Reginald Scot's Discoverie of Witchcraft doubles estimate

A rare first edition copy of Reginald Scot's Discoverie of Witchcraft (1584) doubled an estimate of $15,000 to make $30,000 at Swann Auction Galleries.

The book is widely considered one of the first instructional books on magic.

Discoverie Witchcraft Scot
Scot's Discoverie of Witchcraft is the world's first conjuring book

Scot wrote the book as an expose of the techniques of witches and conjurers, showing the methods by which they scam people.

Scot's (1538-1599) awareness of magic's illusory nature and his discomfort with the persecution of ordinary people accused of witchcraft placed him far ahead of his time.

Possibly a little too far in fact, as he was roundly condemned.

When King James I came to the throne in 1603, one of his first acts was to order every copy of the book to be burned.

However, a few slipped through the net and are popular collector's items today.

A copy of William Davenant's 1674 text for Shakespeare's Macbeth also realised $30,000 at the April 12 sale, beating an estimate of $9,000 by 233.3%.

The full title of the book is: Macbeth, a Tragædy. With All the Alterations, Amendments, Additions, and New Songs. As it's now acted at the Dukes Theatre.

Davenant led the Duke's Company, one of the most acclaimed acting troupes in Restoration-era London.

He was the son of the proprietor of an inn in Oxford, where Shakespeare often stayed.

Rumours abounded that Shakespeare may have been his father (a rumour Davenant was happy to spread).

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