1659 Nicholas Culpeper "Pharmacopoeia Londinensis"

Value (2010) | $2,000 Retail$3,000 Retail

I brought a book. It appeared to me to be an herbal book. I'm a gardener and I grow herbs, so I thought it was of interest to me and it was old. And it was wet with little bugs in it.

And where did you get it?

At a garage sale in the suburbs of New York. Probably 30 years ago.

Well, it's from a well-known New York library. It's got a large bookplate, the Horticultural Society of New York, who have sold books over the years, and the book itself is by a very well-known English author, Nicholas Culpeper. You see his name down there. And its title is Pharmacopoeia Londinensis, or The London Dispensatory. It's a series of English recipes from early authors such as Galen, a classical author. They used to have medical remedies based upon plant life. So you'd have an index at the back. You've got a table of diseases. You've got a lot of recipes to do with the liver. "Lice killeth," presumably killing lice. Then "lice causeth," causing. And then lots about itching. It's very worn with age. But this is an early calfskin binding. It ran into lots and lots of editions. And here it is, a sixth edition of the book. Culpeper himself was born in 1616 and died in 1654. And the work was very, very popular. The book was published in America for the first time in Boston in 1720. This particular edition is 1659. London. The first was 1653. The binding itself, you see, is just the calf. It's got the turn-ins. It's before the ages of having what we call "paste-downs." And the whole thing is in absolutely unsophisticated condition. What did you pay for this book?

25 cents.

25 cents? And that was 30 years ago?

Yes. The people that I bought it from said that their grandmother was a doctor and that this was her book and they were getting rid of all her junk that was in their basement.

Well, right now, I would put a retail value on this of between $2,000 and $3,000.

Oh, I think it was a good investment on 25 cents 30 years ago.

Yes, it certainly was a good investment.

Appraisal Details

Appraised value (2010)
$2,000 Retail$3,000 Retail
Washington, DC (August 21, 2010)

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