The folding map of the extensively annotated, 1703 first edition of Martin Martin’s Description of the Western Islands of Scotland that sold for £3400 at Stride & Son.

Enjoy unlimited access: just £1 for 12 weeks

Subscribe now

At that price it was a record breaker by some distance, the previous best for firsts being £500 and £480 for copies sold by Bloomsbury Auctions (2011) and Lyon & Turnbull (2018), while in 2008 Sotheby’s sold a copy of the 1716, second edition from the great Macclesfield Library series of sales at £500.

The copy offered in Chichester, complete with its neatly repaired folding map of the Western Isles and single folding plate of a ‘heathen temple’, was one that over some 9pp bore extensive annotations in the hand of the naturalist and antiquary Peter Collinson (1694-1768), who also added a manuscript index.

Collinson’s notes include information provided by a Dr Walker, who told him of his scepticism regarding the supposed second sight of some islanders and noted that there were “…neither wild horses or buffaloes in Scotland as Mr Buffons asserts in his nat:hist: taken from ignorant writers”.

Watson’s recipes


An 18th century manuscript recipe book – £1800 at Stride & Son.

Other highlights included an 18th century manuscript recipe book of some 170pp, compiled by an Elizabeth Watson of Rochester and dated 1768. In a contemporary bellum binding, it sold at £1800.

Dating from 1765 was an 18pp catalogue produced for a sale of cased specimens of birds, animals, and other creatures. In stitched blue paper wrappers but lacking the final ‘conditions of sale’ leaf, it was originally priced at sixpence, but over 250 years on it prompted a far more substantial bid of £1000.