George Boole’s Mathematical Analysis of Logic of 1847 in original wrappers, £36,000 at Forum.

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Sold for a considerably higher than expected £36,000 in a March 30 sale held by Forum Auctions (26/25/20/12.5% buyer’s premium) was a copy of George Boole’s Mathematical Analysis of Logic of 1847.

This is a paper that, according to the computer historians Erwin Tomash and Michael Williams, “began the revolution that led to the development of mathematical logic… [and] in recent times has seen Boolean logic find widespread use in the design of digital computers and communication systems”.

This copy was in the original yellow paper wrappers.

The Boole lot was immediately followed in the London sale by two hugely successful Darwin-related lots, both of which had a provenance cited as the Cornford family.

Bid to £13,000 was Charles Darwin’s copy of the 1865, second edition of WEH Lecky’s The Rise and Influence of Rationalism in Europe, one said to have been read to him by his wife or daughters and bearing notes in one of their hands.

But it was the other Cornford family lot that made the bigger impact, an 1875 first of The Study of Sociology, selling for £35,000 rather than the estimated £1000- 1500. It was featured in last week’s News Digest.


The spine of the jacket is somewhat browned, but first impression copies of Ernest Hemingway’s The Sun also Rises – or Fiesta as it was called on its first English appearance of 1927, as seen here – are exceptionally rare. This example sold at £24,000 at Forum. The book, that portrays American and British expats who travel from Paris and Pamploma to watch the running of the bulls and bullfights, received mixed reviews on publication, but is now recognised as among Hemingway’s finer works.

Shippard of Arabia


An 1835 map of Arabia un das Nil-Land with annotations by Captain William H Shippard, £22,000 at Forum Auctions.

Bid to £22,000 was an 1835 map of Arabia un das Nil-Land produced by LG Ehrenberg and Eduard Rüppell.

Bearing extensive mid 19th century annotations and additions by Captain William H Shippard that list and identify additional or previously unrecorded locations, along with routes taken by historical figures and explorers of the region, it had been consigned by descendants.

The work’s creation had been part of Shippard’s unrealised ‘Museum of Mankind’ project, one in which he had intended to illustrate the ‘History of Man’ by means of illustrated lectures.


The contemporary binding of red morocco gilt bearing the Spanish royal arms on a 1768 first of Pedro Sarmiento de Gambóa’s Viage al Estrecho de Magallanes, £12,000 at Forum.

Among other lots focussed on travel and exploration, a 1768 first of Pedro Sarmiento de Gambóa’s Viage al Estrecho de Magallanes… that came in a handsome contemporary binding of red morocco gilt bearing the Spanish royal arms was sold at £12,000.

What had begun as an attempt to capture Sir Francis Drake following his attack on the coasts of Peru, ended up as a voyage of exploration in which the work’s author also mapped the Straits of Magellan.

Boasting handsome but later bindings, examples of the 1807-16 first and 1824 second editions of the atlas and text volumes that make up Péron & Freycinet’s Voyages de Décovertes aux Terre Australes brought bids of £16,000 and £11,000.


The contemporary Roman binding of a 1535, Basel [second Latin] edition of the complete works of the Greek poet Pindar, Olympia, Pytha, Nemea, Isthmia, £40,000 at Forum.

Larkin about

Sold at £11,000 was a small group of nine, mostly autograph letters or cards in the hand of the young Philip Larkin. Addressed to an Oxford contemporary with whom he shared lodgings, they were in large part notable for the insults they contained – but also for thoughts on what his own post-academic career might bring.

His own first publisher, Reginald Caton, owner of the Fortune Press, Larkin describes as a “seedy homosexual who looks like a parson unfrocked and set selling elastic in the street”, before damning his printers as incompetent.

DH Lawrence, it seems, needed “a kick up the arse”, and jazz music is dismissed as “a disease peculiar to pimpled, silk-scarfed office boys”, but Larkin is equally damning of his own work.

He describes his own novel of 1946, Jill, as “pathetically bad, judged by objective standards”.


Marking the first illustrated appearance in print of the story of ‘Der Eschen Grüdel’, the figure now more familiarly known as Cinderella, a 1510 Strasbourg edition of a collection of moral tales compiled by Johann Geiler von Kaisersberg, a popular Strasbourg preacher, was sold by Forum at £9000. In 2013, at Christie’s New York, this copy had been offered as part of the Vershbow library, where it sold at $15,000.

The purely, or primarily pictorial highlights of the Forum sale also included a bound collection of 530 wood engraved illustrations by Gwen Raverat (1886-1957), founder member of the Society of Wood Engravers, which fell short of expectations but did sell at £30,000.