After discovering a 17th-century notebook that contained the jottings of potentially the world's first Shakespeare scholar, experts were "trembling" in anticipation of what it may contain.
Entitled Shakespeare: Comedies and Tragedies, it was found in a collection of rare books by a relative.
Previously owned by 18th Century collector John Loveday of Caversham, Berkshire, it was appraised by Matthew Haley for Antiques Roadshow and you will not believe what they discovered.
He said it would likely fetch more than £30,000 at auction and admitted it had "enormous scholarly value" that left him "trembling" as he held it.
“It’s a very small manuscript, a tiny little notebook about the size of a matchbox, and it’s in a 17th-century hand," said Matthew.
He didn't know who originally owned the notebook, but was able to narrow it down based on its contents.
“We don’t know who the person who wrote it is, but obviously if it’s a 17th-century hand they were either going along to Shakespeare’s plays when they were being performed and taking notes, or they were reading one of the first four printed editions of Shakespeare, which is really amazing," he said.
“Obviously there weren’t that many people who were literate at the time and there weren’t that many people who would have had access to the printed editions of Shakespeare. It’s such a fascinating mystery," he said.
The document, which is now being transcribed, could provide evidence that not all of Shakespeare's work were written by the Bard himself, while the lines quotes may differ form those we use today.
This is a really cool find! What is your favorite Shakespeare play?