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Could LICHFIELD reveal next great literary find at free event in May?

Posted on 15/05/2019 in Press Coverage

An antiques expert who found one of the most important books in the world in a Staffordshire cupboard is heading to Lichfield to hunt down new treasures in May.

Jim Spencer, head of books and works on paper at Hansons Auctioneers, will join the firm’s fine art expert and fellow associate director Adrian Rathbone at a Books, Maps and Antiques Valuation Day in Lichfield on May 24, from 2-4pm.

And they’re setting their sights high at inspirational venue Erasmus Darwin House in Beacon Street, the former home of English poet and physician Erasmus Darwin, grandfather of naturalist Charles Darwin.

Mr Spencer said: “Staffordshire has proved incredibly fruitful. I made my most exciting find to date in the county - a rare first edition of one of the world’s most important books The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith which I uncovered at Bishton Hall near Wolseley Bridge. It sold for £65,000 at auction.”

“The book, which lays out the principles of modern capitalism in two volumes and is regarded as a masterpiece, cost £1 16 shillings when first published in 1776.

“I found it in a cupboard at the hall last September after searching through every nook and cranny in the period property for something special. It’s pure gold in the world of antiquarian books. Now I just need to find a first edition of Samuel Johnson’s dictionary - preferably in Lichfield.”

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.

Mr Rathbone said: “This is a special valuation event and a great opportunity. I’ll be happy to assess any paintings, designer watches, silver, jewellery and general antiques while Jim will look at antiquarian books, maps and works on paper. Valuations are free but people are welcome to make donations to support Erasmus Darwin House.”

The Books, Maps, Paintings and Antiques Valuation Day will be held on May 24, 2-4pm, at Erasmus Darwin House, Beacon Street, Lichfield, WS13 7AD. Hansons also offers free valuations every Monday at the Hedgehog Inn, Stafford Road, Lichfield, WS13 8JB, 10.30am-12.30pm.