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Elsewhere in the catalogue, an unorthodox and incomplete assemblage in a dozen vols. of Donovan’s Natural History of British Insects of 1813, plates from Curtis’ British Entomology and J.F. Stephen’s Illustrations of British Entomology, produced a bid of £1900.

Travel books included copies of the 1854, two-vol., first English edition of C.W.M. Van de Velde’s ...Journey through Syria and Palestine, a journey that provided the material for his more famous illustrated work on Le Pays d’Israel, and J[ames] Hamilton’s Sinai, the Hedjaz and Soudan of 1857, which sold at £650 and £780. Both were in slightly soiled original cloth.

A copy of Richard Burton’s First Footsteps in East Africa was an 1856 first, but the cloth binding was mildewed and soiled and the dampstained lower board was crumbling away altogether. Ripe for restoration and rebinding, it sold for £900.

Eight of the dozen coloured engraved plates that illustrate Albanis de Beaumont’s Voyage pittoresque aux Alpes Pennines were mounted, one was split at the platemark and another cropped.

Nevertheless, in a soiled and worn binding of contemporary half calf, this Geneva edition, dated 1787 but with seven plates bearing a 1791 imprint, sold at £1150.

Earlier books included a four-vol. 1572 Paris edition of Froissart’s Histoire et chronique... in rebacked and repaired contemporary calf, at £520; a 1579 translation (from the French) by Geoffrey Fenton of Guiccardini’s history of ...Warres of Italie and other Partes, in worn contemporay calf, which sold at £480, and a 1598, first English edition of De Serres & Matthieu’s Historical Collection of the most memorable Accidents and Tragicall Massacres of France, in a defective 19th century binding of half calf, that reached £550.

Inscribed “To Simon, which is what my parents were going to call me if I was a boy, J.K. Rowling”, a presentation first of Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, 1998, was sold at £950.

Just for once, it was not the pride of Hogwarts who got all the media publicity. In this sale it was a collection of letters, birthday and Christmas cards, presents and other memorabilia from the estate of the late Sergeant Ronald Lewis, who served the royal family for 29 years – principally working with Prince Charles and Diana.

A Valentine inscribed “...Not many men will receive a Valentine’s card from Princess Diana... and you’re one of them!!!” was the top lot at £2000, while a ‘silver clad” apple below, a present from Diana that followed her first solo visit to New York, made £1700. It is engraved with a crowned D above the date 1st-3rd February, 1989.