AUTOGRAPH COLLECTING, letters, autographs, documents, manuscripts

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Series of ca 57 letters mostly to Thomas Mapplebeck of Kingston-upon-Hull, ca 1853 to 1891. Tipped in to the remains of a bound volume, a few loose. Mapplebeck appears to have been a dealer in autographs and prints etc. There are two sales of his property (in 1891 and 1893) recorded in the List of catalogues of English book sales 1670-1900 now in the British Museum.
Apart from letters to Mapplebeck there are a few from other correspondents, including Joseph Purton, Lord Ashley and the Bishop of London. Correspondents include J. Aspinall, E. Walford, Edward Geare, Henry Fawcett, the Rev A.B. Grosart (asking for Marvell), W.S. Lincoln and Son (sending a priced list & a parcel 'of the time of Chas II'), Puttick & Simpson (announcing a sale), Sabilla Novello (wife of Vincent, sending a list of autographs 'I am commissioned to sell'), J. Thorpe (with much information about playbills, although 'an old customer bought the whole of my Garrick Bills on Friday & a great many others to the value of £10.') and others.
Several correspondents attempt to 'trade' rather than to purchase autographs, an activity which probably irked Mapplebeck as much as it annoys impoverished dealers to this day. It is also curious that more than one writer adopts what are perhaps, for the time, unexpected abbreviations, for instance 'autos'.
The following are a few random snippets:
'I send you the autograph of Baron Rothschild'
'Have you a letter by Thomas Bewick'
'I send you a further list of autos [enclosed, mostly members of parliament] ... can you put me in communication with any gentleman with autos'
'I will give you for the above [a] Document Signed by Sir Robert ?Steward of the Exchequer, 1690
Poet and Dramatist & Document Signed by Earl of Halifax the great statesman in Queen Annes Reign.'
'I bought largely of the Sainsbury Museum nearly 2000 Autographs'
[John Gray Bell, 1865]
'It was astonishing the price some of the articles brought in the Dillon Sales and I do not think the owners will ever see the price again if they were to sell'
[i.e. John Dillon sale Sotheby's 10 June 1869].
'Will you spare me the Ozias Humphrey letter you shewed me when in Hull ... I will give you any 4 of the following good letters ... did you buy anything at the
Sainsbury Sale? [6 February 1865]? I got a few things - but none of any importance, except a fine letter of the great Countess of Huntingdon to the great John Wesley, on the death of his wife ...'
'... On the Tuesday morning after I got into London I at once went to Mr. Manners. ... He went with me at once to Mr Waller's, where I staid about 3 hours. Whilst there Dr. Smith of Poplar, came in, & I got introduced to him. I bought a small letter of Campbell, -6/- besides a few miscellaneous ones. I also purchased a miscellaneous lot of German ones, amongst which were two signed A Humboldt, which I take to be of the great naturalist. I gave 10/- for the lot, & think that it was rather cheap. He also had a good one of Sir W. Scott, but it was 25/- - rather above my tune. I have at last determined to part with my "Davy" letter ...'
[Samuel Walker, 17 February 1865]

[No: 23382]

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