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Some of the nation's greatest historical treasures are maintained in the libraries and archives of the City of London Corporation - the Treasure of the Month series is your chance to explore these rare artefacts in more detail and unlock London's history.

Many of the items rarely go on display, so take the opportunity to immerse yourself in our collective history.

Each month we'll be profiling a 'treasure' from one of the City's attractions including Guildhall Library, the Heritage Gallery, London Metropolitan Archives and the Guildhall Art Gallery.

To stay up-to-date with each month's Treasure, sign up to our Treasure of the Month email alert.

This month's treasure is...

An appeal to Caesar :

wherein gold and silver is proved to be the Kings Majestie's royal commodity

This book was written by Thomas Violet as a petition to King Charles II against the exportation of coin for personal gain. The coat of arms of Charles II on the front of this book suggests it was commissioned by a royal owner but it was actually a gift to the king from Violet, a criminal turned informant, to curry his favour.

Violet was imprisoned for 20 weeks after being found guilty of playing the market in the very way his petition opposed - by exchanging English silver coin for French gold. He was then recruited to inform on abuse of the coinage, inevitably to the annoyance of his former partners in crime.

On display as part of the Books: Used and Abusedexhibition, Violet was not the only person to use this book for his own interests. The Bookbinder, Stephen Lewis, painted a colourful floral advertisement on the foredge of the book.

On display at Guildhall Library until 19 May 2017.

Guildhall Library is open:

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  • Thursday 9.30am - 5pm
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  • Sunday - CLOSED
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