[ John Carter, bookseller ] Two Autograph Postcards Signed "John Carter" and "John C.", one to "R. Hyde" [Ron[ald] Hyde, collector/dealer etc, the other to Mrs [Richard] Bentley", widow of the publisher, Richard Bentley (II).

John Waynflete Carter (1905-1975), bibliographer and bookseller
Publication details: 
[Hyde] Sotheby & Co. 34 & 35 New Bond Street, London, W1 [postmark 24 Nov. 1961] and [Mrs Bentley] [?Chelsea, 8 Dec. 1961].
SKU: 18271

Two APCSs, sl. worn, but text clear and complete. The subject of both cards is the William Beckford letters which "disappeared" during an auction of the contents of The Mere, the Bentley house near Slough. First postcard (to Hyde): "My old friend Mrs Bentley has asked me to look into the question of other letters & papers, including the William Beckford lot w[hi]ch she tells me you saw; and I have had a talk today with her lawyer. I should much like to know just what you saw & heard. Could you possibly telephone me tomorrow morning or Sunday? Flaxman 4344 (reverse charges of course)." Second postcard (to Mrs Bentley): "I spent all day yesterday wading & probing at Hetheringtons, & I am afraid the Beckford are not there. I am glad to have your letter with the full details. I will talk to Rivington on Monday & we will then report to you." Note: John Carter further pursued these letters in the pages of the TLS, telling whoever removed them from The Mere should know that he is on the lookout for them on the market. Ron Hyde was present at the House Sale because his wife was daughter to Mrs Bentley's housekeeper. He told me who he saw concealing the Beckford letters behind their back (having done some surreptitious digging in the house as dealers do!) while asking Mrs Bentley if a minor lot would be worth a fiver to her. I believe Carter eventually brokered a deal between the light-fingered bookseller and a major American institution.