A. Maurice & Co’s First Folio

Since my first post ‘to being at the beginning…’ on the firm of A. Maurice & Co, founded by my great-great-grandfather, I’ve been fortunate to receive lots of suggestions, corrections and facts from friends and family. I hope to incorporate these here and in future posts.

Most importantly Simon Hicks pointed out my confusion between the two Armands, father and son. Armand (born 1824) my great great-grandfather founded the firm of A. Maurice, but later in the century it was run from Bedford Street by his son Armand (born 1865) my great grandmother’s brother.

Shakespeare, First Folio, 1623
Shakespeare, First Folio, 1623

This week I have been pursuing a chance reference I found to the Shakespeare First Folio (1632) sold by A. Maurice & Co in August 1896. To my delight, the copy had been tracked down by Anthony James West shortly before publication of his Census in 2003 and appears there as West 213. The copy still exists and is in Japan – apparently having been the very first copy of the First Folio to arrive in Japan.

A. Maurice acquired it in the 1890s and quite quickly sold it to the Cornish tin magnate John Claude Daubuz. It was sold again in 1932 (Sotheby’s, 25 July, lot 129A) and bought by Marks for £100.  It apparently then migrated to California, being sold by Dawson’s in Los Angeles in the same year. The next we hear of it is when sold jointly in 1969 by the British firm H. M. Fletcher and Japanese firm Yushodo to a Mr Kamijo in 1969 for £6,400. Lee’s enquiries suggest the copy was still with the Kamijo family in Japan in 2001.