Tom Thumb’s Play-book, greatly improved, Paisley, J Neilson, 1790s, an unrecorded Scottish illustrated ABC, partly in verse, £1500 from Bernard Quaritch.

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Offered by Bernard Quaritch for £1500, it includes an alphabet, a list of simple words, an alphabet mnemonic, an illustrated verse alphabet (A was an Angler, that fish’d in the brooks) and two short stories from the Bible (The Creation of the World and Adam and Eve). It has a woodcut frontispiece and 25 woodcut vignettes.

The first English edition of this title was entered into the stationers’ register in 1747. No copies survive of that edition.

The full title of this Scottish edition, an imprint of Paisley, c.1890, includes the subtitle: greatly improved: in order to facilitate the Progress of the rising Generation in the Science of A, B, C.

Two levels


A unique collection of 64 fine original watercolours of fungi, late 19th century or early 20th century, priced £2000 from Kbooks. The watercolours are by a Mrs ME Notley and each measures 10½ x 7in (30 x 20cm), accompanied by a handwritten description of each species painted.

The fair runs from March 24-25 at the Radisson Blu Hotel on the Royal Mile. Quaritch is one more than 20 ABA dealerships standing at the event, while 19 exhibitors from the Provincial Booksellers Fairs Association occupy the lower ground floor. Newcomers to this edition include K Books, The Gently Mad, Green Ink Booksellers, Carter Rare Books and Deep Neutral Books.

The event represents the largest Scottish antiquarian and collectable book fair. It is part of a wider programme of events as part of Rare Books Edinburgh, which runs from March 16-25, and includes talks and exhibitions around the city.