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A copy of the 1899, second edition of WB Yeats’ 'Poems' in an elaborately gilt binding by Althea Gyles – £300 at John Nicholson’s.

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Also part of that lot at John Nicholson’s (25% buyer’s premium) on May 14 were three volumes of Churchill’s History of the English Speaking Peoples. Each had a “pasted in duplicated presentation slip”, one displaying the signature of the historian GM Trevelyan.

Another of the day’s best-sellers came in the form of two large boxes containing material relating to a water engineer and scientist William N McLean, his brother Frank and other family members.

Letters from the astronomer Charles Piazzi Smyth, Carl Zeiss, Edward VII and many others, along with technical files, photographs, etc, made up an archive that sold for £3200.

Literary lots included a number of works by WB Yeats, among them a bright copy of the 1899, second edition of his Poems in an elaborately gilt binding by Althea Gyles which made £300.