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Great House Antiques
Great House Antiques, Appraiser/ Researcher/ Entrepreneur
Category: Antiques
Satisfied Customers: 2281
Experience:  30+ years in all aspects of the Antiques and Decorative Arts Industry
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I have a hard back book - The Life of Pope Sixtus the Fifth

Customer Question

I have a hard back book - The Life of Pope Sixtus the Fifth by Gregoriou Leti, translated by Ellis Farnworth, printed by W Bowyer, sold by C Bathurst MDCCLIV. The book has two printed ownership crests stuck to the inside front pages. First Sir William Maynard Gomm and then Sir James Gomer Berry.
Is it worth anything?
***** *****
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Antiques
Expert:  Great House Antiques replied 2 years ago.
Hello, Mr. Barnes - Thank you for your question! The book you mention is fairly well known among enthusiasts of Church-related materials and has been printed in many editions and languages since its creation in the late 17th century. These are generally available in good numbers by and large. As with most antiques, the value of old books is greatly tied to their condition. A copy such as the one to which you refer in good condition (binding, pages, etc., tight/ intact/ not significantly faded/ discolored: fairly well-preserved overall) would have an estimated retail value in the range of 200-300 GBP. Your book, however, has the added attribution of apparently having been part of the libraries of the two notable individuals you mentioned. The first, Sir William Maynard Gomm GCB (10 November 1784 – 15 March 1875) was a British Army officer. After taking part in the Anglo-Russian invasion of Holland, he served in most of the battles of the Napoleonic Wars. During the Hundred Days he took part in both the Battle of Quatre Bras and the Battle of Waterloo. He went on to be Commander of the troops in Jamaica and in that role established new barracks at Newcastle, Jamaica. After that he became Governor of Mauritius and, finally, Commander-in-Chief, India; in which role he introduced promotion examinations for officers. The second, (James) Gomer Berry, 1st Viscount Kemsley GBE (7 May 1883 – 6 February 1968), was a Welsh colliery owner and newspaper publisher. Berry was born the son of John Mathias and Mary Ann (née Rowe) Berry, of Merthyr Tydfil in Wales. He was the younger brother of Henry Berry, 1st Baron Buckland, an industrialist, and William Berry, 1st Viscount Camrose, a fellow press lord. Berry originally co-owned The Daily Telegraph with his second brother Lord Camrose, and Lord Burnham. He founded Kemsley Newspapers, which owned The Sunday Times, The Daily Sketch and The Sunday Graphic amongst its titles. With this added provenance, the book's value would be seen higher than would an "ordinary" copy. I believe at a well publicized sale of similar materials, it could bring more than the above estimate; likely in the range of 300-500 GBP. Again, assuming it to be in good condition. So, the book would indeed seem to be of some value; especially given its historical owners. Thank you again for writing in about it! (Hoping it has provided assistance - if you require no further help - please rate my answer. This is an important step in that it is your way of letting me know you have been well-served [by my answer only]. Please note, though, that it does not/ cannot address any other aspects of your experience with JA; unfortunately, these are not in my control. Rating is also the way in which JA is prompted to extend credit for my service. So, your best rating is most appreciated! *Please let me know if I may be of further assistance* : )Thank you, again.GHA
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Customer: replied 2 years ago.

Alas the front cover including 3 pages is detached as well as the back cover - there are no tears to the pages and they are all intact. Some brown spotting to all pages. Gomm crest is on the inside front cover and Berry on the next page.

***** *****

Expert:  Great House Antiques replied 2 years ago.
Hello, Mr. Barnes, thank you for the great rating! Yes, that would detract from the value some as, again, condition is key. Without being present with the material, but as you describe it, we might need to shave off somewhere in the vicinity of 150 pounds or so from the above estimates; putting your copy (with its special attributes) more in the 200-300 range. Still, a good sum for this work in said condition. I want to thank you, ***** ***** and say I would certainly look forward to being of assistance to you in the future. All the best! GHA