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Nothing is more exciting than a call out of the blue from a collector saying he is thinking of selling his cherished collection. The reasons can be various but often the client has felt he has had his pleasure putting a collection together over many years and now wants others to have the same excitement and pleasure as he has had.
One of the most exciting of recent calls was from a collector saying he had not one but three letters from Bonnie Prince Charlie he wished to sell. Not only were they wholly holograph letters but to King Louis XV of France no less, written shortly after Bonnie Prince Charlie’s crushing defeat at Culloden in April 1745. The letters included a memoir with the Prince’s views on why the 1745 Rising had failed and how if he had only had more money, troops and supplies he would have been King not just of Scotland but England too. An astonishing political document, it attracted a huge amount of media and public interest, and sold for £25,000.
Simon Vickers is Head of Department and specialist in Rare Books, Maps, Manuscripts & Photographs. He specialises in the fields of English literature and early travel, including 19th century photography.
Simon, grandson of the distinguished American book dealer C.A. Stonehill, joined the London booksellers Maggs Bros. Ltd. immediately after university, before moving onto Sotheby’s department of Rare Books & Manuscripts, where he catalogued a number of fine collections, including the Atabey, Peter Hopkirk, Hesketh & Walter Schmirl libraries.
After working as an independent rare book, manuscript and photograph valuer he joined Lyon & Turnbull in 2006, where he has expanded the department and driven its profile outside Scotland.