10 Jun 2009

Berwick, Pennsylvania Society Finds Rare Book, Promptly Sells It

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The local historical society atBerwick, Pennsylvania, a borough of 10,000 people in largely rural Columbia County, was inventorying its collection of Early America almanacs and discovered it possessed a rare 1733 first annual edition of Benjamin Franklin‘s Poor Richard’s Almanack.

The almanac, bound with several others, proved authentic, and was sold yesterday at Sotheby’s, bringing $556,500, the second largest price ever paid at auction for an American book. The record holder remains George Washington’s copy of the Federalist Papers also sold by Sotheby’s in 1990 for $1.4 million.

Whatever will the historical society do with so much money?

Some news agency‘s account.

I know myself of a county courthouse in Pennsylvania where original documents signed by Benjamin Franklin in his capacity as secretary of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania are still sitting unrecognized in the county clerk’s office. I could have pointed out their value, but I kind of like the idea of their being in the same place they’ve always been.

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