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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.

Poems monthly, or fanciful and nautical

19 February 2001

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

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...”

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.

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”.

The Mirabilia Romae... makes a rare appearance

11 September 2000

The William Foyle Library Pt. II sale at Christie’s, London last week revealed a copy of one of the rarest of all blockbooks.

Worldbookdealers.com

15 November 1999

LAUNCHED this week on the internet Worldbookdealers.com is a new concept in buying rare books and has the backing of many of the world’s top antiquarian booksellers.

Some confusion over The People’s Rights but no second chance at a bargain

26 April 1999

UK: Illustrated here is The People’s Rights, a copy of Winston Churchill’s 1910 book which has made two appearances at the Aylsham salerooms of G.A. Key in recent months – with very different results.

A provenance of no distinction

12 April 1999

US Round-Up (February-March Pt.II) THE FIRST 350 lots of the February 15-16 sale held by Pacific Auction Galleries comprised books from the library of the Zamorano Club, a society of book lovers, founded in 1928, which takes its name from the first known printer in California, Augustin Vicente Zamorano, who set up a press in Monterey in 1834.

Love is not quite enough for private press books

05 April 1999

UK: PRINCIPAL FOCUS of attention at this auction was the range of private press, limited edition and other modern illustrated books on offer.

Kaempfer and Titsingh offer posthumously published revelations of Japan through Western eyes

05 April 1999

UK: THE Christie’s South Kensington sale of March 19 fielded no fewer than three copies of the book that was the main source of western knowledge of Japan in the 18th century, the two-volume History of Japan... written by Englebert Kaempfer.

Romeyn was more than a chip off the old block

30 March 1999

UK: A contemporary reviewer described a multi-volume study of The American Woods by Romeyn Beck Hough as “one of the most marvellous and instructive books ever made”, but this accolade seems something of an understatement when one considers that this work and a spin-off (or should that be sawn-off) companion work on ...Commercial Woods were illustrated with actual specimens of over 300 species!

Newton the third (and second)

30 March 1999

UK: DESPITE the irritation of losing contact with a US telephone bidder on the way, the auctioneers managed to secure a bid of £3500 from Arden on the principal colour plate lot in the sale – a six volume, second series set of J-J.Linden’s Iconographie des Orchidées of 1895-1900, presenting 273 chromolitho plates.

Reprints are a Way to Wealth

30 March 1999

UK: TOP LOT in this sale was a 1668 edition of Gervase Markham’s A Way to get Wealth, a ‘nonce’ collection, first issued in 1623, which incorporates half a dozen works by this important but prolific and commercially inventive writer on agriculture, who was not averse to putting different titles to what were essentially the same works or to re-issuing unsold copies of new books under new titles.

Redouté means money in the language of flowers

30 March 1999

US: A ‘FINE & RARE’ sale held by Pacific Book Auctions on February 25 saw strong bidding for botanical plate collections, with a very rare first edition of Description des plantes nouvelles et peu connues, cultivés dans le jardin de J.M.Cels selling at $22,500 (£13,390).