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.


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Estimate €5000, sold for €6.4m: Lost folios of Chinese encyclopedia surface in Paris

13 July 2020

Two lost folios from the 'Yongle Dadian', the Ming dynasty encyclopaedia that has assumed national treasure status in China, surfaced for sale in Paris last week.

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‘First signature’ tablet hits the £140,000 mark at Bloomsbury Auctions

13 July 2020

A US collector is the new owner of a 5000-year-old tablet that contains the earliest-known record of any personal name in history.

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Portrait plays second fiddle to map with famous Blaeu name

13 July 2020

Bearing an estimate of just €100-150, a double-sided lot in a big Dutch sale attracted great international interest and ended up selling at €32,500 (£29,120).

British and Irish book auctions: July 14-29, 2020

13 July 2020

ATG’s calendar of book auctions taking place in the UK and Ireland from July 14-29, 2020.

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Kipling first edition equals auction record thanks to author’s signature

13 July 2020

The gilt decorated blue cloth binding showed signs of age, but a copy of Rudyard Kipling’s 'Captains Courageous, A Story of the Grand Banks' offered in a Philadelphia sale bore the author’s signature on the title-page.

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Texas located for the third time

13 July 2020

Rare early map of the region from three years before the Alamo has another saleroom outing

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A chance to buy a piece of vaccine history – Edward Jenner’s innoculation book comes to auction

09 July 2020

Vaccinations are high on the agenda at the moment as the world searches for immunisation against the coronavirus.

British and Irish book auctions: July 7-23, 2020

06 July 2020

ATG’s calendar of book auctions taking place in the UK and Ireland from July 7-23, 2020.

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5 Questions: bookseller John Martin of Mayfly Ephemera

06 July 2020

Dealer John Martin runs Mayfly Ephemera. Available via ebay and on the Provincial Booksellers Fairs Association (PBFA) website.

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Album of watercolours sold for £52,000 shows view of sailors greeting friendly natives

06 July 2020

Presenting some 434 lots and with a total not far short of £1m, a recent sale held by Forum Auctions (25/20/12% buyer’s premium) included a rich enough string of successes to outshine a few of the more highly valued lots left unsold.

British and Irish book auctions: June 30-July 17, 2020

29 June 2020

Our regular listing of British and Irish book sales.

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Winter auction goes supersize

29 June 2020

South Cerney sale of nearly 900 lots mirrors the huge offerings held in Germany

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Early French books of hours on top as Paris reopens

29 June 2020

The Paris auction centre Drouot opened its doors again last month in France following the lockdown.

Nobel Prize and bindings combine to impress

29 June 2020

Christie’s (25/20/13.5% buyer’s premium) recent sale in Paris of books and manuscripts was led at €125,000 (£113,635) by a Nobel Prize for Literature medal awarded in 1947, just four years before his death, to the essayist, critic, novelist and dramatist André Gide.

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Inscribed first edition of Harry Potter and The Philosopher’s Stone makes £100,000

22 June 2020

One of the few first-edition copies of 'Harry Potter and The Philosopher’s Stone' inscribed and signed by JK Rowling has sold at Lyon & Turnbull in Edinburgh for £100,000 (plus 25% premium).

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5 Questions: Simon Beattie

22 June 2020

Simon Beattie specialises in European cultural history, with interests in cross-cultural material and the history of decorated paper. He is also the founder of Facebook group We Love Endpapers, which has 5000 members.

Travel account of early US sells for many times estimate

22 June 2020

An account of travels in Indian territories in the early 19th century was one of two letters of particular North American interest sold for notably higher than expected sums by Forum (25/20/12% buyer’s premium).

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Bidding contest for Nelson letter from HMS Victory and medal group from Battle of the Nile

22 June 2020

A signed memorandum letter sent by Nelson from HMS Victory to one of his captains sold for a mid-estimate £3200 at a recent TW Gaze (18% buyer’s premium) auction in Diss in Norfolk.

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British voyages and a letter from Churchill star at Sotheby's

22 June 2020

The two most expensive lots in an online London books sale of just 100 lots could hardly have been more different.

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JK Rowling's children's classic dumped in a skip, now £33,000

22 June 2020

Harry Potter first deemed too scruffy by a public library brings a spellbinding result

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