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Copies of the Rutland and Stamford Mercury from the mid-1800s to go on sale with Batemans auctioneers




Old copies of the Mercury may be 'chip paper' to some, but tomorrow (Saturday, August 1) a book of about 150 newspapers dating from the mid-19th Century could fetch a handsome price.

In fact, despite costing only four-and-a-half old pence for a copy back in 1848, they each might be worth more than the cover price of today's paper.

Greg Bateman, managing director at Batemans Auctioneers and Valuers, said the copies of the Mercury are from a time when it was published as a broadsheet under the masthead The Lincoln, Rutland and Stamford Mercury.

Each edition cost just four-and-a-half old pence. They are expected to sell for upwards of £100.
Each edition cost just four-and-a-half old pence. They are expected to sell for upwards of £100.

He said: "The editions look like they've been read over the years, but they still intact and bound with a hardback cover.

"We had a similar collection of about 250 copies of the Mercury from the 1800s which sold, with a few other bits and bobs, for £440 in October last year.

"We think the book being auctioned tomorrow will attract local interest."

A travelling zoo with performing big cats was on its way in the 'good old days' before Netflix.
A travelling zoo with performing big cats was on its way in the 'good old days' before Netflix.

Among the items which caught Greg's eye while he browsed the newspapers up for auction were:

  • A report on the Stamford Midlent Fair in March 1847 and an apparent 'highway attack' on a man from Scotgate
  • An advert for "Mr Wombwell's Royal Menagerie (not to be equalled in the world!)" with trained lions, tigers, leopards and panthers performing in Stamford
  • Houses in Rock Terrace, with 'water laid on without extra charge' were to let
Stamford Mid-Lent Fair was "likely to be fully attended in the pleasure department". What's the betting it rained?
Stamford Mid-Lent Fair was "likely to be fully attended in the pleasure department". What's the betting it rained?
  • The wdding of a woman called Jane Bateman (not likely to be a direct ancestor, but fun all the same)
  • A report on plans to build Stamford railway station as 'one of the the most elegant structures of the kind in the kingdom'
  • Mr Gypson was to make his 96th ascent in his silk balloon (July 4, 1849) - he was looking for a passenger to join the flight
Jane Batemen (not of the auctioneers) was married
Jane Batemen (not of the auctioneers) was married
  • The body of a man was found in the river Welland near Uffington Hall, possibly of an Irishman
  • A 'very fine eagle was shot a few days ago in Bushy Wood', it measured 7 feet from tip to tip of the wings, on 26th October 1849
  • 'A Gigantic Sheep' was exhibited the the Great Christmas cattle show in London; apparently the heaviest sheep on record
A man living in California is reported to be looking for a wife - who must be at least 6ft with blue eyes and auburn hair. Fortunately the idea of someone being so specific about their look of their future partner was ridiculed in Stamford, even in the mid-1800s.
A man living in California is reported to be looking for a wife - who must be at least 6ft with blue eyes and auburn hair. Fortunately the idea of someone being so specific about their look of their future partner was ridiculed in Stamford, even in the mid-1800s.
  • 'Wives for California' - a man who had been in California for eight years was advertising for a wife, but stipulated that she be 'not less than six feet, blue eyes, and auburn hair'

Greg also spotted references to a coming pandemic - at this time, cholera - spreading from the 'East', with local cases reported on.

More details on the Mercury lot can be found here.

The online auction, which starts at 10am, will also see the sale of a Wilfred Wood watercolour painting of Stamford.

To register for the online auction, click here.



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