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.


Collection heralds top prices

19 February 2001

UK: A 44-lot collection of books and manuscripts on heraldry was a feature of the January 31 sale held by Dominic Winter.

Poems monthly, or fanciful and nautical

19 February 2001

UK: POETRY was in the air for this first Hay sale of the new year.

Revolutionary freesheets and a note from the King of Siam

19 February 2001

UK: ONE of a group of seven newspapers, plus a printed edict, issued in March 1917, at the outbreak of the Russian revolution, which sold for £400 (Hanson). They were apparently distributed free in the streets of Petrograd and these copies were acquired by Gertrude Hitchcock, who was there working for a British engineering company at the time.

The first Hobbits of the Year?

19 February 2001

UK: THE first serious outbreak of Hobbits of 2001 occurred in Hamptons’ Godalming salerooms on February 15, when a first edition set of J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings, the three volumes of 1955-56 in first issue dust wrappers with some slight discolouration and chipping, sold at £11,000.

Wodehouse's The Pothunters

19 February 2001

UK: SERIALISED in Public School magazine before appearing in book form in 1902, The Pothunters was P.G. Wodehouse’s first book, and this first issue copy in royal blue cloth with silver gilt decoration made £720 (Marchpane) in Swindon.

Dick Francis' Dead Cert

19 February 2001

UK: THE title page had a semi-circular portion excised from the outer margin, but this copy of the 1962 first of Dick Francis’ annual racing thrillers, Dead Cert, had a jacket and it sold for £2050 to Bromlea & Jonkers at Dominic Winter's sale held on January 31.

The Mysteries of Alchemy

19 February 2001

UK: THE English Literature and History sale held by Sotheby’s on December 19 opened in unexpectedly dramatic fashion when an English alchemical manuscript drawn up in 1624 by Leonard Smethley, miraculously transmuted an estimate of £6000-8000 into something just as welcome as the gold or silver that ancient practitioners hoped for – a huge bid of £180,000!

Andy Capp and Roosevelt

19 February 2001

UK: BOOKS were not really the main attraction in this sale, although it did contain a 1795 first edition of John Aikin’s illustrated Description of the Country... round Manchester. This was, however, an ex-library copy that had been rebound and had its share of stamps.

De Villa Dei's Doctrinale and Audubon’s Birds of America...

12 February 2001

US: ALTHOUGH literary manuscripts and first editions of the 19th and 20th centuries rather dominated the Christie’s New York sale of December 14, other areas of the market were represented in the catalogue, and illustrated here is a specimen of Dutch prototypography which sold at $26,000 (£17,930).

Hype raises bidding on Tinseltown and Broadway’s movers, shakers and spoofers

05 February 2001

US: ILLUSTRATED right we have “three great old hardcover books about the early ‘movers and shakers’ of Hollywood’s Silent and Golden Years. Out of print since the years they were published...”

Local man loses head after backing a loser in a ‘wondrous plot’

29 January 2001

UK: A VOLUME containing a dozen reports, tracts and pamphlets relating to the 18th century trial of a local man, Aylsham lawyer Christopher Layer, went to Jarndyce at £400 in this first Aylsham sale of the year.

Don’t mess with Sophocles

29 January 2001

US: THE PIRACY collection mentioned above was not the only sale held by Christie’s East on December 12. Three important Hemingway lots which formed part of a general sale are described below, and in Antiques Trade Gazette No. 1472 I featured works by Ayn Rand, among them two works on Hollywood, published whilst she was still a young woman in Russia, which sold well.

Blyton’s Famous Five give the Shire folk a run for their money

29 January 2001

UK: THE FIRST Tolkiens of 2001 combined to add £11,000 to the takings at this Bath sale.

Creases and stains are no bar to Bounty book hunters

29 January 2001

UK: ONE CHART was very creased and there was a stain on the frontispiece that penetrated to the title page and early leaves, but the copy of Bligh’s Narrative of the Mutiny on [the...] Bounty offered in Carlisle was a tightly bound copy of the 1790 first edition in a contemporary binding of quarter calf and marbled boards, and it sold at £3150.

A must for collectors

29 January 2001

The Catalogue of Silver in the Grosvenor Museum, Chester by Peter Boughton, published by Phillimore & Co, Chichester. Available from the museum on 01244 402008 fax: 01244 347587 or bookshops. ISBN 186077153X £19.95 pb.

Heures de la Vierge manuscript

29 January 2001

FRANCE: THIS Heures de la Vierge manuscript, from Auvergne or the Lyon area (c.1485) fetched Fr215,000 (£20,5000) at Bondu on December 22. This Book of Hours (Use of Rome), 61/2 x 61/2in (17cm x 17cm), had a tired 16th century brown morocco binding but contained 14 full-page paintings influenced by Jean Colombe and artists from Bourges, and many of its 131 leaves (from a probable 135) had decorative borders with flowers, strawberries, fabulous creaturs and acanthus leaves.

Incomparable Catcher... ?

29 January 2001

US: DESCRIBED as “probably as good or better than any copy at auction in the last five years”, a 1951 first of J.D. Salinger’s The Catcher in the Rye, the cloth binding extremely clean and the dust jacket in “nearly superb” condition, made $7500 (£5170) in the December 18 sale held by the Baltimore Book Company.

Albertus Seba’s Locupletissimi rerum naturalium thesauri...

22 January 2001

US: A SCIENTIFIC library formed by New York businessman Joseph A. Frielich was sold by Sotheby’s New York for $10.7m (£7.2m) on January 10-11, 2001, and among many lots that made much higher than predicted sums was a magnificent copy of Albertus Seba’s Locupletissimi rerum naturalium thesauri...

Rare example of printed letter

14 November 2000

Sold at Sotheby’s, London sale (October 12-13) for £6500 was a rare example of a printed version of one of the letters exchanged by Napoleon and the Sherif of Mekkah, Ghalib ibn Musa’id, at the time of the French invasion of Egypt in 1798-99.

The Voyage of H.M.S Beagle edited by Charles Darwin

13 November 2000

UK: The Voyage of H.M.S Beagle is a summary of fauna discovered by Charles Darwin on his travels through the Southern Hemisphere from 1831-6, and became crucial to the formulation of his brutal creed: “survival of the fittest”.

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