Joseph Sams

Bookseller and antiquities dealer

English bookseller and antiquities dealer based in Darlington, County Durham. Joseph Sams visited Egypt and Palestine in 1832-33 and brought back a valuable collection of antiquities. He formed three collections (mainly Egyptian) to sell, most of which being acquired by the British Museum in 1834. The remainder was enriched by purchases from the 1835 auction of Henry Salt's collection and some other sources. It was exhibited in London and Darlington, and a note on it in the 'Gentleman's Magazine' for April 1833 speaks of "upwards of 2200" items. Sams issued a catalogue in 1839 under the title, ‘Ancient Egypt : objects of antiquity forming part of the extensive and rich collections from Ancient Egypt brought to England by, or now in the possession of, J. Sams’. About 1850 Joseph Mayer of Liverpool purchased most of Sam's collection which formed the single most important source of Mayer's Egyptian collection. According to Egyptologist Dr John Taylor, between 1842 and 1849 Sams made repeated efforts to sell his collection to the British Museum without success. It is not recorded if Mayer purchased the collection direct from Sams or from a forgotten third party who bought from Sams and subsequently sold to Mayer.

  • Gender
  • Relationship
  • Nationality
    British: English
  • Born
  • Place of birth
    Europe: Northern Europe: UK: England: Somerset
  • Died
  • Place of death
    Europe: Northern Europe: UK: England: Somerset
  • Cause of death
    Unknown or unrecorded

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