A Dynasty of Dealers: John Smith and Successors 1801–1924 by Charles Sebag-Montefiore - review by Andrew Roberts

Andrew Roberts

The Frugality Cipher

A Dynasty of Dealers: John Smith and Successors 1801–1924


The Roxburghe Club/Maggs Bros Ltd 464pp £250 order from our bookshop

The grandest club in the world is undoubtedly the Roxburghe. Founded in 1812 and made up of 41 bibliophiles, many of whom own superb libraries, it numbers three dukes, two marquesses, three earls and a prince among its members, along with ten Deputy Lieutenants, six Fellows of the British Academy, two Privy Counsellors, a Knight of the Thistle, seven PhDs and DLitts, a member of the Order of Merit and another of the Académie Française. 

Each member is expected to publish a book to give to the others, with a few copies left over for sale to the general public. Very often members choose to reproduce manuscripts or rare printed books from their own libraries, or sets of correspondence that would otherwise never get published.

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