. TO XXI.
Numbers, and the Names of the Purchasers. Some of the earlier volumes are out of print and others are at a premium. Reports will be made in answer to queries by the publisher.
Opinions of tbe Press. “We acknowledge, with much pleasure, that ‘Book-Prices Current'is now the most carefully edited work of its kind published in this or any other country.”-Athenaeum.
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In demy 8vo., bound in buckram, uniform with BOOKPRICES CURRENT. Price One Guinea net.
THE INDEX TO THE FIRST TEN VOLUMES
(1887 to 1896): Constituting a Reference List of Subjects and, inci
dentally, a key to Anonymous and
“If money, as Anthony Trollope neatly put it, be the reward of labour, too much is certainly not asked for the labour whicn has .marshalled into order a manuscript involving 33.000 distinct titles and considerably over 500.000 numerals. The typographical arrangement of the volume will receive praise from those who can understand the difficulties of the printers' task."The Guardian.
A GLANCE at the contents of this, the 22nd volume of BOOKPRICES CURRENT, will show that the number of entries contained in it slightly exceeds 9,500, as against 7,167 in the prior volume, and 6,989 in the volume for 1906. During the last few years the number of entries per volume has averaged about 6,500, it having become increasingly difficult to keep within a reasonable compass the more precise descriptions which the requirements of modern Bibliography favour and render desirable in very many cases. It has been found possible, however, to curtail these descriptions in a large number of instances without in any way detracting from the value of the information given, or without taking it for granted that those who may have occasion to consult the work from time to time have text-books and other auxiliaries ready at hand to consult in the event of some ambiguous or half reported entry engaging their attention. In other words, no sacrifice of utility has been made in order to secure a record in the matter of quantity. It may be that the next volume will contain fewer or more entries than the present one ; that will depend entirely on the character and importance of the books sold during the forthcoming season. So far as the present volume is concerned, there is no doubt that it covers considerably more ground than any of its predecessors, and takes its place among them as the most comprehensive of the series. Books of all kinds have been reported, and the old hard and fast rule of noticing only those which realise 20s, or over has been finally broken down, and is not likely to be resorted to again. Every book sold is now considered on its merits, and inserted or not according to its importance or the infrequency of its
This alteration in the system has certainly entailed some additional labour, but I regard that as being of no account in the face of the advantages to be gained by such an obvious improvement. While on the subject of construction, I take
occasion to thank the reviewer of the Athenaum for his suggestion (Sept. 28, 1907, p. 366) that fine bindings should be indexed under the name of the craftsman, when that is known. This has now been done ; and when the craftsman is not known with certainty, the name of the person for whom the work was bound, as shewn by armorial bearings or other distinctive features appearing on the covers, has been entered instead. Thus, for the sake of example, a number of books once belonging to the great Earl of Leicester were recently sold at Sotheby's, and these in the absence of further information have been indexed in the appropriate division (" Bindings and Binders ”) under the name of the Earl whose cognizance of the Bear and Ragged Staff has long since become a matter of historical interest.
The activity of the season 1907-8, as reflected in the following pages, has been confined to books of comparatively small import
Works of a general character which realised £100 each or over number only 49, “Shakespeariana," exceeding that limit, but 18, and manuscripts but 23. That some books in all three classes were of the very greatest importance cannot be doubted, but in point of numbers they are much below the season of 1906-7, where the average jumped up to £4 45. 2d., the highest since 1893, when this system of shewing the comparative importance of each season's book sales was first adopted. This season the average fell to the more normal figure of £2 135. Id., considerably less than that of 1905 (£2 175. 2d.), and much less than in 1901 (£3 7s. 1od.), 1902 (£3 35. 4d.), or 1903 (£3 28. 1od.) The number of books of a very important and expensive character which are sold during any season can be told with very fair accuracy by looking at the average sum realised per lot, which is given in every volume of BOOKPRICES CURRENT, just after the Table of Contents. A single work in one or more volumes selling for £1,000 will affect the yearly average by about 5d., and when the average falls from £4 45. 2d. to £2 13s. Id. that fact shews, taking one year with another during the long series, that very many printed books and manuscripts of the highest class must be missing from the calculation. The ground work formed by the general run of books of a familiar character is substantially the same year after year-it is the comparatively few but costly books which materially affect the average.
The most important sale held during the past season was that on February 26th and March 20th, when the Library of the late Dr. Gott came to the hammer in two divisions. It realised as much as £13,435, not reckoning the four Shakespearian folios, withdrawn at £3,850. It was at this sale that “The Golden Legende," printed by Caxton in 1483, sold for £1,300, and a
“ Biblia Pauperum," the block book probably printed by Roger of Bruges, about 1450, for £1,290. These books and Earl Howe's copy of the first folio (£2,025) are the only ones which ran into thousands, while the manuscripts in the same high class are represented by a solitary example--the “Thraliana" of Mrs. Piozzi (£2,050). As already stated, the number of manuscripts realising £100 or over amounted but to 23, as against more than 200 coming within the same limit during the season 1906-7. This, of course, shews an immense but probably only temporary falling off.
Other important sales reported in this volume comprise the American Library of Mr. H. C. Hoskier, strong in Incunabula, Earl Howe's Shakespearian collection, the very extensive and admirably selected Library of the late Mr. E. J. Stanley, of Bridgwater, sold in three divisions and three miscellaneous sales, that on June 2nd realising the large sum of £9,500 (post p. 543).
It may be said that the general tendency, so far as the commercial value of ordinary, every-day books is concerned, is still in a downward direction, while on the contrary those volumes for which there is such a widespread demand-Shakespeariana, early
, editions of the English Classics, Americana, and the rest-have apparently not yet touched the point to which they are capable of attaining Commissions received on their account are frequently record-breaking, but in any case never wanting.
J. H. SLATER. CROYDON, SURREY,
ERRATA ET ADDENDA
No. 204.—Date 1865-8 should be 1836-38.
387.-- 1855-87 should be 1885-87.
1822-19 should be 1810-19.
his death in 1873.
As pointed out in the Athenæum, September 28th, 1907, Shakespeare's “Passionate Pilgrim,” 1612, the property of Mr. J. E. T. Loveday, described in Notes and Queries, August 12th, 1882, was sold privately for £2,000 by Messrs. Sotheby in October, 1906. This ought to have been mentioned in the last volume of BOOK PRICES CURRENT.
Gower's Confessio Amantis," printed by Caxton in 1483 (see Lowndes, p. 922), the property of Shrewsbury School, was catalogued for sale by Messrs. Sotheby on December 14th, 1907, but withdrawn. This copy has now been returned to the School, there to remain under the provisions of a deed executed by the governing body, under their corporate seal, which provides that the book shall be held for ever as an inalienable possession. A cheque for 1,000 guineas, the proceeds of a widespread appeal to old Salopians and others interested in the matter, has been handed by the Preservation Committee to the governing body. Of this amount, £142 was contributed spontaneously by the boys in the School.