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In a smart later binding of three-quarter morocco, three October issues of the weekly Mechanics Magazine… from 1829 brought a bid of £400 in the January 21 sale.

The engraved illustrations featured on the front covers of those issues show some of the engines that competed in the Rainhill Trials in Lancashire, a competition to win the contract to produce locomotives for the Liverpool & Manchester Railway.

This was an event that also saw the first fatal railway accident, when one of the dignitaries present, William Huskisson, MP for Liverpool, was hit by one of the locomotives.

The cover of the October 24 issue, above right, shows the eventual winner, the Rocket, the only one of the five entrants to complete the trials. The Rocket achieved a top speed of 30mph and an average of 12mph hauling 13 tons.

Chapman Dendy Marshall, in his Centenary History of the Liverpool and Manchester Railway (1930) states that the Mechanics Magazine engraving is “the earliest known illustration” of the Rocket.

More Shropshire highlights

At £3400, the most expensive lot in the same sale was one that offered a large collection of 1960s comics, among them a 1960 first issue of DC Comics’ Green Lantern, which would have accounted for most of the lot’s appeal.

They had been found in a suitcase on top of a wardrobe by the vendor in a local home. Sold at £200 was a 1950 first of Elizabeth David’s A Book of Mediterranean Food in an unclipped dust jacket, but with an earlier owner’s index notes in ink on the final blank.

Other highlights include By-Laws for the Regulation and Government of the Poor in the House of Industry in the Isle of Wight, published in Newport (IoW) in 1789 and here with the three parts sewn as one in marbled paper covers. A fascinating and scarce item, it sold at £700.

Cristina Trevnanion has written a lengthy account of this fascinating lot, which can be found on the auction highlights section of the T&D website (trevanionanddean.com).

A 1784 first of Elias Habeschi’s The Present State of the Ottoman Empire… in later full calf, realised £440 and Sir J Shelley-Rolls’ profusely illustrated Yachts of the Royal Yacht Squadron 1915-32, published by Zaehnsdorf in 1933, made £260.