Books and Works on Paper


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Distinguished musical group tunes up in London auction

20 November 2017

Musical manuscripts, letters and photographs of composers offered at Sotheby’s (25/20/12.5% buyer’s premium) on October 26 comprised the first part only of what was described as “a distinguished private collection” of books that is to be dispersed next year.

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Cocktail recipes go into the sale mix

20 November 2017

It looks very tatty, but the dust jacket shown below is apparently a rare variant featuring a classic 1937 design by Alex Jardine for a 1927 first ‘Coronation’ edition of the Café Royal Cocktail Book.

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Here be monsters… and an early view of Iceland

20 November 2017

Featuring both real and mythical creatures, including a monstrous selection of denizens of the deep, this map of Iceland with its mountains, fjords, rivers, glaciers and a volcano is one of the more famous found in Ortelius’ Theatrum orbis terrarum.

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BOOKS AND WORKS ON PAPER: A botanical collection grown over decades

13 November 2017

A botanical collection formed over several decades by DF Allen of Washington DC and sold on October 26 by Sotheby’s New York (25/20/12.5% buyer’s premium) was small in numbers but focused on the exceptional.

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Holme truths about costly heraldic work

13 November 2017

Earlier works in an October 18 sale held by Cheffins (22.5% buyer’s premium) included a scarce 1688 first of Randle Holme’s The Academy of Armory, or a Storehouse of Armory and Blazon, an heraldic work by the third member of a distinguished Chester family of heraldic painters and genealogists to bear that name. It made £1200.

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The revolution may well be televised

13 November 2017

A brief letter of 1864 in which Ulysses S Grant agrees to General William T Sherman’s ‘March to the Sea’, a bold plan to destroy Atlanta, then march across Georgia to Savannah or Charleston during the American Civil War, sold for $100,000 (£75,755) on October 19, at Heritage Auctions (25/20/12% buyer’s premium) in Dallas.

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Long voyage ends in Edinburgh

06 November 2017

Dated by the Edinburgh auctioneers to c.1815-17, a group of watercolours made on a voyage to the Middle and Far East was bid to a far higher than expected £13,000 in a 650-lot Lyon & Turnbull (25/20% buyer’s premium) sale of October 11.

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Greek Herodotus, Italian treatise and Alpine peaks

06 November 2017

The October 17 Swann Galleries (25/20/12% buyer’s premium) sale focused largely on early printed medical, scientific and travel books but also included, at $24,000 (£18,180), a first edition in Greek of the works of Herodotus.

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For the armchair globetrotter

06 November 2017

Dating from 1812, this pair of terrestrial and celestial library globes of 12in (31cm) diameter was made by the well-known London firm of John & William Cary.

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Hobby-horses go helter-skelter with no brakes

06 November 2017

Published by Ackermann in 1819 in its ‘Repository of the Arts’ journal, Four & Twenty Hobby-Horses All of a Row is an amusing coloured aquatint, accompanied by verses (by one L Harrison) that begin “Hobby’s the word, and onward sliding, All London Town is set a-riding:”.

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Actresses Hepburn and Leigh star in saleroom

30 October 2017

Two sales that dispersed the personal effects of famous film stars, Audrey Hepburn and Vivien Leigh, marked the start of the new London auction season – and scripts, letters and books featured in both.

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Shelley signature competes with rare sci-fi and fantasy

30 October 2017

Science, fantasy and horror was the principal theme of a PBA Galleries (20/15% buyer’s premium) sale of October 5, though there were also books to appeal to broader literary tastes.

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Library touched by the hand of Dod

30 October 2017

Edge Hall, near Malpas in Cheshire, has been a home to members of the Dod family since the reign of Henry II, but the library – sold by Forum Auctions (25/20% buyer’s premium) on October 12 – was formed in the 19th century and is typical of country house libraries.

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Golf and cricket score at auction

30 October 2017

Golf tournament programmes in Mullock’s (19% buyer’s premium) sale of golf and other sporting memorabilia of October 18-19 included the one shown here, issued for the 1933 Ryder Cup, played on the Southport and Ainsdale courses in 1937.

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Sims’ Psalmes answer saleroom prayers

23 October 2017

Printed in 1606 by Valentine Sims of London and in a contemporary limp vellum binding with gilt armorials to the covers, the little 12mo volume shown above combines …the Kings Psalmes with The Queen’s Prayers of Meditations.

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Virginia and Vanessa joint production is dust the thing

23 October 2017

A copy of the 1925, Hogarth Press first of Virginia Woolf’s Mrs Dalloway attracted a great deal of competition in a Cotswold Auction Company (20% buyer’s premium) sale of October 3 and finally sold at £18,000.

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Book sale surprises spring up in the north and south

23 October 2017

Sales held on consecutive days in Edinburgh and London produced two lots that ended up selling for far, far higher than expected sums.

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Early printed works measure up

23 October 2017

The celebrated Columbus letter announcing his discovery of a New World, sold for $620,000 (£462,000), was very much the star turn at Bonhams New York (25/20/12% buyer’s premium) on September 26 (see ATG No 2313).

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Further journeys worldwide via the Bonham library

16 October 2017

Last week’s first report on the fine travel library of John and Suzanne Bonham at Sotheby’s (25/20/12.5% buyer’s premium) focused on the Middle East, India, Central Asia and the Far East. This second selection begins with an African discovery and ends at the South Pole.

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Warblers, hummers and hunters at auction

16 October 2017

Pictures, prints and taxidermic displays accounted for the larger part of the Ornithology Sale held by Keys (17.5% buyer’s premium) on September 22, but it also offered some 175 book lots, many of them multiples.

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