1. An early 17th-century English text
As suggested by the gilt tooling to the contemporary full calf binding, this copy of The Custumers Alphabet and Primer of 1608 by Thomas Milles is from the library of Edward Gwynn, a lawyer who formed a major library of 16th and early 17th-century English and Latin texts. He famously owned a volume containing nine Shakespeare quartos bound together, which was sold by the New York dealer Rosenbach to the Folger Library in 1919 for $100,000.
Little is known of Gwynn, but he was probably born c.1590, and entered Middle Temple in November 1610. From 1626 he lived with his close friend Alexander Chorley in a house within the gardens of Furnivall's Inn, off Holborn in London.
Around 200 books from his library have now been traced, including this copy of a The Custumers Alphabet and Primer, a treatise on the ‘Creede or Beliefe in the true Doctrine of Christian Religion’ by a Sandwich customs officer that includes the author's manuscript annotations in brown ink to the text. As part of the private collection of the dealer Martin Orskey (1926-2019) sold by Dominic Winter in South Cerney, near Cirencester on June 26, it was estimated at £2000-3000 but sold to an online bidder at £14,000.
2. A Fijian sperm whale tooth pendant
This 2in (5cm) high sperm whale tooth pendant carved in the form of a human is of a rare type associated with the Fiji Islands. A seemingly unique Fijian necklace (presented to Lady Gordon around 1875-80) survives in the Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology at the University of Cambridge composed of multiple similar figurines and pendants. All share the same distinctive features and are pierced through on the back of their heads for suspension.
This example, of uncertain date, emerged for sale at Gorringe’s of Lewes on June 25 where, against an estimate of £800-1000, it sold via thesaleroom.com at £11,000. It could yet prove a bargain. A figure of this type was sold by Bonhams in Los Angeles last year for $200,000.
3. A 19th century French bone maritime diorama
This early 19th century French bone maritime diorama is finely carved with a three-masted gunship. Offered in 10in (25cm) gilt composition frame, it took an unexpected £0000 at Toovey’s of Washington, West Sussex on June 21. It sold to an online bidder well above the £80-120 guide.
4. An Italian gilt bronze mounted pietra dura and ebonised casket
This Italian gilt bronze mounted pietra dura and ebonised casket is of a type typically associated with the Grand Ducal workshops in Florence. It measures 12in (30cm) wide – the three-dimensional carved fruit against a lapis lazuli ground typical subjects of the period c.1720.
At Charterhouse in Sherborne on June 20 it sold within estimate to an online bidder at £18,000.
5. A Gien pottery faience charger
This 18in (45cm) Gien pottery faience charger sold for an unexpected £1150 (estimate £40-60) at David Lay of Penzance on June 20. Key to its appeal was the signature Gauffre for the highly-regarded late 19th century factory artist Léon Gauffre, for whom this bucolic landscape scene populated by figures and livestock was a typical subject.