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Last Updated: Monday, 3 December 2007, 11:29 GMT
Gunpowder plot 'skin' book sold
skin book cover
The book, which sold for 5,400, labels Father Henry Garnet as a traitor
A private buyer has paid 5,400 at auction for a book alleged to be bound in the skin of a Jesuit priest executed over the 1605 Gunpowder Plot.

The macabre lot, deemed "a bit spooky" by the auctioneer, has the mysterious image of a face on the cover, said to be that of Father Henry Garnet.

Auctioneer Sid Wilkinson of Doncaster said the face shows the haunting presence of a man falsely accused.

The book went to an unnamed buyer during a "lively" sale on Sunday.

Wilkinson's Auctioneers sale room specialist Jessica Wall said: "It was a very exciting sale. It was very lively in the room which was full."

The book, thought to date from 1606, went to a private collector.

Mr Wilkinson said the book - entitled 'A True and Perfect Relation of The Whole Proceedings against the Late most barbarous Traitors, Garnet a Jesuit and his Confederats' - has not been subjected to DNA testing.

Henry Garnet was accused of treason as part of the 5 November 1605 Gunpowder Plot, although evidence suggests that while he knew of the plans, he urged the Catholic conspirators not to resort to violence.

Mr Wilkinson said there were tales of the priest's image appearing elsewhere, including in the straw collected from the basket where the priest's head was placed after his execution in May 1606.

The book on display in the auction house

'Spooky' skin book on the block
02 Dec 07 |  South Yorkshire

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