Maps regularly play a large part in sales held at Dominic Winter (20% buyer’s premium), and a recent auction in South Cerney produced some fine examples.
Framed together and sold for £3400 on thesaleroom.com were copies in contemporary outline colour of Willem Blaeu’s Magni Ducatus Lithuaniae…, a wall map of 1613-35, and two conjoined and companion strip maps of the course of the River Dnieper.
The former, engraved by Hessel Gerritsz from drafts prepared by Prince Nicolas Radziwill and measuring roughly 2ft 6in (76cm) square on four conjoined sheets, depicts Lithuania and parts of Poland, Russia, Ukraine and Latvia – extending to Cracow, Kiev, Warsaw, Riga, Konigsberg and Danzig.
The larger map provides a great deal of information on cities and towns, political boundaries, together with the extensive system of rivers in the region, while that detailing the course of the Dnieper extends from Cherkasy to the estuary on the Black Sea and includes descriptions of cataracts, cities, salt mines, fortresses, etc.
One other notable cartographic success at the sale on January 20, a Saxton map of Somerset that sold for £3700, has already featured in ATG No 2429.
Private observatory stars
Not sold in the room but later moved on at an agreed sum of £4583 was a copy of in De Astronomica…, the Italian mathematician, engineer and astronomer Giovanni Marinoni’s profusely illustrated account of his famous private observatory and its instruments, among them what was then the world’s largest refracting telescope.
Bound in contemporary sheep gilt, now cracked at the joints, rubbed and repaired, this was a 1746, second-issue copy of a work first printed in Vienna in the previous year.
Other highlights included, at £1900, a 1574, third edition of Thomas Hill’s A profitable instruction of the perfite ordering of Bees…, the earliest dedicated treatise on the subject listed in the standard reference, British Bee Books.
Originally published as the second part of the 1568 and 1572, third and fourth editions of Hill’s Profitable Art of Gardening, this rare copy was a little browned, dampstaineed and showed shaving to many of the headlines in its rebacked binding of 18th century calf.
Left unsold against an estimate of $3000-5000 in 2015 when Sotheby’s New York offered the Robert S Pirie library, a copy of a Letter to a Friend, upon the Occasion of the Death of his Intimate Friend of 1690 was successfully moved on in the South Cerney sale by means of a treble-estimate and record bid of £1700 for the 12pp pamphlet.
Bound together in 19th century tan calf gilt by Hayday, two sale catalogues produced in 1794 and 1796 for the auction dispersal of paintings and drawings in the collections of the painter Sir Joshua Reynolds sold at £1000.
A variety of job or bulk lots featured in the sale, among them a large collection of autograph and signed typescript letters by later 20th century poets and writers assembled by the bookseller, writer and publisher Julian Nangle of Words Press. Spanning the years 1970-2018, the four cartons that made up the archive attracted a bid of £4600.
Just the ticket
A very different job lot, estimated at £100-200 but sold for £3200 on thesaleroom.com, was a carton of some 170 railway tickets and stubs dating from the 1970s, together with a further 400 London Underground tickets.
Mostly punched or clipped and all mounted and arranged by class and railway lines, they were all what are known (after their inventor) as Edmondson tickets, the once familiar small card tickets that first came into use in the 1840s.