Moir the collector – a thrifty Scot

Moir was a hard bargainer with book dealers when he wanted to acquire items that he felt would add value and completeness to his collection. Several books in the Moir Rare Book Collection are still accompanied by their sales receipts. The receipt dated 28 September 1920, relating to the purchase of Charles Butler's 'The Feminine monarchie' (1634), gives a small insight into Moir's strong and persuasive personality.

Moir had purchased Butler's book from the famous London booksellers Bernard Quaritch Ltd and had been charged the full price of £2-0-0d*. Under the letterhead the payment method is clearly stated as being 'Terms Cash, without Discount'. Moir disregards this and pleads his case in a hand-written note written in blue ink dated 30 November, 1920:

'I am sorry to see "net" above the £2. The 10% allowed me in the past resulted in several good orders. I hope that as librarian of the Scottish Beekeepers' Assn. you will still allow me this. If you can send me 4 [shillings] on this, I shall be very glad. Our funds are almost exhausted.'

Bernard Quaritch responds in red ink, allowing Moir 'exceptionally, although the above price was made with a view of the lowest possible', a reduction of 10%, though in fact reducing the price not by 4s. but by only 3s. 3d. In today's currency a volume like this may sell for over £700.Receipt, 28 September 1920

* This is pre-decimalisation currency in which the pounds were divided into 20 shillings and the shillings into 12 pence.

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