Great Auk's Egg

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IN your last issue (p. 412), I observe a letter from Prof. Newton, in which he gives his version of the history of the egg of this extinct bird, which was recently sold by auction for £315. There is no doubt that the egg was brought to this, country by Yarrell, who purchased it in France some time before 1838, in which year it was figured by Hewitson in his well-known work on birds‘ eggs. But the question is, where-abouts in France did he find it? Prof. Newton, who well remembers it in the collection of Yarrell, says: “He told me, as he told others of his friends, that he bought it in Paris, in a little curiosity shop of mean appearance,” and that he paid two francs for it, He adds that the only “variant” of this story deserving of consideration, is to the effect that the price was five instead of two francs. If this were the only “variant,” it would not be worth further discussion. But there is a very different story told of it in Mr. Symington Grieve's important work on “The Great Auk, its history, archæology, and remains,” published in 1885. At p. 105 of this volume, Mr. Grieve writes of this very egg:—

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