A spread from the 1818 first of Joseph Walker’s The Shepherd’s Guide sold by 1818 Auctions at £1820.

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The Milnthorpe saleroom (22.5% buyer’s premium) sold a calf-bound copy of that first edition for what must be a record £1820 in a timed online sale ending on April 3.

A Martindale sheep farmer, Walker collected and published drawings and descriptions of the identification marks used on sheep grazing on the unfenced common land of the Cumberland fells to help ensure that strays could be returned to their rightful owners.

Lug marks, or ear notches, along with smit marks – coloured stripes and spots on the fleece – were also employed. Sheep that graze on common land with no fences learn from their mothers which area is theirs to graze on, known as the heft – but they can go astray, Nelson explained.

First Worst

The Cumbrian sale’s top lot, at £3550, was something very different: a 1922-23 first in original boards of a polar classic, Apsley Cherry Garrard’s The Worst Journey in the World.

This was an account of his experiences while serving on the 1910-13 Terra Nova expedition to the South Pole that ended with the death of Scott and his four companions, who on achieving their goal found that Amundsen had been there before them and then perished on their return journey.