Offered in the Diss saleroom of TW Gaze (18% buyer’s premium), this was the autobiography of Alfred Russel Wallace, the man whose own investigations and thoughts on evolution led Darwin to finally get cracking on his earlier, but until then unpublished researches into the …Origin of Species.
Sporting lots included The Fancy, or True Sportsman’s Guide by ‘An Operator’ [John Badcock], the two volumes of 1826 in contemporary boards and illustrated with 54 colour plates. It sold at £550 at the October 29 sale.
A collection of Pierce Egan’s Boxiana volumes sold at £1500 and an 1821, first issue of his Life in London made £440. The latter was in a very handsome Rivière binding of full crushed morocco gilt.
A 2006 Folio Society facsimile of the Luttrell Psalter went just over high estimate at £550 but one of the 1000 copies of Folio’s 2010 facsimile of the Hereford Mappa Mundi doubled its guide to make £800.
Cold War classic
Other highlights included a 1963 first of John le Carré’s The Spy Who Came in from the Cold at £1300. Only a couple of signed copies have matched or exceeded that sum at auction.
Le Carré died last month, aged 89. His novel featuring George Smiley and the ‘Circus’, his breakthrough novel, was a huge success.