Arthur Saul’s Famous Game of Chesse-Play…, the first published book on the game written by an Englishman, came out in 1614.
Extracted from Antiques Trade Gazette | Ian McKay
Though the copy whose title-page is reproduced here is a sixth edition of 1673, its price at Forum Auctions (25/20/12% buyer’s premium) was a far higher than expected £7000.
The “…Learner may profit more by reading of this small book, than by playing a thousand Mates” is the claim made above the name of one Jo Barbier, who was presumably the editor of this edition rather than its author, as seems to be implied.
All editions are rare and just four copies of this one are listed in the English Short Title Catalogue, two of them in the National Library of Scotland and the others in US libraries.
The only copy of Saul’s book to have made more was the first edition in the Bradley Martin library – one of only a handful recorded and probably the only one in private hands – that in 1990 at Sotheby’s New York sold for $20,000 (then £12,195).