• <i>Der Sturm.</i> 1922. Sold October 2021 for € 13,000.
    Diophantus Alexandrinus, <i>Arithmeticorum libri sex.</i> 1670. Sold October 2021 for € 18,000.
    <i>Cozzani Ettore e altri, l’Eroica. Tutto il pubblicato.</i> Sold October 2021 for € 11,000.
    Newton Isaac, <i>Philosophiae naturalis principia mathematica.</i> 1714. Sold October 2021 for € 7,500.
    Manetti Saverio, <i>Storia naturale degli uccelli.</i> 1767-1776. Sold April 2021 for € 26,000.
  • <center><br>Swann Auction Galleries<br>Maps & Atlases<br>Natural History<br>& Color Plate Books<br>December 9, 2021</b>
    <b>Swann, Dec. 9:</b> John James Audubon, <i>Carolina Parrot, Plate 26,</i> hand-colored aquatint, 1828. $80,000 to $100,000.
    <b>Swann, Dec. 9:</b> Francisco Henrique Carls, <i>Album de Pernambuco e seus Arrabaldes,</i> 53 plates, Recife, circa 1873. $25,000 to $35,000.
    <b>Swann, Dec. 9:</b> Capt. Thomas Davies, group of five engraved topographical scenes of North American waterfalls, London, 1768. $8,000 to $12,000.
    <center><br>Swann Auction Galleries<br>Maps & Atlases<br>Natural History<br>& Color Plate Books<br>December 9, 2021</b>
    <b>Swann, Dec. 9:</b> William R. Morley, <i>Morley’s Map of New Mexico,</i> New Mexico, 1873. $7,000 to $10,000.
    <b>Swann, Dec. 9:</b> Paul Hariot, <i>Le Livre d’Or des Roses,</i> Paris, 1903. $800 to $1,200.
    <b>Swann, Dec. 9:</b> D. Miguel Geli, album of finely hand-drawn studies for nineteenth-century Spanish forts and military bunkers, circa 1830. $1,200 to $1,800.
  • <b><center>Christie’s<br>Valuable Books and Manuscripts<br>December 15</b>
    <b><center>Christie’s<br>Valuable Books and Manuscripts<br>December 15</b>
    <b><center>Christie’s<br>Valuable Books and Manuscripts<br>December 15</b>
    <b><center>Christie’s<br>Valuable Books and Manuscripts<br>December 15</b>
    <b><center>Christie’s<br>Valuable Books and Manuscripts<br>December 15</b>
  • <b><center>Aste Bolaffi<br>Rare Books and Autographs<br>December 16, 2021</b>
    <b>Aste Bolaffi, Dec. 16:</b> [Book of hours of Jean Boutin]. Illuminated manuscript on vellum, use of Rome, in Latin and French. France, early 15th century. From €50,000.
    <b>Aste Bolaffi, Dec. 16:</b> [Book of Hours]. Pontifical illuminated manuscript on parchment, in Latin. Southern France, late 15th century. From €40,000.
    <b>Aste Bolaffi, Dec. 16:</b> [Book of Hours]. Illuminated manuscript on parchment, in Latin and French. France, late 15th century. From €40,000.
    <b><center>Aste Bolaffi<br>Rare Books and Autographs<br>December 16, 2021</b>
    <b>Aste Bolaffi, Dec. 16:</b> [Book of Hours]. Officium B. Mariae Virginis. Illuminated manuscript on parchment, use of Rome, in Latin and Italian. 1482. From €40,000.
    <b>Aste Bolaffi, Dec. 16:</b> [Book of Hours]. Manuscript on parchment, in French. Amiens, 14th century. From €10,000.
    <b>Aste Bolaffi, Dec. 16:</b> Verdi, Giuseppe. 9 handwritten lines signed by Luisa Miller, with a dedication 'to Monsieur Felix Le Couppey, Paris 24 Jan. 1852'. From €8,000.
    <b><center>Aste Bolaffi<br>Rare Books and Autographs<br>December 16, 2021</b>
    <b>Aste Bolaffi, Dec. 16:</b> French Renaissance binding, produced in Lyon or Paris in the second half of the 16th century. Rhetoricorum secundus tomus in Gryphius' edition of 1548. From €800.
    <b>Aste Bolaffi, Dec. 16:</b> [Printing and the Mind of Man]. Gesner, Conrad. <i>Vogelbuch Darinn die art, natur und eigenschafft aller vöglen.</i> Zurigo, Froschauer, 1581, 1583, 1585, 1589. From €10,000.
    <b>Aste Bolaffi, Dec. 16:</b> [Dalmatia]. Berlinghieri, Francesco. Tabula quinta de Europa. Florence, Niccolò di Lorenzo della Magna, [before September 1482]. From €8,000.
    <b><center>Aste Bolaffi<br>Rare Books and Autographs<br>December 16, 2021</b>
    <b>Aste Bolaffi, Dec. 16:</b> Giampiccoli, Giuliano. Jacobo Comiti Duratio […] Tabulas a Marco Ricci Auctore, Julianus Giampiccoli incidit. Venezia, Teodoro Viero, 1775. €30,000.
    <b>Aste Bolaffi, Dec. 16:</b> [Piazzetta]. Pitteri, Marco. Studj di pittura gia dissegnati da Giambatista Piazzetta ed ora con l'intaglio di Marco Pitteri. Venezia, Giovanni Battista Albrizzi, 1760. From €4,000.
    <b>Aste Bolaffi, Dec. 16:</b> [Printing and the Mind of Man]. Palladio, Andrea. <i>I quattro libri dell'architettura.</i> Venezia, Domenico de' Franceschi, 1570. From €14,000.

Rare Book Monthly

Articles - February - 2015 Issue

An Unknown Copy of Shakepeare's First Folio Discovered in France

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First page in St. Omer First Folio with penned name “Neviile” (from Bibliothèque d'Agglomération de Saint-Omer website).

They aren't making old books anymore, but once in awhile, an unknown copy of an important antiquarian text appears. That happened late last year in a small town in northern France when a long forgotten copy of the greatest book in the English language was discovered on its library shelves. Hidden in the collections of the St. Omer public library was a first edition of Mr. William Shakespeares Comedies, Histories, & Tragedies, better known simply as the First Folio. Compiled by a couple of Shakespeare's colleagues who wished to preserve his work, it was published in 1623, seven years after Shakespeare died. At least 18 of the Bard's plays, including MacBeth, would have been lost forever were they not preserved in the First Folio.

 

The St. Omer copy is less than perfect. It was well-used and is missing the frontispiece and portrait of Shakespeare and some internal pages. The lack of the frontispiece is likely why the book was never recognized as a First Folio, but believed to be an 18th century edition. The book came to light when the librarian was searching for titles to display in an exhibition on links between England and the local region of northern France. Once the possibility that it was a first edition was realized, an American expert was called in to examine the copy, which he quickly recognized was an authentic first. As such, it is one of only two copies of the First Folio known to exist in France. It increases the total number of copies known to survive by one to 233. Around 800 copies are believed to have been printed.

 

How did this copy come to reside in a small library in France? The answer is that it has been there a long time. However, it has been in St. Omer the town even longer. Its roots trace back to the long gone St. Omers College, which opened three decades before the book was published in 1593. It was a Jesuit school, with the purpose of providing an education to English Catholics. What with the Protestant Reformation in England, and Queen Elizabeth less than positively inclined toward Catholicism, the teaching of the faith was outlawed in England. The Jesuits decided to provide an education for English Catholics in nearby northern France.

 

The name “Neville” written on the first surviving page of the St. Omer copy has led to two possible explanations of how it came to be a part of the Jesuit library. It may have belonged to Fr. Edmund Neville, a Jesuit priest who taught at the college in the 1630's. Another possibility is that it was brought to the college by Edward Scarisbrick, scion of an English Catholic family who attended the college in 1650 and used the pseudonym “Neville.”

 

A century later, tensions arose between the government of France and the Jesuits. In 1762, the college closed in St. Omer, moving to the Low Countries. Two years later, the Jesuits were expelled from France. The college moved again in 1794, this time to Lancashire, England, where it survives to this day as Stonyhurst College. Interestingly, they have their own First Folio, given to the college in the 19th century.

 

The old St. Omer college took much of its library with it when it moved from France, but the First Folio was left behind. It is highly annotated, along with being in somewhat rough condition. Plays were regularly performed at the college, and this was evidently a working copy, a relatively new book at the time. It would not have had historic significance yet when being used to perform plays by the English students, and such significance was obviously not appreciated when the college moved, not surprising for a rough copy missing its title page.

 

The existence of this copy in a Jesuit college has again raised the question of Shakespeare's religion. Some believe he was Catholic, though hiding his faith for political reasons. Of course, some people don't even believe Shakespeare wrote his own plays. The existence of a copy of his plays at least a decade after his death at a school for English students who liked to perform plays is hardly conclusive, even if it was a Catholic college, though it may spur more speculation.

 

You might think that this newly discovered masterpiece must be the most important book in the collection of this small town library in France. It is not. Amazingly, the St. Omer public library has a copy of the most important book of all, at least one volume of it. The St. Omer library also owns one of 48 extant copies of the Gutenberg Bible.

Rare Book Monthly

  • <b><center>Doyle<br>Rare Books, Autographs & Maps<br>December 9</b>
    <b>Doyle, Rare Books, Autographs & Maps:</b> Lot 47. Roosevelt, Theodore. Photograph inscribed to Morris J. Hirsch. May 7th 1918. $1,500 to $2,500.
    <b>Doyle, Rare Books, Autographs & Maps:</b> Lot 178. Whitman, Walt. <i>Leaves of Grass.</i> Brooklyn, New York: [Printed for the author], 1955. First edition in the first issue binding. $70,000 to $100,000.
    <b>Doyle, Rare Books, Autographs & Maps:</b> Lot 38. Mather, Cotton. <i>Magnalia Christi Americana; or, the Ecclesiastical History of New-England.</i> London: Printed for Thomas Parkhurst, 1702. First edition. $3,000 to $5,000.
    <b>Doyle, Rare Books, Autographs & Maps:</b> Lot 55. Taylor, Zachary. Autograph letter signed as President-Elect. Baton Rouge: January 15, 1849. $5,000 to $8,000.
    <b>Doyle, Rare Books, Autographs & Maps:</b> Lot 203. Picasso, Pablo. <i>Verve</i> Vol. V, Nos. 19-20. Paris: Editions Verve, 1948. Inscribed on the title page by Picasso. $1,500 to $2,500.
    <b><center>Doyle<br>Rare Books, Autographs & Maps<br>December 9</b>
    <b>Doyle, Rare Books, Autographs & Maps:</b> Lot 211. Domergue, Jean-Gabriel. L'Ete a Monte Carlo. Lithographed poster, Lucien Serre & Cie, Paris, circa 1937. $1,000 to $1,500.
    <b>Doyle, Rare Books, Autographs & Maps:</b> Lot 105. Manuscript Illumination attr. to Neri da Rimini. Large excised initial "N" from a choirbook, extensively historiated. [Likely Rimini: first quarter of the 14th century]. $2,000 to $3,000.
    <b>Doyle, Rare Books, Autographs & Maps:</b> Lot 40. McKenney, Thomas L. and Hall, James. <i>History of the Indian Tribes of North America, with Biographical Sketches and Anecdotes of the Principal Chiefs.</i> Philadelphia: Rice, Rutter & Co., 1870. $3,00
    <b>Doyle, Rare Books, Autographs & Maps:</b> Lot 222. Searle, Ronald. [Pets--a dog, cats and a parrot-- surrounded by books, and inspecting a globe, perhaps planning global domination]. Original drawing, 17 3/8 x 13 1/2 inches. $1,500 to $2,500.
    <b>Doyle, Rare Books, Autographs & Maps:</b> Lot 98. Faden, William; Scull, Nicholas and George Heap. A Plan of the City and Environs of Philadelphia, Survey'd by N. Scull and G. Heap. London: William Faden, 12 March 1777. $3,000 to $5,000.
  • <b>Bonhams, Dec. 15:</b> BENJAMIN FRANKLIN. Autograph Letter Signed ("B. Franklin"), to Benjamin Vaughan asserting the primacy of American independence in negotiating the Treaty of Paris, Passy, July 11, 1782. $80,000 to $120,000.
    <b>Bonhams, Dec. 15:</b> BENJAMIN FRANKLIN. Autograph Letter Signed ("B. Franklin") to David Hartley addressing Hartley's final issues with the recently completed ratification of the Treaty of Paris, Passy, June 2, 1784. $70,000 to $100,000.
    <b>Bonhams, Dec. 15:</b> MASON & DIXON. A hand-colored contemporary manuscript map titled in cartouche, "A Map of that Part of AMERICA where a degree of LATITUDE was measured for the ROYAL SOCIETY, by Chas Mason & Jer: Dixon," c.1768. $8,000 to $12,000.
    <b>Bonhams, Dec. 15:</b> WILLIAM BUTLER YEATS. Autograph Manuscript Signed ("WB Yeats"), a fair copy of "When Helen Lived" for John Preece headed ("For John Preece"), framed. $5,000 to $7,000.
    <b>Bonhams, Dec. 15:</b> "LINCOLN SEATED." KECK, CHARLES, sculptor. 1875-1951. Patinated bronze, 1950. Louise Taper Collection. $10,000 to $15,000.
    <b>Bonhams, Dec. 15:</b> ABRAHAM LINCOLN'S FINAL HOURS. BURNS, J., painter. <i>Death-Bed of Abraham Lincoln.</i> Oil on canvas, 1866. Collection of Louise Taper. $8,000 to $12,000.
    <b>Bonhams, Dec. 15:</b> FILSON, CHARLES PATTERSON, painter. 1860-1937. <i>Portrait of Edwin M. Stanton, Lincoln's Secretary of War.</i> $3,000 to $5,000.
    <b>Bonhams, Dec. 15:</b> A MATZOS BOX PRESENTED BY THE MANISHEVITZ BROTHERS TO WARREN G. HARDING. Louise Taper Collection. $2,000 to $3,000.
    <b>Bonhams, Dec. 15:</b> LEWIS CARROLL. Original albumen print photograph, approximately 6 7/8 x 8 3/4 inches, Chelsea, London, October 7, 1863, of the Rossetti Family at home, one of only three known examples of the full image. $50,000 to $70,000.
    <b>Bonhams, Dec. 15:</b> CHRISTINA ROSSETTI. <i>Verses ... Dedicated to Her Mother.</i> Privately printed, 1847. First edition of her first book, printed at her grandfather's press, THE ROSSETTI FAMILY COPY. $15,000 to $20,000.
    <b>Bonhams, Dec. 15:</b> CHRISTINA ROSSETTI. Original drawing of snowdrops in purple pencil, sent by CGR to Lucy Rossetti, inscribed "I doubt whether you will make out my copy from nature," 1887. $800 to $1,200.
    <b>Bonhams, Dec. 15:</b> DANTE GABRIEL ROSSETTI, et al. The Germ: <i>Thoughts towards Nature in Poetry, Literature and Art.</i> Fine copy in a Doves binding by Cobden Sanderson. $12,000 to $18,000.
  • <center><b>Arader Galleries<br>Live Auction<br>December 11, 2021</b>
    <b>Arader Galleries, Dec. 11:</b> De Wit’s composite atlas with magnificent full original color. $125,000 to $150,000.
    <b>Arader Galleries, Dec. 11:</b> Gardner's photographic sketch book of the Civil War. $200,000 to $250,000.
    <b>Arader Galleries, Dec. 11:</b> Waugh Oil Painting, 70 Degrees North; The Polar Bear. $400,000 to $600,000.
    <center><b>Arader Galleries<br>Live Auction<br>December 11, 2021</b>
    <b>Arader Galleries, Dec. 11:</b> Audubon aquatint, Ivory-Billed Woodpecker. $75,000 to $90,000.
    <b>Arader Galleries, Dec. 11:</b> Blaeu terrestrial table globe, 1602. $70,000 to $100,000.
    <b>Arader Galleries, Dec. 11:</b> Audubon aquautint, Ruby-Throated Humming Bird. $35,000 to $45,000.
    <center><b>Arader Galleries<br>Live Auction<br>December 11, 2021</b>
    <b>Arader Galleries, Dec. 11:</b> Bessa original watercolor of a bouquet of flowers. $75,000 to $125,000.
    <b>Arader Galleries, Dec. 11:</b> John Gould's only work devoted to American birds. $15,000 to $20,000.
    <b>Arader Galleries, Dec. 11:</b> Wyld & Malby pair of terrestrial & celestial globes, 1833. $50,000 to $75,000.
    <center><b>Arader Galleries<br>Live Auction<br>December 11, 2021</b>
    <b>Arader Galleries, Dec. 11:</b> Leutze map of the world oil painting. $70,000 to $100,000.
    <b>Arader Galleries, Dec. 11:</b> Caula, the finest 18th century drawing of Lison. $25,000 to $35,000.
    <b>Arader Galleries, Dec. 11:</b> Scolari / Blaeu map of Germania, 1650. $15,000 to $22,000.
  • <center><b>Sotheby’s<br>Zang Tumb Tuuum:<br>la révolution futuriste<br>Online Auction<br>30 November – 7 December</b>
    <b>Sotheby’s, Nov. 18:</b> The "Official Edition" of the United States Constitution and the First Printing of the Final Text of the Constitution, 1787. $15,000,000 to $20,000.
    <b>Sotheby’s, Nov. 30 – Dec. 7:</b> Marinetti, Filippo Tommaso. I Paroliberi Futuristi. 1914-1915. 8 p. Unique corrected proofs, for an anthology that remained unpublished. €40,000 to €60,000.
    <b>Sotheby’s, Nov. 30 – Dec. 7:</b> Cangiullo, Francesco. Studenti in Lettere. Università. 1915. Seminal work, featured in 3 historical futurist exhibitions. €20,000 to €30,000.
    <b>Sotheby’s, Nov. 30 – Dec. 7:</b> Cangiullo, Francesco. Chiaro di luna. Circa 1915. Collage and gouache on paper. €15,000 to €20,000.
    <b>Sotheby’s, Nov. 30 – Dec. 7:</b> Marinetti, Filippo Tommaso. Manicure. Faire les ongles à l'Italie. Circa 1915. A fantastic parody of an advertising poster. €20,000 to €30,000.
  • <center><b>Fonsie Mealy’s<br>Christmas Rare Books<br>& Collectors' Sale<br>December 7th & 8th, 2021</b>
    <b>Fonsie Mealy’s, Dec. 7-8:</b> Ortelius (Abraham). <i>Theatrum Orbis Terrarum,</i> folio, Antwerp, 1570, First Edition (2nd Issue), 53 double-page maps, contemporary hand colouring. €40,000 to €60,000.
    <b>Fonsie Mealy’s, Dec. 7-8:</b> An original engraved facsimile copy of the Declaration of Independence of 4 July 1776, issued by order of Congress on 4 July 1823 in a limited edition of 200 copies on fine parchment. €20,000 to €30,000.
    <b>Fonsie Mealy’s, Dec. 7-8:</b> Joyce (James). <i>Ulysses.</i> Shakespeare & Co., Rue de l’Odeon, Paris 1922. No. 559 of 1000 Copies of the First Edn.,, one of 750 Copies on handmade paper. €10,000 to €15,000.
    <center><b>Fonsie Mealy’s<br>Christmas Rare Books<br>& Collectors' Sale<br>December 7th & 8th, 2021</b>
    <b>Fonsie Mealy’s, Dec. 7-8:</b> Malton (James) [1761-1803]. A fine quality set of twenty-five hand coloured aquatint Views of Dublin, as published for <i>A Picturesque and Descriptive View of the City of Dublin</i>. €6,000 to €7,000.
    <b>Fonsie Mealy’s, Dec. 7-8:</b> 'Bloody Sunday.' An original Admission Ticket to Croke Park, Great Challenge Match (Football), Tipperary v. Dublin, Sunday, November 21,1920. Pink card, 3 ins x 4 ¼ ins. €4,000 to €5,000.
    <b>Fonsie Mealy’s, Dec. 7-8:</b> Joyce (James). <i>Haveth Childers Everywhere - Fragment from Work in Progress,</i> Paris & N.Y., 1930, First Edn., Signed and Limited No. 50 (100) Copies. €4,000 to €6,000.
    <center><b>Fonsie Mealy’s<br>Christmas Rare Books<br>& Collectors' Sale<br>December 7th & 8th, 2021</b>
    <b>Fonsie Mealy’s, Dec. 7-8:</b> Edward Lyons, Irish (1726-1801). Genealogy: <i>The FitzGerald's Arms of Carton House, Kildare,</i> pen and ink and watercolour on laid paper. €3,000 to €4,000.
    <b>Fonsie Mealy’s, Dec. 7-8:</b> Yeats (William Butler). <i>Poems.</i> Cuala Press, D. 1935, stiff blue paper covers, unlettered as issued, coloured initials and ornaments hand-drawn by Elizabeth Corbet Yeats. One of 300 copies. €2,000 to €3,000.
    <b>Fonsie Mealy’s, Dec. 7-8:</b> A fine and important collection of Ulster Wit. Belfast Political Scrapbook, 19th century. €1,500 to €2,000.
    <center><b>Fonsie Mealy’s<br>Christmas Rare Books<br>& Collectors' Sale<br>December 7th & 8th, 2021</b>
    <b>Fonsie Mealy’s, Dec. 7-8:</b> Rare Views of the Giant's Causeway. Coloured Prints: Drury (Susanna) [1698-1770]. A rare pair of original Engraved Prints. €1,200 to €1,500.
    <b>Fonsie Mealy’s, Dec. 7-8:</b> [Johnson (Rev. Samuel)]. <i>Julian the Apsostate Being a Short Account of his Life, together with a Comparison of Popery and Paganism,</i> L., 1682, First Edn. €800 to €1,200.
    <b>Fonsie Mealy’s, Dec. 7-8:</b> Aringhi (Pauli). <i>Roma Subterranea Novissima,</i> 2 vols. lg. folio Rome (Typis Vitalis Mascardi) 1651. €350 to €750.
  • <b><center>One of a Kind Collectibles Auctions<br>Rare Autographs, Manuscripts, Entertainment and Sports Auction<br>December 9th</b>
    <b>One of a Kind Collectibles, Dec. 9:</b> SITTING BULL SIGNED PHOTO (The Finest in Existence).
    <b>One of a Kind Collectibles, Dec. 9:</b> The Beatles Signed Photo Card and the Make-Up Sponge Used During the Historic February 1964 Ed Sullivan Performance.
    <b>One of a Kind Collectibles, Dec. 9:</b> Extremely Rare John Wesley Hardin Signature from a Texas Cattle Brand Book, early 1870s.
    <b><center>One of a Kind Collectibles Auctions<br>Rare Autographs, Manuscripts, Entertainment and Sports Auction<br>December 9th</b>
    <b>One of a Kind Collectibles, Dec. 9:</b> Albert Einstein "refugee intellectuals of the Hitler persecution.”
    <b>One of a Kind Collectibles, Dec. 9:</b> LYNDON B. JOHNSON Personally Owned & Worn STETSON HAT.
    <b>One of a Kind Collectibles, Dec. 9:</b> Sigmund Freud Typed Letter Signed in English "I am still on the road to health, but I have not arrived."
    <b><center>One of a Kind Collectibles Auctions<br>Rare Autographs, Manuscripts, Entertainment and Sports Auction<br>December 9th</b>
    <b>One of a Kind Collectibles, Dec. 9:</b> Nixon’s All Time Baseball All Star Team and the Reporter that helped change the 1972 Presidential Election!
    <b>One of a Kind Collectibles, Dec. 9:</b> Incredible signed ''Atomic Energy for Military Purposes'' -by Enrico Fermi & Robert Oppenheimer and- Also Signed by Four Other Manhattan Project Scientists Who Developed the First Atomic Bomb.
    <b>One of a Kind Collectibles, Dec. 9:</b> Samuel Adams, Signer of Declaration Of Independence, Signed Military Appointment.
    <b><center>One of a Kind Collectibles Auctions<br>Rare Autographs, Manuscripts, Entertainment and Sports Auction<br>December 9th</b>
    <b>One of a Kind Collectibles, Dec. 9:</b> Orville Wright & Glenn Martin Signed Photograph.
    <b>One of a Kind Collectibles, Dec. 9:</b> Thomas Jefferson, a Magnificent Large Signature.
    <b>One of a Kind Collectibles, Dec. 9:</b> Robert E. Lee ALS, “Suffering people of the South … blessing of God.”

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