We’re big fans of the humble dictionary here at the Language Museum blog, but would we pay £130,000 for one? Probably not.

Someone did though, as a copy of Johnson’s Dictionary with an original unrestored binding was sold for that amount in October, according to the Antiques Trade Gazette. A record price, it is estimated that fewer than half of the original 2000 copies printed are still in existence, and much fewer in unrestored condition.

The full title of the dictionary is A dictionary of the English language : in which the words are deduced from their originals, and illustrated in their different significations by examples from the best writers. To which are prefixed, A history of the language, and An English grammar. It was first published in 1755, with Dr Johnson taking just 9 years to compile it. The dictionary contained definitions of 40,000 words and was printed in two large volumes. Further editions followed, with it becoming the standard English dictionary until the advent of the Oxford English Dictionary.