Numismatics and the Fortsas Library Sale of 1840 – Gary Oddie

Few library sales catalogues have generated as much interest at the time or subsequently as that printed for the sale of the library of Mr le Comte J.-N.-A. de Fortsas on the 10 August 1840. The auction report appeared in a local newspaper, describing the strong bidding, along with some of the prices realised and names of the buyers. Original copies of the catalogue were selling at a significant premium shortly after the date of the sale and it has been reprinted and translated several times. Chapters of books have also been written describing the build-up to the sale, the day of the sale and its aftermath. 
This note will describe details of the sale and then three numismatic and bibliophilic connections that came to light whilst looking into the related literature, though all is not as it initially appears.

3 thoughts on “Numismatics and the Fortsas Library Sale of 1840 – Gary Oddie

  1. Wonderful article! As a collector of continental sterlings I am, of course, familiar with the name Chalon but it is fascinating to attach such a story to what, up to now, has just been a name from the past for me. What an impish sense of humour he must have had.
    I am sure that you have done this already but by searching the web (voynich.fandom.com) for other information about him further examples of his mischievous streak emerge; not at all what one would expect from an eminent lawyer and a co-founder of the Belgian Numismatic Society in mid-Victorian times.
    Thanks once again, Gary.
    Regards,
    Denis Martin

  2. Hi Tony, Denis,
    Glad you enjoyed it.
    Just for info, I found a few typos, arghhh, so an updated version has been uploaded.
    All the best
    Gary

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