Missed Opportunities

Harleian Miscellany is an extraordinary compilation. It purports itself to be a “collection of scarce, curious, and entertaining pamphlets and tracts as well in manuscript as in print found in the late Earl of Oxford’s library interspersed with historical, political, and critical notes”. It was first published at the end of the 18 th century. I have a set from 1794 – 8 large leather bound volumes full of curios lore. I first saw the Harleian Miscellany over 30 years ago. I always wanted a set and about 2 years ago I finally acquired one. The contents and the set are subjects for some future story.

What is of interest to me today is something connected with this particular set. Inside the front cover of each of the books is a bookplate from one Thomas Savney L. L. D. Of Richard’s Castle Salop.
Richard’s Castle exists to this day. It is one of the few castles that survive that is thought to have been build before the Norman Conquest. Salop still exits. I am hoping to find the time to determine if the Salney family survives and to find out something about Thomas Salney, but his memory persists in this bookplate. Across more than two centuries it says, “Hello – I was here”. To which I say” Wow”.

The Harleian Miscellany is very collectible and somewhat “rare”, but it is not in the class of books that I would consider to be truly rare.

About a year or so ago I obtained a first edition of Gibran’s “The Prophet “ and a copy of his “Sand and Foam”, limited printing of 95 copies signed by Gibran. I bought them at an auction for a very reasonable price and promptly sold them both. I think Gibran will be remembered for a while and I think the signed copy will someone’s treasure for just as long. I missed an opportunity!
About 8 years ago I bought a copy of the first English translation of the Prophecies of Nostradamus. The book was in deplorable condition. The hinges were broken and held together with duct tape. The boards had apparently been replaced a while ago, but they were very worn, dry, cracked and split . I sent the book out to be rebound. I spend a few hundred dollars rebinding the book in leather with gold gilt title on the spine and 5 raised bands. In retrospect I think I should have spent more and got a slip case for the book.
This book had a number of previous owner’s names with dates written on the title page.

The book was published in the late 17th century and the signatures and dates spanned 3 centuries. I kept the book for several years and finally sold it about 2 years ago – I needed to pay my bills!
Next time I get a copy of something like a signed Gibran or a first edition of the Prophecies of Nostradamus I’m going to put MY book plate into the book with the fondest hope that somewhere from across the centuries John Pollard will say “Hello” .

I am

John Pollard

Jpollardbookseller @gmail.com
Brick and Mortar and on the NET
Perpetual dreamer of dreams, hopeless romantic, writer of poetry and probably related to Don Quixote as I am constantly tilting at windmills