My usual study room in the British Library is Humanities 1 so it was really odd for me to have to go to Rare Manuscripts to read Sydney Anglo’s 2 volume work The Great Tournament Roll of Westminster on the 1511 Westminster Tournament Roll - it meant that this was no ordinary book.
Books in Rare Manuscripts are there for the obvious reason or if they are expensive, I believed it was for the latter reason The Great Tournament Roll of Westminster was there . However having recently purchased a brand-new-still-in-orginal-packaging copy for £30 at the College of Arms I’m rethinking why it has to be in Rare Manuscripts.
That £30 price tag is its original 1968 published price.
The College of Arms price has remained unchanged since that time. I know that because I was told so and my copy was still in its original brown paper wrapping, as befits such an expensive book, and it smelt and looked 49 years old. There was one further telling indication of the price - a label stuck to the inside front cover stating £30.00, 600s net UK, hints of the decimalisation to come in 1971.
Little surprise that the 2 volume work The Great Tournament Roll of Westminster was carefully wrapped in brown paper as today that £30 would be the equivalent of around £500 according to measuringworth.com
Some further idea of how values have shifted in 1968 a Renault 4 car cost between £599 and £629 which is equivalent to £9,823 and £10,315 in 2016 prices. so 5% of a mini family car in today would around £490 we’re back to that £500 in today’s money (Cost car year you were born).
So no surprise to to understand why it was to be found in the Rare Manuscripts at the British Library.
Its not just an historic document of an historic event its an historic document in itself being a collotype, printed by the acclaimed printer Vivian Ridler
So at £30 you’re really buying genuine piece of history at a bargain price!