Published in 1944, this was the first of eight children’s books in the popular ‘Adventure’ series of books by Enid Blyton, all illustrated by Stuart Tresilian.
Seven of them were offered as one lot as part of a single-owner collection of 19th and 20th century fiction that ran to 60 lots in a July 1-9 online sale held by Sotheby’s (25/20/13.9% buyer’s premium).
Lacking only a copy of the second in the series, The Castle of Adventure of 1947, that group of dust-jacketed firsts sold at £1800.
Inscribed “…this joke from Graham Greene” for Anthony Hobson, the binding historian and bibliographical scholar who for many years was a key figure in the Sotheby’s book department, a 1958 first of Our Man in Havana made £3200 as part of that same property.
In 1996, when Hobson sold modern firsts, letters etc from his library at Sotheby’s*, it had sold at £550. It was then lotted with a first English text edition of A Burnt Out Case, a work by Greene that was first published in Swedish and Danish translations.
Kim and Bond
Still in its simple pale-yellowish jacket, now showing some tears and stains, a good copy of the UK first of Rudyard Kipling’s Kim, issued in 1901 – just a couple of weeks later than the US first – seemed quite modestly estimated at £800-1200 in the recent Sotheby’s sale but sold instead for a record £7000.
The most expensive thing in this property, however, was a 1953, first issue of Ian Fleming’s first 007 tale, Casino Royale, at £22,000.
* The Sotheby’s sale, full of big-name writers, had been prompted by financial necessity but in 2015, following Hobson’s death, a further sale of modern literature from his library was sold at Christie’s.