Latest News Articles by Ian McKay


Famous fairy tale author Hans Christian Andersen's jester amuses at auction

10 April 2017

Hans Christian Andersen did not confine himself to the fairy tales that are his principal and lasting legacy.


Couple of nice little learners

05 April 2017

London sale offers ground-breaking grammatical studies from 16th and 17th centuries.

Calculations go into orbit

05 April 2017

Calculations and notes predicting the orbit of what at the time was a newly discovered and very large asteroid, Juno, brought a bid of £7000 at Bonhams (25/20/12% buyer’s premium) on March 1.


Beardsley shows his devilish side at auction

05 April 2017

It may have been under 2in (5cm) high, but a tiny ink drawing by Aubrey Beardsley sold for a sizeable $10,000 (£8000) in a sale of Illustration Art held by Swann (25/20/12% buyer’s premium) in New York on March 21.


Oh! Calcutta! £14,000 show-stopper

05 April 2017

Shown here is one of 25 coloured litho plates that illustrate Sir Charles Doyly’s Views of Calcutta and its Environs, a large folio work published in 1848.


Newton travels to New York

05 April 2017

Making its third saleroom appearance in 30-odd years, the portrait in oils of Isaac Newton shown here is one of at least a dozen made in his lifetime.


BOOKS AND WORKS ON PAPER: Mapping the American Southwest

01 April 2017

Shropshire auctioneer sells ‘cartographic cornerstone’ of Tex-Mex history at surprise £16,500...


Who lost the continents of Lemuria and Mu?

01 April 2017

'So Geographers in Afric maps With Savage-Pictures fiill their Gaps; And o’er uninhabitable Downs Place Elephants for want of Towns'.


And then there were two Brothers Karamazov

01 April 2017

“Very rare, most extant copies behind institutional walls,” said Swann (25/20/12% buyer’s premium) of a first English language version of Dostoevsky’s The Brothers Karamazov.


Chagall’s ‘Arabian Nights’

01 April 2017

Seen here is one of 13 coloured lithographs by Marc Chagall that make up Tales from the Arabian Nights, a special, deluxe portfolio printed by Albert Carman and published by Pantheon Books in New York in 1948.

Robert Owen’s mills at New Lanark

Scottish model for a new society – Robert Owen’s pioneering work offered at Dominic Winter auction

30 March 2017

A copy of a pioneering work that has been described as “the first practical statement of socialist doctrine”, Robert Owen’s ‘A New View of Society...,’ of 1813-14, will be a major attraction in a Dominic Winter sale next month.


Bidder goes wild about Wilde

25 March 2017

Elizabeth Barrett Browning lots fall flat... but annotated Dorian Gray leaves treble the estimate


Writer remains true to type

25 March 2017

Typewriters on which famous books came into existence have featured on these pages before, but not for some time – and certainly not machines of a kind that that continue to be used by their owner to this day.


Bonhams’ double 0 heaven

25 March 2017

A crease that runs around the lower part of the dust jacket detracts somewhat from the appeal of a first impression copy of the first of Ian Fleming’s Bond books, Casino Royale of 1953, but it sold for £16,000 in a March 1 sale held by Bonhams (25/20/12% buyer’s premium).


Shark’s Italian takeaway

25 March 2017

Possibly the first printed reference to a ‘Great White’ shark attack is found in a four-page pamphlet, printed in Naples in 1721, from which the woodcut shown here is taken.

John Grave Simcoe’s Journal

Rare first-hand account of the American revolutionary war takes record bid at Bonhams

23 March 2017

Privately printed and distributed in Exeter in 1787, probably in quite small numbers, a copy of John Grave Simcoe’s ‘Journal of the Operations of the Queen’s Rangers, from the End of the Year 1777, to the Conclusion of the Late American War’ drew strong interest at a Bonhams New York sale earlier this month.


Get on the Blowers for his sale

18 March 2017

Cricket commentator who has a way with words offers books from own library at auction


‘Sundial’ distorts view of the world

18 March 2017

Highly unusual, not to say confusing, but mathematically correct is the view of the world as seen in this untitled map of 1640 that made £4500 in a Dominic Winter (19.5% buyer’s premium) sale of March 1.

John Marston’s The Scourge of Villanie

Banned and then burned – two early English satires bloom again at Bonhams’ sale

17 March 2017

Bound together some 200 years ago, rare copies of two Elizabethan satires that were first condemned and then burned will be among the books offered by Bonhams at the Glyn Cywarch sale later this month.


Job lot at £3600 is perfect sense

11 March 2017

Auction find reveals historical account of follies, fads, manias and the madness of crowds