The copy of Prof Pepper’s True History of The Ghost… sold by Hansons for £800.

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In a December 19-20 auction his department’s more valuable contributions included a pair of TE Lawrence’s sandals and a pair of Nelson’s shoe buckles (as previously noted online), but there were also more traditional book and map successes.

A 17th century Speed world map made £4800 and an early map of Australia, published by Emmanuel Bowen, c.1744, reached £1900.

Bid to what seems to be a record £800 was an inscribed presentation copy of Prof Pepper’s The True History of The Ghost… of 1890.

It deals with the creation of an illusion in which a mirror and a piece of glass may be used to create the appearance of ghost-like figures or objects that can seem to appear and disappear, or to spontaneously change shape.

John Henry Pepper (d.1900) was a British scientist, inventor and writer who also gave scientific demonstrations and entertained the public, royalty and indeed his fellow scientists. It is said that Pepper first demonstrated this ghostly effect in stage performances of one of Dickens’ Christmas novellas, The Haunted Man.