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The oldest of them was a 1561 Paris printing which, despite measuring just 4in x 2in (10 x 5cm), packs in some 200 woodcut illustrations. In a full red morocco gilt binding of the 19th century, this copy sold at $750 (£395), while a typographical showpiece, a Fabulae graecae, latine conversae issued in 1800 from the Bodoni Press in Parma and bound in full calf of the period, made $2750 (£1455), but the most expensive of the group was the extra-illustrated copy of Bewick’s first Aesop seen right, at $4250 (£2250).

A signed, limited edition copy in pictorial buckram of the 1909, Detmold illustrated version of Aesop sold at $1200 (£635), as did a 1936 interpretation by Stephen Gooden with engraved title and 11 plates, uncut in full vellum gilt.

An ink and watercolour drawing, made during the winter of 1861 on Isaac Israel Hayes’ expedition of the North Pole, made $2500 (£1325) and other highlights of the California sale included a 1755 Johnson Dictionary, the two vols. showing some repair and restoration, which sold at $11,000 (£5830); an 1850 first of Nathaniel Hawthorne’s The Scarlet Letter, recased but generally good and signed by Joseph Buckingham, a literary editor and early supporter of the writer, at $3500 (£1855), and the first vol. only of the 1840 octavo edition of Audubon’s Birds of America, at $6000 (£3180).