How Come I Never Find One?

Booksellers claim to have found Shakespeare’s annotated dictionary:

If it’s real, it’s the literary find of the century. New York antiquarian booksellers Daniel Wechsler and George Koppelman believe they have found William Shakespeare’s annotated dictionary.

The book itself is John Baret’s An Alvearie or Quadruple Dictionarie, published in 1580. It was listed on eBay in late April 2008. They placed a bid of $US4300 and got it for $US4050. Wechsler is unequivocal, “only $250 separated us from never having had this experience.”
Images taken from the dictionary.

Although unsigned, it contains thousands of annotations in a contemporary hand that point directly to the composition of some of Shakespeare’s best known works, including Hamlet, Romeo and Juliet, and many of the sonnets. Wechsler and Koppelman have spent the past six years making sense of the annotations and building a case that it is Shakespeare’s copy.

To answer my own question, I never find these because I don’t like to spend more than a dollar on a book.

Also, I live in southwest Missouri, which is better suited for finding caches of silver coins than four hundred year old books.

2 Responses to “How Come I Never Find One?”

  1. John Farrier Says:

    Keep hunting! I once found an Eighteenth Century edition of a classic Latin text at a library discard sale. It cost only 50 cents.

    But this was in Ohio, which has a more ancient lineage than Missouri.

    By the way, your link isn’t working. You’ve got an extra character at the end of the URL.

  2. Brian Says:

    Actually, I forgot the opening quotation mark on the URL.

    Strangely enough, although I haven’t found something quite that old, when I was in St. Louis I picked up a first edition (but not first printing) of Dune for a buck at a garage sale. I also picked up a number of early printings of John Norman’s Gor books for fifty cents each. I turned around and sold these on eBay for hundreds of dollars, so I’ve had my swings.