Mystery Monday: OFF Stamp from the Folger

Today’s Mystery Monday post is a pair of images contributed by researcher Claire M. L. Bourne, who came across two very similar stamps in two 17th century plays she was looking at in the collections at the Folger Shakespeare Library. The first stamp appears in a play by Aphra Behn called Abdelazer, or The Moor’s revenge from 1677 (Folger, B1715): 

The nearly identical stamp appears a play called Sophonisba, or Hannibal’s overthrow by Natheniel Lee in 1676 (Folger, L870):

The two plays were both printed in London for J. Magnes and R. Bentley in Russell St., London within a year of each other and both have been marked with the same distinctive round stamp bearing the letters OFF in the top half and the number 4 in the bottom half.

Anyone with ideas about what this stamp is and what it can tell us about who owned these plays before should either comment on this blog or post a comment under one of the images of the stamp here on POP.

There will be more images from the Folger joining POP in the next few weeks, including provenance marks from some of the Folger’s Shakespeare First Folios, so look for more interesting provenance from these collections soon.

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2 Responses to Mystery Monday: OFF Stamp from the Folger

  1. eefuller2014 says:

    They look to me like early postmarks. If so, it should be possible to identify them through philatelic resources. The next question would be why someone put them in books.


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