Rare Books - Important Acquisitions List All

Rare Book Collections works to build up the national collections through purchases (through dealers or at auction) and donations. This directory gives details of 727 of the most important items we have acquired since 2000. We update it regularly as new material comes in. The description gives information about why it was chosen and what makes it particularly interesting. You can order the list by date of acquisition, author or title.

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Important Acquisitions 451 to 465 of 727:

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TitleGreenock news-clout, no.31
ImprintGreenock: John Lennox
Date of Publication28 September 1850
LanguageEnglish
NotesThis is the only known copy of this issue of a short-lived but remarkable Greenock newspaper, which was printed on calico - a coarse and light-weight form of cotton. The Watt Library in Greenock holds 5 other issues - all printed on the same material - dating from 1849-1850. According to the masthead this title was a successor to the 'Young Greenock',' Aurora' and 'Quilp's Budget'. These titles have not been traced. The masthead goes on to state that these titles were declared in January 1849 by the Solicitor of Stamps to be illegal. The printer/publisher John Lennox was summoned before the Court of the Exchequer, fined 100 and forced to pay the expenses of the case. Lennox had for a long time been a campaigner against this 'tax on knowledge' and it appears that he was not prosecuted for printing on calico. The printer and 'News-clout' were even mentioned in Parliament during a debate on the newspaper tax in March 1850. In order to circumvent the tax on newspapers (which saw the newspapers carry a red stamp showing the amount of tax levied), the publisher John Lennox decided to print this newspaper on calico. The contents of the paper itself are unremarkable reports of municipal election and court cases, letters on the Episcopal Church, advertisements and articles on female franchise and second sight. Lennox had been a newsagent in Dumbarton around 1822. He printed the 'Dumbarton Argus' from 1832 until 1834 and printed a number of monthly periodicals in Greenock additional to those mentioned above (The Second Precursor, Sam Slick, and The Ventilator) in the 1840s. He died in 1853 aged 59. Monthly papers were not subject to the tax, so publishers like Lennox published papers weekly, though using a different title every week to evade the tax. The tax on newspaper which had been enacted in 1712 was abolished in 1855.
ShelfmarkRB.m.519
Reference SourcesWilliam Stewart. John Lennox and the 'Greenock Newsclout' a fight against the taxes on knowledge. Glasgow, 1918 SBTI
Acquired on20/07/04
AuthorArchimedes
Title[Works]
Imprint[Foulis Press?]
Date of Publication[1743-1749?]
LanguageGreek
NotesThe exploits of the Foulis Press are always intriguing, and this latest discovery is no exception. Here is a single, uncut sheet consisting of two identical folio leaves. The text is the half-title and first page of a work by Archimedes, the ancient Greek scientist and mathematician, 'On the sphere and the cylinder'. Clearly the sheet was to be cut in half and then each leaf placed in a volume of Archimedes. But why was this extra leaf printed, and what has this got to do with Glasgow's Foulis Press? At shelfmark K.33.b, the Library has a copy of the first edition of Archimedes, printed at Basle in 1544. This edition was based on a defective manuscript, so the text at the start of 'On the sphere' was not included. At some point in the eighteenth century, an attempt was made to supply this lacuna, possibly by the mathematician and book-collector William Jones (1675-1749). This extra leaf was specially printed, probably by Glasgow's Foulis Press, using the Greek 'Great Primer' font cut for them by Alexander Wilson around 1743. It is not known how many copies were corrected in this way - the copy now at K.33.b. is among those corrected. It was received by the Advocates' Library some time between 1742 and 1776. Perhaps the correction was made for the 200th anniversary of the first printing of Archimedes?
ShelfmarkRB.l.143
Reference SourcesGaskell, Foulis Press Archimedes, Opera, ed. Heiberg DNB
Acquired on16/07/04
AuthorCurties, T. J. Horsley
TitleThe Watch Tower; or, sons of Ulthona
ImprintBrentford: Printed by and for P. Norbury
Date of Publication1803
LanguageEnglish
NotesAn extremely rare historical Gothic novel set in 14th-century Scotland during the wars of Robert the Bruce and Edward II. It features the fictional villain Morcar, who commits the horrid crimes of rape, murder and torture in his castle-fortress Stroma, but even worse supports the king of England. Morcar has a crane which provides the only access to the Fortress and which he uses to lower his victims into his clutches. By the end of The Watch-Tower Morcar has tortured Earl Ulthona to death, raped the sweet Imogen, shown a visitor through his hall of torture (which is full of Morcar's mutilated victims), and finally been thrown off one of his battlements by the son of another of his victims. Of Curties's life almost nothing is known, beside the publication of his six deep-dyed Gothic novels over an eight-year period, 1799-1807, including another Scottish-influenced one, "The Scottish Legend, or, the Isle of Saint Clothair". He was a Londoner of some means, an unabashed admirer of Ann Radcliffe, and according to Montague Summers 'there is no author more Gothic, more romantic than he' (The Gothic Quest, p. 333).
ShelfmarkRB.s.2338
Reference SourcesNot in NSTC Garside and Schoewerling "The English Novel 1770-1829) v.2
Acquired on15/07/04
AuthorDupont, John et al.
Title[4 anti-Jacobite pamphlets]
ImprintYork: Printed for John Hildyard
Date of Publication1745 & 1746
LanguageEnglish
NotesA collection of 4 rare anti-Jacobite pamphlets, printed for John Hildyard in York. Jacobitism had a strong base of support not just in Scotland but also south of the border in counties such as Northumberland, Yorkshire and Lancashire, as well as areas of the Midlands, Wales and the West Country. However, in the 1745 uprising very few men from northern England were prepared to commit to the Jacobite cause. The printing of these violently anti-Jacobite (and also anti-Catholic) pamphlets served as a warning to the local population of the dangers of supporting the Stuarts (NB pamphlet 1 was printed after the defeat of the Jacobites at Culloden). Pamphlets 1 and 3 are by John Dupont, vicar of Aysgarth in Yorkshire.
ShelfmarkAPS.1.204.132(1-4)
Reference Sources1. ESTC T4272, 2. ESTC T33080, 3. ESTC ????, 4. ESTC ????
Acquired on14/07/04
AuthorHume, David
TitleHistoire de la maison de Stuart [de Tudor]
ImprintLondres
Date of Publication1761
LanguageFrench
NotesThis is the first duodecimo edition in French of this part of David Hume's History of Great Britain. This 6-volume set is accompanied by a 6-volume duodecimo set of Hume's Histoire de la maison de Tudor (Amsterdam, 1763). Hume actually wrote the volumes on the Stuarts first, only turning later to the Tudors (and then to the Plantagenets). The Library collects translations of Scottish works written during the Enlightenment, as evidence for the influence of Scottish thought on Europe as a whole. The Stuart set was translated by A.-F. Prevost, the Tudor set was translated by Octavie Guichard (Mme. Belot). This is a handsome set in a contemporary binding; the volumes have both early and later bookplates.
ShelfmarkRB.s.2327 and RB.s.2328
Reference SourcesESTC T229804 Jessop, Bibliography of David Hume, p.32
Acquired on02/07/04
AuthorMackenzie, William Lyon
TitleMackenzie's own narrative of the late rebellion, with illustrations and notes, critical and explanatory: exhibiting the only true account of what took place at the memorable seige of Toronto, in the month of December, 1837.
ImprintToronto: Printed and sold at The Palladium Office, York Street, 1838.
Date of Publication1838
LanguageEnglish
NotesWilliam Lyon Mackenzie (1795-1861) was born near Dundee. When he was less than a month old, his father died, leaving the family in poverty. He obtained a meager business education in Dundee, and after some six years' work in a shop at Alyth he emigrated with his mother to Canada in 1820 at the age of 25. It was in North America that Mackenzie made a name for himself as a politician, journalist and insurgent leader. In 1824 he published 'The Colonial Advocate', a newspaper that was strongly in favour of governmental reform. In 1828 he was elected to the legislative assembly of Upper Canada for the county of York. Mackenzie's oratory was often inflammatory and he was five times expelled for libel and five times reelected by his constituency. As a leader of the Reform party of Upper Canada he went to London in 1832 to obtain a redress of grievances. After his return to Canada, Mackenzie was chosen as the first mayor of Toronto in May 1834. In 1837, frustrated by Britain's refusal to begin democratic changes, he gathered supporters in an effort to overthrow the government. Mackenzie's ideal at this time was an American-style democracy. The attempt by the rebels was a fiasco and after being defeated at Montgomery's Tavern north of Toronto, Mackenzie fled to the United States, setting up a provisional government on Navy island in the Niagara River. It was there that he wrote his 'Narrative' , addressing it to the editor of the 'Jeffersonian', a newspaper published at Watertown, New York. In 1849 Mackenzie was granted an amnesty and returned to Canada. He later sat as a member of the Legislative Assembly of the Province of Canada from 1851 to 1858. Mackenzie was the grandfather of the Canadian Prime Minister William Lyon Mackenzie King (1874-1950) The Canadian editor of this rare first edition -clearly a Loyalist - has provided numerous critical annotations to the text and an introduction where he refers to Mackenzie as the 'Arch-Traitor'. Also included is an 'Appendix containing further particulars obtained from conversations with John Powell, Esquire, Mayor of the City of Toronto'.
ShelfmarkRB.m.511
Reference SourcesDNB Booksellers Catalogue (D & E Lake Bulletin 219) Various Internet biographical sites
Acquired on30/06/04
AuthorConn, George
TitleDe duplici statu religionis apud Scotos libri duo
ImprintRomae: Typis Vaticanis, M.DC.XXVIII
Date of Publication1628
LanguageLatin
NotesOne of four items acquired from the sale of the library of the eminent historian Hugh Trevor-Roper, Lord Dacre (1914-2003), which included a substantial number of early modern Scottish items. Inscribed on the fly-leaf: 'Ex Libris Biblioth: Presby. Drumfr. Ex dono Joan: Hutton M.D. 1714'. John Hutton began life as a herd-boy to the Episcopalian minister of Caerlaverock, Dumfriesshire, through whose generosity he was educated. He graduated as a physician at Padua, and had a lucky break when he was the first doctor on the scene after Mary of Orange fell from a horse in Holland. Gaining the favour of William and Mary, he became their first physician when they ascended to the English throne, a role he continued under Queen Anne. Hutton made generous gifts to his family and the parish of Caerlaverock, and his bequests on his death in 1712 included the gift of his library to the ministers of the presbytery of Dumfries 'to be carefully kept in that town'. As the physician who accompanied William of Orange to the Battle of the Boyne, Hutton seems an unlikely person to have owned this book - a discussion of religion in Scotland by a prominent 17th century Scottish Catholic and friend of Charles I. George Conn (d. 1640) was educated at the Scots Colleges of Paris and Rome: by 1628 he was a Dominican friar and secretary to Cardinal Barberini, to whom this book is dedicated. In the 1630s he was papal agent at the court of Henrietta Maria, where his work for the Catholic religion aroused English opposition. Conn left England in 1639 and died soon afterwards. This item therefore brings together two Scots from opposing sides of the religious and political spectrum of the seventeenth century. Was Hutton curious to see how a Catholic countryman described Scottish religion? Did his European travels give him a broad-minded tolerance of other doctrines? Or did his Scottish Episcopal background give him an interest in the Stuart court? One of the other items in his library, after all, was the prayer book which Charles I carried to the scaffold. Whatever the explanation may be, this item shows that the religious divide in 17th century Scotland was not so absolute as it is sometimes portrayed. It is not known how this item travelled from Dumfries presbytery to Hugh Trevor-Roper's library. It does bear the inscription of an earlier owner, George Kellie, Trevor-Roper's book label, and a shelf-mark presumably from Hutton's library. The library of Dumfries Presbytery was transferred to the General Assembly Library in the Tolbooth Church (now The Hub) in 1880, and from there to Edinburgh University's New College Library. However, items from the collection have occasionally turned up at sales in the past. Bought with: A bill for the better ordering of the militia forces in that part of Great-Britain called Scotland (c.1760). Possibly a draft of a bill not enacted, this item is not in ESTC. Bound with Alexander Carlyle, The question relating to a Scots militia considered. (Edinburgh: Gavin Hamilton and John Balfour, 1760) ESTC T121729. Also with Trevor-Roper's book label. John Major: Historia Majoris Britanniae, tam Angliae quam Scotiae ... editio nova. (Edinburgh: Apud Robertum Fribarnium, 1740). A subscription edition by the Edinburgh publisher Robert Freebairn, including his receipt for the subscription of James Sinclair (d.1762) of Rosslyn. The book contains Sinclair's armorial bookplate and his crest is on the binding. Sinclair, from a notable Scottish family, was an important figure in the British army of the period, besides being an M.P. (Also bought with George Buchanan: Alcestis/Baptistes/Franciscanus/Sphaera, which is a separate Report item)
ShelfmarkRB.m.513
Reference SourcesDNB; Bookseller's catalogue; John V. Howard (Archivist at St Mary's Episcopal Cathedral, who has worked on the Dumfries Presbytery Library); New College Library
Acquired on24/06/04
AuthorBuchanan, George
TitleBaptistes, sive calumnia tragoedia
ImprintEdinburgi: Apud Henricum Charteris
Date of Publication1578
LanguageLatin
NotesOne of four items acquired from the sale of the library of the eminent historian Hugh Trevor-Roper, Lord Dacre (1914-2003), which included a substantial number of early modern Scottish items. This volume is an important acquisition for three reasons: it represents a rare opportunity to add to the Library's collection of pre-1600 Scottish imprints; it is an addition to our holdings of the writer and political figure George Buchanan; and it is a fascinating document of early modern book ownership. This edition of Buchanan's Latin biblical drama about John the Baptist has an Edinburgh imprint, but apart from the title page it is identical to one produced in the same year by the London printer Thomas Vautrollier - Durkan lists both as item 62 in his Buchanan bibliography. The name on the Edinburgh imprint is that of Henry Charteris, who was a bookseller as well as a printer, so he may well have imported copies of the London edition for the Scottish market. Relatively few copies of books with Charteris' imprint survive, and there are many gaps in the Library's holdings of them from this decade, so even in its imperfect state (lacking 14 out of 64 pages) this item is a valuable addition to the Library's holdings of early Scottish books (ESTC S116192; Aldis 147). Baptistes is the second of four works by Buchanan bound together in one volume, with many contemporary notes and inscriptions . The works were produced over a period of 20 years and come from a variety of European cities, while the owners were English or Scottish. However, it is difficult to ascertain the chronological order of these early owners, and at what point the items were placed together. The other three items are: Euripidis poetae tragici Alcestis... (Argentorati: Josias Rihelius, 1567), Buchanan's translation into Latin of Eurpides' play; Georgi Buchanani Scoti Franciscanus et fratres... (Geneva: Petrus Sanctandreanus, 1584), a collection of his secular poetry; Sphaera (Herbornae: Christophori Coruini, 1587), an unfinished cosmological poem. These items may simply have been bound together because of their similiar size. The binding is early modern, but more recent repairs have been carried out. The inscriptions include the names Wilkie (on the title page of Alcestis and Baptistes); James Fox (a marginal note in Alcestis); Gilbert Eliot (Alcestis and Baptistes); Georgius Scotus (Baptistes); Robert Elliott (Franciscanus). There are other inscriptions which are faint and almost indecipherable, but which might yield further information. These owners have written their names, marginal notes, Latin verse, and scribblings perhaps to test their pens throughout the volume. Bought with: A bill for the better ordering of the militia forces in that part of Great-Britain called Scotland (c.1760). Possibly a draft of a bill not enacted, this item is not in ESTC. Bound with Alexander Carlyle, The question relating to a Scots militia considered. (Edinburgh: Gavin Hamilton and John Balfour, 1760) ESTC T121729. Also with Trevor-Roper's book label. John Major: Historia Majoris Britanniae, tam Angliae quam Scotiae ... editio nova. (Edinburgh: Apud Robertum Fribarnium, 1740). A subscription edition by the Edinburgh publisher Robert Freebairn, including his receipt for the subscription of James Sinclair (d.1762) of Rosslyn. The book contains Sinclair's armorial bookplate and his crest is on the binding. Sinclair, from a notable Scottish family, was an important figure in the British army of the period, besides being an M.P. (Also bought with George Conn: De duplici statu religionis apud Scotos, which is a separate Report item)
ShelfmarkRB.s.2336(2)
Reference SourcesJohn Durkan: Bibliography of George Buchanan; DNB
Acquired on24/06/04
AuthorNicholson, Francis, 1753-1844
TitleViews in Scotland drawn from nature
ImprintLondon: Engelmann, Graf, Coindel & Co.
Date of Publication1828
LanguageEnglish
NotesThis is a very rare copy of Francis Nicholson's lithographed views of Scotland. Only one other copy in public ownership has been traced - that at Princeton University, New Jersey. On the title page it is stated that the views have been 'chiefly selected from scenery described by Sir Walter Scott'. Scott's novels and poems were at the height of their popularity - there are views of Loch Katrine and Goblin Cave which featured in the Lady of the Lake. Most of the scenes are of rugged mountain scenery, brooding castles and wild waterfalls. These appealed to a public who had read of such romantic locations in Scott's works. Francis Nicholson (1753-1844) was a Yorkshire-born artist who specialised in painting landscapes. When he moved to London he was one of the founders of the Society of Painters in Watercolours in 1804 and was a major contributor to its exhibitions. He contributed 14 engravings to Walker's 'Copper-plate magazine' between 1792 and 1801. He made use of the newly invented lithograph to produce 'Six views of Scarborough' (1822) as well as contributing to 'Havel's Aquatints of Noblemen's and Gentlemen's Seats' and 'The Northern Cambrian Mountains,' both 1820. This copy which is bound in the original lithographed wrappers is wanting the plate titled 'On the Forth, in Aberfoyle'.
ShelfmarkRB.l.142
Reference SourcesAbbey, J.R. Scenery of Great Britain in aquatint and lithography.
Acquired on17/06/04
AuthorKer, Patrick, fl. 1691
TitleFlosculum Poeticum. Poems divine and humane. Panegyrical, satyrical, ironical.
ImprintLondon, Printed for Benjamin Billingsley at the printing press, near the Royal Exchange,
Date of Publication1684
LanguageEnglish
NotesKer, Patrick was a Scottish Episcopalian poet who migrated to London during the reign of Charles II. 'Flosculum Poeticum. Poems divine and humane. Panegyrical, satyrical, ironical' is a volume of ultra-loyalist verse. Although the work is only signed with only the initials 'P.K.', it can safely be attributed to Ker due to the fact that the verso of the leaf A4 features a complex triangular depiction of the Trinity which also appears in another work, 'The Map of Mans Misery' (1690), with the author's name, P. Ker, in full. The 'Flosculum' features a grotesque woodcut of Charles II in the oak on leaf D2, accompanied by verses equally grotesque, and a number of scurrilous rhymes and anagrams on Oliver Cromwell. The inkstamp of Alexander Gardyne (1801-1885) is on the verso of the title page.
ShelfmarkRB.s.2325
Reference SourcesDNB ESTC R17623
Acquired on16/06/04
AuthorRamsay, Allan
TitleGentle Shepherd
ImprintGlasgow: by A. Foulis
Date of Publication1788
LanguageEnglish
NotesThis is a most unusual binding, with elements that suggest the influence of the style of James Scott of Edinburgh. The chequerboard design has alternating panels of tree and sprinkled calf, and the central panel has a gilt-bordered oval containing a stencilled star-burst within which is a gilt design of musical instruments and player's mask. The binding is probably Scottish, but we do not have anything comparable. The sense of structured design, and the use of the musical instruments within the oval, do suggest James Scott's work. The book contains aquatint plates by the Scottish artist and engraver David Allan, and also has two additonal plates (after p.14 and before p.93).
ShelfmarkBdg.m.156
Reference SourcesGaskell 688
Acquired on10/06/04
AuthorBurns, Robert
TitlePoetical Works
ImprintAlnwick: by W. Davison
Date of Publication[1812]
LanguageEnglish
NotesThis is an attractive set of the works of Burns, published with engravings by Thomas Bewick, and bound in brown gilt crushed morocco by the late 19th-century binder Joseph William Zaehnsdorf. The date 1812 is found on the original boards of our existing copy at shelfmark X.171.h. The two volumes were formerly owned by the noted collector of Scottish books John Gribbel. All this, however, is put into the shade by the fact that the first volume has the title-page inscribed 'Robert Louis Stevenson'. Stevenson is known to have owned various copies of Burns' poems, but this one does not seem to have been previously noted. It has not been traced in the various auctions of Stevenson's books. The signature has his characteristic looped 'L' and the long cross-bar of the 't' in 'Stevenson'. Stevenson and Burns are two of the best known names in Scottish literature, although Stevenson had reservations about Burns. In his essay 'Some aspects of Robert Burns', published in 1879, Stevenson refers to the personal remarks in Burns' poetry as 'his own pitiful apology for such a marred existence and talents so misused and stunted'. There are, nevertheless, many striking parallels in the lives of the two writers, not least their passionate rebellion against orthodox morality and their early deaths. It is enormously plesasing that the National Library of Scotland now has a set of Burns with Stevenson provenance.
ShelfmarkRB.s.2331
Reference SourcesEgerer 130
Acquired on10/06/04
TitleHoly Bible
ImprintEdinburgh: Printed by Alexander Kincaid.
Date of Publication1772
LanguageEnglish
NotesThis is a handsome copy of an Edinburgh bible in a contemporary binding of straight-grained red leather, with elaborate gilt tooling which suggests the influence of James Scott. The central panel includes architectural motifs such as columns and urns, as well as birds and various items of foliage. This panel is enclosed by different border rolls; the board edges are tooled as well. The spine has a black leather title label and more tooling, including a laurel-crowned head, and a greek-key design which seems to be Scott's (see Loudon - Ro.19). The binding is in good condition, the colours bright and clear.
ShelfmarkBdg.s.898(1)
Reference SourcesJ. H. Loudon, 'James Scott and William Scott', 1980
Acquired on07/06/04
AuthorMcLeod, Norman
TitleIllustrations to the Epitome of the ancient history of Japan, including illustrations to the guide book.
ImprintKiyoto
Date of Publication1878
LanguageEnglish
NotesThis is, by any standards, a strange book. It was published in 1878 to accompany the author's 'Epitome of the ancient history of Japan', first published in Nagasaki in 1878. Central to the 'Epitome' is McLeod's belief that the Shindai or holy class of Japan are descended from the Lost Tribes of Israel. He also calls attention to the fact that the first known king of Japan was Osee, who came to the throne in 730 B.C. and that the last king of Israel was, the similarly named Hosea who died in 722 B.C. In the preface McLeod mentions that 'the engravings are the workmanship of the best Japanese artists, but as they have had as yet so little experience of foreign letters, the execution is imperfect'. There are engravings of kings, temples as well as some relating to the author's thesis such as 'supposed order of march of Israelites to Japan'. The work is bound in contemporary, though faded Japanese silk wrappers. Little is known about the author, whose first name is thought to have been Norman. He has been variously described as a Scots businessman or a Scots missionary wo started his career in the herring industry. His name is not listed in Fasti or any of the biographical dictionaries of other denominations. The second edition of the edition (1878) which is held by the Library (5.1009(27)) is dedicated to Rev. William Mackenzie 'late of Leith Free Church, Scotland', which may give an indication of Mcleod's religious allegiance. Although this is the second edition, it is not known when the first edition was published. There are six copies of this edition listed on OCLC, all in the United States.
ShelfmarkRB.s.2333
Reference SourcesBookseller's description
Acquired on04/06/04
AuthorSharp, Hugh
Title[Christmas cards]
ImprintHill of Tarvit
Date of Publication1930-1938
LanguageEnglish
NotesThis is a rather remarkable donation which brings back to Scotland some printed items with close personal connections to Hugh Sharp and his family. Hugh Sharp (1897-1937) was the Dundee jute manufacturer and bibliophile whose private library was presented to the nation in 1938 by his mother and sister, Elizabeth. The Hugh Sharp collection is now one of our finest special collections, with many first editions of literary classics in fine condition. One of Hugh Sharp's friends was G. J. Scaramanga of Arundel, Sussex, who kept up the connection with the Sharps after Hugh's untimely death. He kept cards sent from Hugh and the Sharps in a special gilt-tooled folder. This folder of Christmas cards, which has now been donated to the Library, includes cards from 1930 to 1935, a calendar for 1937 and a later newspaper cutting. Movingly, there is a letter from Elizabeth Sharp dated 27 August 1938, which includes an example of the bookplate specially designed for the Hugh Sharp collection at the National Library after Hugh's death that year. The Christmas cards include facsimile reproductions from books in Hugh Sharp's collection, and they were finely printed by Pillans and Wilson of Edinburgh in only 50 copies each. Each card is interesting and tasteful, in decorated card covers and with coloured ties.
ShelfmarkRB.s.2340
Acquired on01/06/04
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