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Sun 17 December 2017
FEATURE ARTICLES
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PEOPLE: JOHN RAE, ANTIQUARIAN
John Rae, Antiquarian, 1841-1891.

Obituary provided by Margaret Moore.



Mr. Rae may be said to be an Aberdonian, for he hailed originally from the Buxburn district. Bred to the grocery trade, Mr. Rae started business many years ago in the east end of town and gradually developed those tastes for antiquarian pursuits which distinguished him even in his boyhood days.

John RaeAs a collector of antiques, Mr. Rae’s fame rapidly spread over Aberdeenshire and the north of Scotland, and from all quarters antiquarian "finds" poured upon him. In all departments of Scottish archaeology, his collection was not only the best known in private hands, but was superior in not a few respects to that of the Antiquarian Museum in Edinburgh. And his great store of antiquarian treasures, Mr. Rae was not slow to place at the disposal of his fellow-citizens, either for private or public use. To bazaars and kindred objects he frequently furnished most interesting exhibits, and to the larger exhibitions which from time to time have been held in the Art Gallery Buildings, Mr. Rae's contributions have been a decided feature. To private callers too, Mr. Rae was exceedingly courteous and obliging in exhibiting his curiosities, and not a few Scottish antiquarians have spoken on terms of the highest praise of the singular merit of the deceased gentleman's collection.

Instinctively, Mr. Rae knew antiques, and even when a comparatively poor man, did not scruple to spend money liberally in securing them. Of stone implements, his specimens are unequalled in the country; and of fairy brooches, flints, arrow heads, coins, and bronzes, he had brought together a unique and valuable collection.

The accommodation at Mr. Rae's disposal did not permit of the proper arrangement of cataloguing of his archaeological possessions, but that their high value was known beyond Aberdeen is borne out by the fact that more than once overtures had been made to him for the purchase of portions by the authorities of the Antiquarian Museum in Edinburgh.

Mr. Rae, who was a little over 40 years of age, is survived by a widow and seven children.

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