It is the dozen copies on vellum that make the really big sums, but one of 100 signed, large-paper copies of the 1899, Leonard Smithers edition sold at £17,000 on thesaleroom.com.
The nowadays rarely seen 11th and final volume of a 1913-18, Heinemann edition of Constance Garnett’s translations of Dostoevsky’s novels, An Honest Thief, was lacking and the spine of one other faded.
It does, however, boast as Vol I the first edition in English of The Brothers Karamazov and this cloth-bound set of the first 10 volumes sold at £12,500.
Along with a signed copy of Goodbye Mr Chips! (see above), modern firsts included Virginia Woolf’s To the Lighthouse of 1927 and a fine copy of her Orlando of the following year. They sold online at £8000 and £2200 respectively.
A copy of Evelyn Waugh’s Mr Loveday’s Outing of 1936, still with its ‘Book Guild’s Choice’ wrap-around band, took £1750 and in sterling terms almost exactly matched the sum paid at Freeman’s of Philadelphia in 2013 for an inscribed copy.
A 1939, Hogarth Press first of Christopher Isherwood’s Goodbye to Berlin of made £3400, a sum only once marginally bettered – and that for a signed copy.
Lotted together, dust jacketed firsts of John Maynard Keynes’ A Revision of the Treaty… a sequel to the Economic Consequences of Peace, 1922, and The End of Laissez Faire of 1926 made £3400.
An estimate of £150-200 may have been a little modest, but while a copy of the earlier work did make £1900 at Christie’s South Kensington in 2006, that one was inscribed by the author to Ottoline Morrell.
An illustrated autograph letter (previewed in ATG No 2447) depicting Piglet and Winnie the Pooh sold on the day for £12,500, while a group of three letters that were the focus of a Times story that summed up their appeal in the headline ‘Prickly Beatrix Potter bemoaned ‘vulgar’ cocktail parties’ sold at £2800.
The sale took place on June 24-25.