Ancient Egypt. Objects of Antiquity, forming part of the extensive and rich collection from Ancient Egypt, brought to England by, & now in the possession of, J. Sams.

SAMS Joseph (1839.)


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Sole edition. Lithograph title-page & 33 lithograph mainly hand-coloured plates. Small folio. Contemporary half calf over marbled boards, rebacked, spine gilt, black morocco label to upper board. London, Executed for, & under the immediate Inspection of the Proprietor,

After a successful early career as a Darlington bookseller, Joseph Sams (1784 - 1860) set out in search of antiquities. Travelling to Egypt and Palestine from 1826 to 1828, he amassed a valuable collection of Egyptian papyri, mummies and sarcophagi. A devout Quaker, he is purported to have visited every identifiable location mentioned in the New Testament.


This profitable expedition enabled him on his return to establish himself as a dealer of antiquities as well as books and manuscripts, and extend his business to include a London premises, at 56 Great Queen Street, Lincoln's Inn. This clearly paid off, as in 1834 the British Museum received a parliamentary grant to purchase many of the items in his collection for £2,500. 


The remaining antiquities were exhibited in London, having been augmented with acquisitions made from the collections of Henry Salt, and Charles Bogaert. In 1839 the following fine catalogue of hand coloured lithographic plates was issued to advertise the sale. The British Museum turned down this second collection, and instead it was purchased by Joseph Mayer, who exhibited it along with his other antiquities at Great Colquitt Street, Liverpool. In 1867, Mayer presented his formidable collection to the Liverpool Museum, at which time it was valued at £80,000. Devastatingly, many of these items were destroyed by enemy action in 1941. This publications therefore provides the only record for some of these lost artefacts. 


Alongside the 33 titled lithographic plates, there is a letterpress advertisement pasted to the verso of the front flyleaf, stating that the plates were issued over a considerable period of time, accounting for the repetitious title information at the foot of each plate. It also states that "The extreme antiquity of these objects renders them of peculiar interest. Many of them go back, undoubtedly, to the time of Moses and the Israelites, and even considerably anterior to that period."


Rare: 8 copies only on OCLC, no copy at BL. Lawson & Uphill, Who's Who in Egyptology. London, 1995.

Stock Code: 227441

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