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.


The Sign of Four

09 April 2001

The contents and joints are loose and the upper hinge is nearly detached, but the maroon cloth gilt binding of this 1890 first issue of what was only Conan Doyle’s second Sherlock Holmes story, The Sign of Four, are pretty good and this copy sold at Dominic Winter for £3000 to Bromlea & Jonkers.

Before you buy – know your geography and politics

09 April 2001

UK: ANYONE thinking of doing a deal on a Turkish picture in the next few weeks would have been well advised to have kept an eye on Bonhams & Brooks (10/15 per cent buyer’s premium) March 28 Topographical & American Pictures Sale.

Eugène Gayot’s Atlas statistique ... of 1850

09 April 2001

Eugène Gayot’s Atlas statistique de la production des chevaux en France. Documents pour servir a l’histoire naturelle-agricolle des race de chevalliers du pays of 1850 contains 27 coloured maps and 31 litho plates of horses, mostly with two views.

The Countesse of Pembroke’s Arcadia – the first public reading

09 April 2001

UK: OFFERED at Phillips on March 30 was the former Houghton copy of the 1590 first edition of The Countesse of Pembroke’s Arcadia.

Koster's Travels in Brazil

09 April 2001

UK: ONE of eight coloured aquatints, plus map and plan, from an 1816 first edition of Travels in Brazil by Henry Koster, who first went to Brazil in 1809, hoping that a change of climate might alleviate his TB, and eventually settled to the life of a sugar planter at Jaguaribe, near Recife in Pernambuco, where he died in 1820.

Sheldrake’s ... Herbal of Medicinal Plants

09 April 2001

Timothy Sheldrake’s ... Herbal of Medicinal Plants is often found without a title and with fewer than the 118 plates by C.H. Emmerich after Sheldrake called for, but they have great appeal and the Phillips copy, a first issue of c.1759 with 111 coloured plates, made £5500 at Bonhams.

1925 Golden Cockerel edition of Songs... by Robert Burns

09 April 2001

UK: INSET with a portrait miniature, this 1925 Golden Cockerel edition of Songs... by Robert Burns, illustrated with wood engravings by Mabel Annesley and bound in Cosway style in red morocco gilt by Bayntun Rivière, was sold at Bonhams (Buyer’s premium:15/10 per cent) at £1400 (Pirouages).

First edition of Greenville Collins’ Great-Britain’s Coasting Pilot...

09 April 2001

The Scillies in one of 49 engraved charts from a 1753 first edition of Greenville Collins’ Great-Britain’s Coasting Pilot... which made £4000 at Bonhams.

1858 first issue of Coral Island

09 April 2001

UK: AS well as a quantity of letters, journals and sketch albums written or compiled by R.M. Ballantyne – among them an album containing sketches made on excursions to Scotland and fishing trips to Norway in the 1850s, which sold at £1000 to David Miles – the Bonhams (Buyer’s premium: 15/10 per cent) sale contained an 1858 first issue of Coral Island, the publisher’s decorative blue cloth binding slightly worn but generally good, which made £4000 (Heritage).

Elegy on Captain Cook

02 April 2001

US: IT MAY be 25 years since a copy of the Elegy on Captain Cook, as “composed and and publickly recited before the Royal Academy of Florence” by Michelangelo Gianetti, was last seen at auction, and this 1785 Florentine first edition, engraved throughout and bound in contemporary calf, would also appear to be the dedication copy.

Night Thoughts and a word or two on Grog

02 April 2001

UK: THE PRINTED word and picture, rather than the familiar manuscript and ephemeral material, were to the fore in this smaller than usual Chichester sale, and just edging to the front of the price lists was a copy of the famous 1797 edition of Young’s ...Night Thoughts, as illustrated by William Blake.

Thomas Hardy and A Pair of Blue Eyes

02 April 2001

UK: JUST TO prove that “one can get a better... deal from the smaller boys”, John Cranwell, who trades in Oswestry as Bookworld and puts together two auctions a year for the local auctioneers, rang every Thomas Hardy specialist he could find in Sheppard's directory prior to this sale – determined that no-one with a declared interest should be unaware of the fact that a copy of Hardy’s third novel, A Pair of Blue Eyes, was to be offered in this 400-lot sale at the town’s Wynnstay Hotel.

Unfancied racehorses?

02 April 2001

THE BOOK section of this Worcester sale contained a good many equestrian titles, and while several seemed to be fairly modern and were job-lotted, what appears to have been the most important of these horse books was tacked onto a lot that led with an 1830 History of the Hundred of Carhampton in the County of Somerset by James Savage, and “three other books”.

Wodehouse collection

02 April 2001

The Bonhams Knightsbridge sale (see above, Henty – the great adventure begins with A Secret for Success) also included a P.G. Wodehouse collection (from a different source) and among the more successful of those lots were these two shown here.

Henty – the great adventure begins with A Secret for Success

02 April 2001

UK: G.A. HENTY fans, trade and private, gathered at Bonhams (Buyer’s premium: 15/10 per cent) on March 13 for the disposal of a superb collection of his many books.

Kipling makes an exceedingly good showing

02 April 2001

UK: THE FINAL LOT in this Sussex sale of books from a Scottish estate, ‘Hallrule’, was a 35-volume ‘Sussex’ edition of the works of Rudyard Kipling. One of the 525 sets issued in 1937-39, it was signed and, according to the catalogue, “full bound”. It reached £10,500.

Leonhard Fuch’s De Historia Stirpium...

02 April 2001

UK: LEONHARD Fuch’s De Historia Stirpium..., first issued in Basel in 1542, contains over 500 full-page botanical woodcuts, one shown bottom right, but while it is not unusual to find a portrait of the author in any book, this work also contains portraits of the artists, Heinrich Füllmaurer and Albert Meyer, and the man who made the woodblocks from their originals, Veit Rudolphe Speckle.

Euclid’s Elementa

26 March 2001

In a beautifully preserved contemporary, and possibly Austrian binding of blind-stamped calf with brass fittings, this copy of Erhard Ratdolt’s 1482, first printing of Euclid’s Elementa, shows some slight waterstaining to the lower margins, but it remains one of the largest and freshest copies in existence – taller than even the Doheny, Honeyman-Garden and Haskell F. Norman copies.

Thucydides and a King James Bible

26 March 2001

A superb example of “the quintessential Italian Renaissance book”, a 1545 first of the first Italian translation of Thucydides in a fine Apollo & Pegasus binding made for the famous library of G.B. Grimaldi – a collection of some 200 key works formed under the supervision of the Roman humanist Tolomei. It sold for $140,000 (£96,550).

Probier Buchlein... and Bergwerk...

26 March 2001

The former Honeyman copy of the Probier Buchlein... and Bergwerk..., two rare booklets on assaying dated 1524 and ’33 (the latter with two leaves in photocopy) produced one of the shock results of Haskell F. Norman sale in 1998 when it made $80,000 – 20 times the estimate.

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