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.

Angling instructions and confessions...

01 April 2004

THE first day of the March 13-14 angling sale held by Mullock Madeley at Ludlow Racecourse was devoted to the literature of the sport. Seen right is one of two complete runs of The Creel from the years 1963-67 that sold at £200 and £210. A set of all bar one of the ...How to Catch Them series, all in dust jackets and all bar the Pike book first editions, sold at £460.

Man and Ape

01 April 2004

Edward Tyson’s Orang-outang, sive homo sylvestris: Or, the anatomy of a pygmiecompared with that of a monkey, an ape, and a man... was the first work to demonstrate scientifically the structural relationships between man and anthropoid ape and one which had a powerful influence on subsequent thoughts on man’s place in nature – albeit the orang-outang on which his work was based was actually a young chimpanzee.


31 March 2004

A letter written and signed by Jean Harlow, which reveals an unexpectedly sensitive side to Hollywood’s original Blonde Bombshell, will go on sale at Byrne’s of Chester on Wednesday (March 31).

Wynkyn de Worde’s indulgence and Thomas Bewick’s extra illustrations ...

23 March 2004

THE rarest and probably the earliest piece of printing in a February 26 sale held by Pacific Book Auctions of San Francisco, the papal indulgence from Wynkyn de Worde’s press seen right, was bid to $13,000 (£6890), but there were some other early items in the collection of editions of Aesop’s Fables formed by the late Dr Margaret Rose Quentin that opened the auction.

Binding for Columbus

23 March 2004

JUST two of the 600 or so lots that made up a March 2 sale of books and prints held by John Nicholson of Fernhurst, Surrey, managed four figure bids – a binding and a postcard album.

The mysterious case of the lost archive…

23 March 2004

IT could have come straight out of one of the author’s own stories – a lost archive of unique material valued at two million pounds uncovered in the offices of a London law firm after being missing for decades.

Scottsboro Boys, Fancies and Abbey Fisher’s pickles

23 March 2004

A PORTRAIT of two of the ‘Scottsboro Boys’, illustrated right, topped this year’s sale of African-Americana at Swann’s when it was knocked down at $36,000 (£19,080). But there was also a bid of $20,000 (£10,600) on a group of 40 letters and telegrams addressed to Dickenson, Hill & Co. and S.R. Fondren, slave dealers of Richmond, Virginia, in the years 1836-62.

Moors banned, Armada planned

16 March 2004

THE SPIRO collection, sold by Christie’s on December 3 included a few letters and documents of Spanish monarchs and a proclamation of July 1501, signed by both Ferdinand V and Isabella, that banned all unconverted Moors from Granada – the last step prior to the final expulsion of the Moors from Spain – was sold for £42,000.

Wittgenstein to Wittgenstein...

16 March 2004

LETTERS from the philosopher Ludwig Wittgenstein to members of his family are rarely seen on the market, but one lot in a Sotheby’s sale of December 9 presented no fewer that 40 letters and postcards addressed to his pianist brother Paul, among them some of the earlier known letters in his hand and, naturally enough, containing much on the subject of music. This lot found a buyer at £42,000.

Rousseau’s Julie ‘Lettre XX1'

16 March 2004

BOUND in red morocco gilt, an autograph draft manuscript of one of the more important letters that make up the narrative of Jean Jacques Rousseau’s Julie, ou La Nouvelle Héloise – Lettre XXI, in which Saint-Preux writes about the women of Paris – was sold for €82,000 (£56,550) as part of the library of King Léopold III and Princess Lilian of Belgium at the Chateau d’Argenteuil near Waterloo. The sale was held by Sotheby’s Paris on December 11.

Oh, I do like to be beside the seaside! (S.T. Coleridge, 1817)

16 March 2004

Signed and inscribed by the poet Samuel Taylor Coleridge, this short poem called ‘Fancy in the Clouds: a Marine Sonnet’ was written on a piece of seaweed and sent to Charles Lamb.

Sun shines on Stuttgart…

09 March 2004

FINE weather helped the 43rd Stuttgart Antiquarian Book Fair welcome around 6000 visitors, up 20 per cent up on 2003, to the city’s Württemberg Kunstverein from January 23-25. The fair, staged by the Verband Deutscher Antiquäre (German Antiquarian Bookdealers’ Association) since 1962, is the largest of its kind in Germany – the 96 exhibitors included dealers from Switzerland, Austria, France, Israel and the UK (Bernard Shapero from London).

A true romance worthy of Cervantes

09 March 2004

SOLD at Sotheby’s (20% buyer’s premium) for £10,500 on December 9 was a copy in modern limp vellum of the Epigrammata of Joan Latinus, a work that praises John of Austria for his recent victory over the Turks at Lepanto.

Titanic: the Channel Crossing

09 March 2004

IN April 1912, Miss Lenox-Conyngham was travelling with three relatives from Southampton to Cherbourg, but though this was just a short channel crossing, she decided that it was worthwhile dashing off a letter to a nephew on the ship’s notepaper.

Irish firsts: the word is heard and a “a terrible beauty is born”

26 February 2004

The title page of Hugh Maccaghwell’s On the Sacrament of Penance which, printed at Louvain in 1618, is recognised as “the first original work by a living author in Irish”. The few works printed in Irish that preceded it were the Bible, liturgical texts or translations of the works of others, but this was one of five works produced in the years 1614-18 at a press operated by the Irish Franciscans at St. Anthony’s in Louvain – the first press to print and promote Irish writing in the vernacular.

A year full of promise on the books front

18 February 2004

2004 is shaping up well for arts publishing, and publishers of books which cover the genre also reported excellent sales last year, particularly in the run-up to Christmas. Here, the Antiques Trade Gazette takes a look at some of the books on offer this year, many of which will be reviewed.

Winning hearts and minds with a Valentine rent-a-sonnet

13 February 2004

FAR from the traditional image of the stuffy bookseller, Mayfair-based Biblion, who deal in antiquarian books and first editions out of Davies Mews, W1, are celebrating St. Valentine’s Day with what can best be described as a sonnet-o-gram.

Book auctions at Grays

09 February 2004

FROM April London will have a new specialist book auctioneer. Biblion is already a major name in the antiquarian book world through the group shop at Grays Antique Market W1, where the stock of over 100 dealers is on offer and their website,, which carries the inventory of 500 booksellers.

RCVS adopt-a-book appeal

02 February 2004

The Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons Trust Library has launched an adopt-a-book appeal fronted by Antiques Roadshow bibliophile Clive Farahar.

Light the blue touch paper and retire for 350 years…

15 January 2004

Sold at $26,000 (£15,570) as part of the $3.82m (£2.28m) sale of the H.P. Kraus inventory held by Sotheby’s New York on December 4 and 5 was a lavishly illustrated manuscript of 1661 dealing with fireworks, ballistic design and construction.