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Ex-Cambridge student jailed for four years over books scam

08 May 2002

A FORMER Cambridge University student who plundered priceless historical book collections, stealing works valued at over £1m, has been jailed for four years.

The Tenniel family sat down to dinner with Alice

03 May 2002

OFFERED as part of a March 28 sale held by Pacific Book Auctions was a set of six porcelain plaques painted by John Tenniel with characters from Alice in Wonderland.

The Surprising Adventures of a Female Husband and other trials

17 April 2002

A section of the Knightsbridge sale concerned with the law was strong on collections of sensational accounts of trials of a sexual nature, some dealing with serious assaults – like the account of a 1786 trial at East Grinstead of ...John Motherhill, for a Rape on the Body of Miss Catherine Wade, daughter of ..the Master of Ceremonies at Brighthelmstone which sold at £440 (Laywood) – others dealing with simple adultery, indiscretion or deception.

Joseph Crawhall – a talent for art and eccentricity

04 April 2002

“Pistol Sir – yes Sir – here you are sir – Revolver – most improved construction – 6 chambers sir – 2 for your wife – 2 for the destroyer of your happiness – 2 for yourself Sir – all the rage Sir – sell hundreds of ’em for bridal presents Sir !!!”....

Just look at him! There he stands, with his nasty hair and hands... Shock-Headed Peter

27 March 2002

The children’s books section of a Bloomsbury Book Auctions sale of March 7 amounted to no more than a dozen lots, but included several good things and a few interesting results.

Sumptuously presented…

27 March 2002

Luxury sets were a feature of the Pacific Book Auctions sale of February 7 and seen left are sample volumes of a 48-volume set of the works of Alexandre Dumas, one of 1000 ‘Editions de Medicis’ sets published in Boston c.1900 and here sumptuously bound in dark green morocco gilt with red inlays to the covers, which reached $13,000 (£9155).

New England for the ‘mind-travelling Reader’

22 March 2002

WILLIAM Wood’s New Englands Prospect..., first published in London in 1634, was intended to “enrich the knowledge of the mind-travelling Reader, or benefit the future Voyager”.

Jane Austen firsts

22 March 2002

A high spot of the Sotheby’s sale of December 12 was a group of Jane Austen firsts in the original boards. Illustrated above right is the former Lady Shelley/Earl Spencer/Jerome Kern copy of her first published novel, Sense and Sensibility of 1811, the blue boards with cream paper spines, which made $70,000 (£49,295).

A Holy Land that suffered and almost disintegrated in an old barn

15 March 2002

THE Roberts Holy Land offered in the 120-lot book section of this Kent sale at Mervyn Carey on 20 February, a six-vol. 1855 quarto edition, had been kept in a barn and had virtually disintegrated over the years.

The Japanese, the Irish and the Australians

22 February 2002

TWO LOTS were bid to £800 in the 150-lot book and map portion of this Hampshire sale on 6 February at George Kidner, which put them some way ahead of most others on the day.

William Fitzpatrick’s 1793 mission to Nepal

22 February 2002

THE COPY of Colonel William Fitzpatrick’s Account of the Kingdom of Nepaul... that sold for £380 in this Somerset sale at Greenslade Taylor Hunt on 13 December was not a great one.

Lawrence and Burton triumph

07 February 2002

THE LAST 450 or so lots of a two-day general antiques sale on 6 December at Cheffins, Cambridge comprised books, many of them multiples.

For Attwood on Edward II – read Hubert

30 January 2002

THOUGH not a first class copy, a 1632 edition offered as part of this first Bath sale of the year at Bonhams was still a highly desirable and scarce item and brought the day’s top bid of £17,000 from Maggs.

Tarzan’s outhouse and Synthetic Men from Mars – an ERB special

16 January 2002

ED GILBERT, a Californian book dealer, became a fan of Edgar Rice Burroughs when he read The Gods of Mars in 1925, aged just 12 years. Shortly thereafter he was introduced to ERB by his elder sister, Florence, who in 1935 became the writer’s wife.

King James Bible in a restoration binding sells for $380,000 in the ‘Perryville’ Doheny auction

16 January 2002

In October 1987, Christie’s embarked on a series of six sales to dispose of the Doheny library, a spectacular series of auctions that ended in May 1989 and raised a grand total of $38m – a sum that remains to this day a record for any library sold at auction.

Court martial that led on to treason

16 January 2002

ONE of only 50 copies of Proceedings of a General Court Martial.... for the Trial of Major General Arnold that came up for sale in a Swanns Americana sale of November 29 was ex-library, bound in later half morocco with assorted stamps and various defects, but this Philadelphia imprint of 1780 is an extremely rare and historically significant item and attracted a lot of interest.

Half of the earliest English nursery rhyme book rates £40,000 in Knightsbridge

14 January 2002

Blackamoor, Taunymoor, Suck a Bubby; Your Father’s a Cuckold, Your Mother told me ....not the most familiar of nursery rhymes, nor indeed one likely to find much favour in the present century, but that rhyme, illustrated right, is only one of 37 found in the second volume of Tom Thumb’s Pretty Song Book, many of which are much more familiar, if not always in quite the same form as we know them now.

Were these bird books special copies given to Coenraad Temminck?

14 January 2002

The bird with the splendid hairdo pictured right is one of five original watercolours, possibly by Madam Knip herself, found in a special copy of Temminck & Knip’s Histoire naturelle des Pigeons of 1801-11 that sold for £30,000 to a private buyer at Christie’s November 28 sale.

Parker & Stalker’s very rare Treatise on Japanning and Varnishing

13 December 2001

The earliest book in English on the subject, and described by H.D. Molesworth in his introduction to a 1960 reprint as “a work of art in its own right... as readily accepted for its literary content as for its technical information”, George Parker and John Stalker’s Treatise of Japanning and Varnishing... was the book that effectively introduced the process to Western craftsmen and one that had, as a consequence, a dramatic effect on decorative styles and fashions.

£80,000 double for T.S. Eliot and Virginia Woolf in the Frederick B. Adams sale

22 November 2001

The Frederick B. Adams Jnr. library of English & American Literature was sold by Sotheby’s on November 6 and 7. The second day was devoted entirely to Adams’ magnificent Thomas Hardy collection, but among the highlights of the general sale was an inscribed presentation copy of the 1923, first English edition of T.S. Eliot’s The Waste Land, illustrated right, that sold at a higher than expected £80,000 to Peter Harrington.