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I've just finished reading "Anatomy of an Auction; Rare Books at Ruxley Lodge 1919" by Arthur and Janet Freeman. Published by The Book Collector it details the operations of 'The Ring' at a country house sale in 1919. The effectiveness of the ring at this sale can perhaps be gauged from the price paid for a Shakespeare first folio, a book that would, at the time, fetch perhaps £2000 in a London saleroom was sold at Ruxley Lodge to Quaritch for just £100.
The Ruxley Lodge sale was a dispersal sale of the contents of an English country house belonging to the Foley family. The house and its contents were being sold by the 7th Baron, who it appears had little interest in and little knowledge of the books that had been collected by successive generations of his family. He secured the services of the auctioneers Castiglione & Scott to handle the sale, a firm well used to dealing with land and property but with little experience of the book trade and the books were badly catalogued by the auctioneers, making the work of the ring even easier; there were so many hidden prizes.
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