The Rugby boarding School in England has announced that it is going to be auctioning off around 300 rare books from the likes of Shakespeare, Aristotle, Charles Dickens, and Daniel Defoe. The auction will be held next week and is expected to a rather hefty sum for the school, with just one book, a fourth edition Folio of Shakespeare from 1685 expecting to raise £50,000 alone. It has been stated that the proceeds of the auction will go back into the school, to benefit current and future students.
Given that a previous auction held in 2018 saw the school raise almost £15 million with a selection of artwork, hopes are high that the upcoming auction will prove to be equally successful. The school has stated that the books up for auction “an impressively wide range of interests”, from botany, religion, military history, and maps.
As the BBC reports, a second edition of Shakespeare Comedies, Histories, & Tragedies from 1632 is expected to fetch anywhere between £20,000 and £30,000, while a 1598 edition of Aristotle’s Politiques, or Discourses of Government is set to sell for up to £6,000, as is 1719 copy of Daniel Defoe’s The Life and Strange Surprising Adventures of Robinson Crusoe. Fans of Charles Dickens will be interested to learn that a first edition of A Christmas Carol, from 1843, could sell up to £4,000.
Peter Green, the Rugby school’s executive head master has said the decision to hold the auction was “twofold”. “They deserve to be preserved, stored – and enjoyed – in specialist conditions,” he said. “Secondly, the school is committed, as a registered charity, to use its resources to benefit current and future students. Rugby School already operates a generous bursary system. It is entirely fitting that the proceeds from the sale of this collection will go towards extending the benefit of a Rugby education.” The school has stated that the auction is not in response to any financial trouble.
The auction is set to take place next Wednesday on 18 November, 13:00 GMT.