JUST over a hundred years ago began what was truly described as the “slaughter” of the hoards of books collected by Richard Heber, whom Thomas Campbell called “the fiercest and strongest of the bibliomaniacs.” The thousands and thousands of volumes were treated by Heber's executors simply as property to be promptly turned into cash in the auction‐room so that the estate could be wound up. They were dumped on the market and, naturally, prices slumped.
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