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It sold instead at £6200.

China was the word missing from the title of the copy offered by Brightwells (22% buyer’s premium), Serindia being a regional name then applied to those parts of Asia that lay between the Pamirs and the Pacific.

This OUP publication of 1921 deals with three journeys of geographical, archaeological, historical and scientific exploration in the region that Stein undertook in the years 1900-15.

The first three russet cloth gilt volumes present close on 1600pp of text plus more than 340 photographic illustrations in all and some 59 plates or plans. The fourth presents a further 175 plates, some of them folding.

The fifth volume is in fact a matching book box containing almost 100 folding maps.

In 2015, at Sotheby’s, the set in the Franklin Brook-Hitching Library, the first four volumes unopened, uncut and still in the dust jackets, sold for £10,000. However, a set that came from the library of Stein’s friend and collaborator, Fred Andrews, was in 2016 sold for $15,000 (then £10,565) by Swann in New York.