A dedicated young valuer who’s made worldwide headlines for antiquarian book discoveries and a fine art paintings expert are heading to Lichfield to uncover new treasures in July.
Jim Spencer, head of books at Hansons Auctioneers, will join the firm’s Associate Director and fine art expert, Adrian Rathbone, at a special Books, Maps and Antiques Valuation Day in Lichfield on Friday, July 20, 2-4pm.
And they’re setting their sights high at an inspirational venue, Erasmus Darwin House in Beacon Street, the former home of English poet and physician Erasmus Darwin, grandfather of naturalist Charles Darwin.
Mr Rathbone, a Lichfield man, said: “It would be wonderful to find a first edition of Samuel Johnson’s dictionary. Johnson, who was born in Lichfield is 1709, wrote A Dictionary of the English Language. First published in 1755, it is regarded as one of the most influential dictionaries in the history of the English language.
“We certainly hope to make some literary discoveries and unearth some interesting works on paper. We’ve had some amazing finds in Lichfield already this year, including a letter from the founder of modern nursing Florence Nightingale.
“This is a special one-off event and a great opportunity. I’ll be happy to assess any paintings and general antiques while Jim will look at antiquarian books, maps and works on paper. Valuations are free but donations will be invited to support this important historical property.”
Jim made headlines across the world this year following the discovery of a sex manual from 1720. It sold for £3,100 at Hansons on March 27. It attracted worldwide bidders after the story made headlines in every corner of the globe.
Jim said: “We have had some incredible successes in the last 17 months and the Georgian sex manual was just one of them. As someone who has always been passionate about books and the printed word, it’s been wonderful to witness.
“I’m looking forward to meeting the people of Lichfield and seeing what fascinating items they can unearth.”
Books, maps and manuscripts have been soaring to success at Hansons Library Auctions thanks to Jim’s dedication and a growth in this niche market sector.
He said: “The books and maps in our Library Auctions are gaining interest from important collectors in several countries and we are now regularly attracting London dealers.
“Some incredible finds are coming in at Hansons, such as a medieval illuminated manuscript Psalter which sold for £5,800 last September. When I opened that book I just froze. I was shocked to make such an amazing discovery but delighted in equal measure. Let’s hope Lichfield can turn up something equally amazing.”
The Books, Maps, Paintings and Antiques Valuation Day will be held on July 20, 2-4pm, at Erasmus Darwin House, Beacon Street, Lichfield, WS13 7AD. Hansons also holds free valuation days every Monday at the Hedgehog Inn, Stafford Road, Lichfield, WS13 8JB, from 10.30am-12.30pm. For further details, contact Adrian Rathbone on 01283 733988 or email [email protected]