Books & Periodicals

Material in this specialist market ranges from the early printed works of the Gutenberg Press and William Caxton right through to Modern First Editions and now up to signed copies of Harry Potter. Condition and rarity are the keys to this sector.


ATG letter: First appearances also worth a look

27 May 2024

Further to Richard Fattorini’s article on second and later editions in ATG No 2643 (‘Worth having second thoughts’), first appearances are also of interest.


Book by man who conquered the Matterhorn peaks at £4000 level

27 May 2024

Victorian mountaineering book annotated by the author climbs to 20 times the top estimate

Books and works on paper auction calendar, May 29-June 13, 2024

27 May 2024

Our regular listing of UK and Irish books and works on paper auctions


Eye on the needle for Firsts fair

20 May 2024

A book elaborately illustrated with needle-work samples and commemorating Queen Victoria’s first trip to Ireland as monarch was one of the standout sales as 'Firsts London’s Rare Book Fair' opened.

Books and works on paper auction calendar, May 21-31, 2024

20 May 2024

Our regular listing of UK and Irish books and works on paper auctions


London’s ‘curious gardens’ inspired German botanist

20 May 2024

Published between 1750-73, Plantae selectae quarum imagines ad exemplaria naturalia Londini in hortis curiosorum (‘A selection of plants from natural specimens nurtured in London’s curious gardens’) is considered the most important botanical work ever printed in Germany.


Seven up for complete set of famous Sowerby work

20 May 2024

The Science, Medicine & Early Technology auction at Flints (25% buyer’s premium) in Thatcham, Berkshire on May 1 was led by a complete seven-volume set of The Mineral Conchology of Great Britain by James Sowerby (1757-1822).


Cryptography book creates a Shakespearean drama

20 May 2024

Cryptoryptomentyces et Cryptographiae has been described as ‘arguably the most complete tome on esoteric cryptography ever published’, an esoteric claim to fame in itself.


Bake to basics approach to bread making

20 May 2024

Owen Simmons was a bit of a bread fan, it is fair to say. A lecturer at the National Bakery School in London, he produced the lavish book shown here.


Laying down the laws for monks

20 May 2024

Manuscript ‘sold in 1776’ at forerunner of Sotheby’s emerges in New York sale

The Whole Book of Psalmes. Collected into English Meeter

The words of God with a silver lining: miniature silver psalter comes to London book fair

13 May 2024

This miniature 17th century psalter in a contemporary pierced and engraved openwork silver binding is priced at £15,000 by Bernard Quaritch at Firsts: London’s Rare Book Fair.

London und Paris

Pick of the week: Gillray in his own time and place

13 May 2024

Remarkably, although a very successful and popular artist, no accounts of the work of the Georgian caricaturist James Gillray (1756-1815) were published in England during his lifetime.

Edward Whymper Books 2643 Webpv 11 05 24

Matterhorn pioneer’s book documenting tragedy peaks at £4000

13 May 2024

Mountaineer’s annotated book of tragic expedition to the Alps fetches 20 times estimate in Buckinghamshire auction


Sponsor’s message: It’s a wonderful world

13 May 2024

Rupert Powell of Forum Auctions reflects on a busy year in the ‘stage-play’ of rare books


Second editions: Worth having second thoughts

13 May 2024

First editions are not always the be-all and end-all for collecting


Shackleton’s farewell from South Georgia

13 May 2024

A letter from Ernest Shackleton to a supporter, written from South Georgia on the eve of his final departure on the Imperial Trans-Antarctic Expedition, was offered at Charles Miller’s (24% buyer’s premium) latest Maritime and Scientific Models, Instruments & Art sale.


For poetical and practical purpose

13 May 2024

Ladies and gentlemen of the Georgian period carried not only prayer books and bibles, but also books of poems and the annual miniature almanacs containing practical information on everything from the phases of the moon to the currency exchange rates of Europe.

British and Irish book auctions, May 14-June 7, 2024

13 May 2024

Our regular listing of books and works on paper sales


Handy little bibles to thumb through

13 May 2024

The first ‘Thumb Bibles’, paraphrased or abridged versions of the good book, were published in the early 17th century – the London printer John Weever offering his 128- page An Agnus Dei, measuring just over 1in, in 1601.


Miniature books: Small is indeed beautiful

13 May 2024

Small books have long been objects of wonder. The history of tiny type can be traced back to the smallest cuneiform clay tablets of ancient Mesopotamia or the diminutive papyrus codices treasured by Christians in Roman Egypt.