A Bible that belonged to the priest who smuggled King Charles II out of England during the Civil War is expected to fetch thousands at auction.
Father John Huddleston’s Bible was bought in the 1950s for today’s equivalent of two and a halfpence – but it now has an estimated retail price of at least £2,000.
Hailing the “very rare” find, auctioneer John Crane recalled that when he first saw it at a family home in Wirral he thought it was “the first time in 40 years that I had heard the word ‘ unique” could use”.
Father Huddleston arranged for King Charles II to take refuge in France during the English Civil War and visited the monarch’s deathbed to convert him to the Catholic faith in 1685.
Mr Crane said: “To buy this item is to buy a piece of history – one could safely assume that this Bible was present at the death of King Charles.”
The Bible was purchased from a bookshop in Moorfields, Liverpool for six oldpence in the late 1950s and bears Father Huddleston’s signature.
Mr Crane added that the presence of a signature gave an indication of the price point.
He said “a signature of Huddleston on another unbound book was sold in Edinburgh for £600, but it was not his personal Bible”.
“The signature alone is probably worth £600-800, but the added value would be the fact that it’s his personal Bible,” he continued.
“Most other books have commercial value because they’ve been sold before, but this book is so unique that it doesn’t have a track record.”
Speaking of the importance of the Bible, Mr Crane said: “Its connection with King Charles and the friendship between him and Father Huddleston makes it unique.
“If Father Huddleston had not organized King Charles II’s escape, it might have changed the course of history.”
Given its historical importance, Mr. Crane hopes the Bible will not be confiscated once purchased.
“I hope that some public institution or museum will buy it so that it can be made available to the general public,” he said.
“This isn’t about money, it’s about making sure it’s in safe hands and safekeeping for the greater good.”
The Bible is part of a timed international auction at thesaleroom.com/catocrane ending March 30th.
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https://metro.co.uk/2023/03/18/bible-of-priest-who-smuggled-charles-ii-out-of-england-to-go-under-hammer-18465437/ Bible of the priest who smuggled Charles II out of England to go under the hammer