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.


Red Harvest, The Man Who Knew Too Much and Death on the Nile

12 March 2001

UK: THREE more selections from the Ronald Segal library which was auctioned off in Sotheby’s English Literature & History sale held on December 19.

The Dorothy L. Sayers Archive

12 March 2001

UK: DOROTHY L. SAYERS, with the able assistance of Lord Peter Wimsey, established herself as one of the foremost figures in what is now termed the ‘Golden Age’ of detective stories, but she was also a remarkably versatile and wide-ranging playwright, a Christian thinker, an essayist and translator, and an accomplished scholar in the field of European medieval literature.

Alexandre Iacovleff’s Dessins et Peintures d’Afrique

26 February 2001

UK: ONE of 50 coloured illustrations from Alexandre Iacovleff’s Dessins et Peintures d’Afrique of 1927, which sold for £800. One of 100 copies, it comprised a text volume in leather-backed satin covers painted with an African design and a pigskin portfolio containing the loose plates.

Henri II makes his bookmark

26 February 2001

FRANCE: A SET of 56 folio engraved plates by the Renaissance draughtsman and engraver Jacques Androuet du Cerceau (Paris c.1560), showing various Renaissance furniture designs ranging from buffets and tables to wardrobes and beds, below right, tripled hopes on Fr70,000 (£6800) in Chartres on January 21.

Broadcast bid for Seven Pillars…

26 February 2001

UK: THE copy of T.E. Lawrence’s Seven Pillars of Wisdom offered by Lyon & Turnbull of Edinburgh on February 17 was one of the 170 or so signed, “complete” copies of the privately printed, subscribers’ edition of 1926 and in the original brown morocco binding, illustrated here.

Job lots with a difference

26 February 2001

UK: GETTING on for 100 lots in the Phillips sale of February 16 comprised books from one private English collection that were characterised by smart and expensive bindings. Job lots were common but I have illustrated one lot that contained just two books, on a related theme and in matching bindings, and have picked out a few others that presented only one or two of the more valuable books each, but which were unfortunately not to be found among the composite illustrations used in the catalogue.

Dracula’s issue and more Hobbits found in New Bond Street

26 February 2001

UK: THE FIRST Phillips sale of the year gets a largely pictorial treatment here, but not everything that I selected for report was illustrated in the catalogue and a number of other highlights are described elsewhere (see "Job lots with a difference", above).

Via Crucis

26 February 2001

UK: ONE of the scarcer plate collections in the Phillips sale was Via Crucis, novellamente eretta nell’ Atrio del Santissimo Crocifisso della chiesa parochiale, e collegiata di S.Polo. Engraved throughout, this small quarto Venetian volume of c.1780 comprises 16 full-page illustrations of the Stations of the Cross by Leonardis after Giovanni Domenico Tiepolo, plus 29 pages of text.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

Poems monthly, or fanciful and nautical

19 February 2001

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

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...”

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.

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.

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