Sotheby's

Sotheby’s have been holding auctions since 1744.  Founded in London, where they moved into salerooms on Bond Street in 1917, Sotheby’s expanded to New York in 1955 and now have salerooms and offices around the world.

Sotheby’s offer specialist sales in over 70 different categories though four major salerooms, six smaller ones and through their online bidding platform BIDnow.


Systême des animaux... and Campi Phlegraei...

26 March 2001

Interleaved throughout with blank leaves, 19 of which bear the author’s annotations, this is Jean Baptiste Lamarck’s own copy of his landmark work on the evolution of species, an 1801 first of Systême des animaux sans vertèbres, ou tableau général des classes, des ordres et des genre de ces animaux in a contemporary binding.

Locke’s Essay Concerning Humane Understanding

26 March 2001

A 1690 first of Locke’s Essay Concerning Humane Understanding, bound in contemporary English mottled calf gilt and formerly in Sir Isaac Newton’s library, that reached $190,000 (£131,035) was acquired by Freilich at the Haskell F. Norman sales of 1998, when the price was $200,000.

Tractado de las drogas, y medecinas de las Indias orientales...

26 March 2001

Tractado de las drogas, y medecinas de las Indias orientales..., published in Burgos in 1578 and here seen in a later 16th Spanish goatskin binding (dated 1593 in a lettered cartouche to the fore-edge) bearing the gilt stamped arms of the Marques de Moya, is nominally the work of Cristóbal de Acosta, a Portuguese soldier and physician, but in his woodcut-illustrated book on drugs and the medicinal plants of Asia he readily admits his debt to the work of García da Orta, a Lisbon physician.

Ramelli’s Le Diverse et artificiose machine ...

26 March 2001

One of 194 full-page engraved plates from a 1588 first of Ramelli’s Le Diverse et artificiose machine..., a study of the science and technology of machines in the Renaissance and one of the more famous illustrated books of the 16th century.

Carolus Linnaeus’ Systema naturae...

26 March 2001

Pictured here is the title page of one of the more important publications in the history of science – Carolus Linnaeus’ Systema naturae... of 1735, which laid the groundwork for the systematic classification of plants and animals.

Hevelius’ Selenographia...

26 March 2001

Sold at $75,000 (£51,725), at the Freilich sale which took place at Sotheby’s New York on January 10 and 11, was a superb copy of the first complete lunar atlas, Hevelius’ Selenographia... of 1647.

Histoire naturelle ... Règne Minéral

26 March 2001

One of eight colour printed and hand-finished plates from the only known copy of a work that Fabien Gautier D’Agoty issued in 1777, apparently as a prospectus for his Histoire naturelle ... Règne Minéral.

‘Lost’ Michelangelo – appeal fund launched with £1/2m gift

19 March 2001

UK: A ‘LOST’ drawing by Michelangelo could be saved for the nation if a £7.5m appeal, launched this week, succeeds.

Aldine editio princeps of the works of Aristotle

19 March 2001

US: BOUND in late 17th century French red morocco gilt, this is the five-volume Aldine editio princeps of the works of Aristotle, the 1497-98 first edition in Greek and, in the amount of research and editing that went into its creation, let alone the fine typography, the greatest printing project of the 15th century.

Charlotte Brontë’s Jane Eyre

19 March 2001

UK: IN THE original greyish purple ribbed and blind-stamped cloth bindings, this 1847 first edition of Charlotte Brontë’s Jane Eyre brought a bid of £30,000 from an American dealer, who may or may not have been that same, un-named West Coast dealer who bought some of the Jane Austens described above, and who also paid £7000 for a three vol. 1853 first of Charlotte’s Villette in the original greyish-olive morocco cloth.

The Prince of Wales’s fine blow for a fine bow

19 March 2001

This 91/2in (24cm) long silver bugle was conceived not as a musical instrument but for quite a different purpose – as a prize for archery and is fascinating for the insight it gives us into a late 18th century revival of the skill.

Jane Austen’s Northanger Abbey, Persuasion and Emma

19 March 2001

UK: IN THE original grey-brown paper boards with printed paper labels on the spines, these first edition copies of Jane Austen’s Northanger Abbey and Persuasion, four vols. 1818, and Emma, three vols. 1816, sold at £19,000 and £22,000 respectively to an un-named US dealer.

The Inheritors and A Dance to the Music of Time

19 March 2001

Illustrated here are two more selections from Sotheby's English Literature & History sale held on December 14.

Sotheby’s first to show pain of fines

19 March 2001

Christie’s report record sales as rivals lose market share

Mrs Henry Wood’s East Lynne

19 March 2001

UK: THIS elaborately gilt violet cloth binding on an 1861 first edition of Mrs Henry Wood’s East Lynne was identified by Sotheby’s as Carter’s B ‘Presentation Binding’ but their view on the value of this copy – which had all edges gilt but was fragile at the hinges and partially split in Vol. III – was a modest £600-800.

Nibbling at Defoe’s verse…

19 March 2001

UK: WRITTEN in Daniel Defoe’s characteristically neat hand, this is one of only nine recorded examples of his autograph verse, and though small creatures have nibbled into this copy of his poem, Of resignation, seven of those other verse specimens are in the celebrated Defoe notebook in the Huntington Library and the other is in the Portland Collection at the University of Nottingham, leaving this as the only example still in private hands.

More from the Ronald Segal Collection

19 March 2001

UK: ILLUSTRATED here are three more selections from the recent sale of the Ronald Segal Collection at Sotheby's English Literature & History sale held on December 14.

Red Harvest, The Man Who Knew Too Much and Death on the Nile

12 March 2001

UK: THREE more selections from the Ronald Segal library which was auctioned off in Sotheby’s English Literature & History sale held on December 19.

The Informer and The Invisible Man

12 March 2001

UK: TWO more selections from the Ronald Segal library which was auctioned off in Sotheby’s English Literature & History sale held on December 19.

From Romney Pringle to Morse – detectives are right on the case

12 March 2001

UK: THREE more selections from the Ronald Segal library which was auctioned off in Sotheby’s English Literature & History sale held on December 19.

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