The nucleus of the Antiquarian Collection was formed by Richard Brown (1856-1918), CA, a past President of the Institute, who began buying in the 1890s and steadily built up the collection until 1918. In succeeding years additions to the library were made mostly by donations until, in 1962, purchasing for the collection recommenced. Some books were also added from the Institute's libraries in Edinburgh, Glasgow and Aberdeen. The collection at present consists of over 1,000 works ranging in date from 1494 to 1930, of which 138 date from before 1701. It includes two issues of the only recorded accountancy incunable, Luca Pacioli's Summa de Arithmetica (Venice, 1494) which contains the first printed exposition of double-entry book-keeping. The earliest book on this subject printed in Scotland, Robert Colinson's Idea Rationaria, or, the Perfect Accomptant (Edinburgh, 1683) is also present in the collection. A number of English and Scottish writers on accountancy are represented by more than one edition of their works; there are 1636 and 1684 editions of Dafforne's The Merchant's Mirrour, and a number of editions of John Mair's works Book-Keeping Methodiz'd and Book-Keeping Moderniz'd. The subject matter of the collection extends beyond books on book-keeping and accountancy to commercial arithmetic, ready reckoners, merchants' handbooks, and works on commercial and company law and bankruptcy. The collection was deposited on long-term loan in 1983 by the Institute, which continues to make additions to the collection.
An Accountant's Book Collection, 1494-1930: Catalogue of the Antiquarian Collection of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Scotland. With an introduction by Anna B.G. Dunlop, 3rd ed., Edinburgh, 1976.