IN April 1912, Miss Lenox-Conyngham was travelling with three relatives from Southampton to Cherbourg, but though this was just a short channel crossing, she decided that it was worthwhile dashing off a letter to a nephew on the ship’s notepaper.
Remarking on the sheer size of the ship, the presence of a band on board and a near collision on departing Southampton, she wrote, “I am told that this is the Titanic’s maiden voyage, so I think I must use some of its paper.” Miss Lenox-Conyngham and her party disembarked in France and her letter was posted in Queenstown, the last port of call for the doomed vessel. In a February 25 sale held by Tennants of Leyburn, the letter was sold at £13,000.
As one might imagine, there was a fair amount of Yorkshire material on offer, and while it was a set of the first 25 Yorkshire County Cricket Club Year Books, 1893-1917, that brought the high bid of £2400, there was also a bid of £1300 on a bound collection of seven Yorkshire pamphlets of the period 1802-38, among them the illustrated Phrenological Observations on the Skull of Eugene Aram, which was published in Ripon in 1838.
Samuel Howell’s Fourteen Lithographic Views of Knaresborough, an Ackermann imprint of c.1837 in original limp card covers, made £320, while the seven chromos that make up Newbald & Stead’s York Minster Illustrated of c.1885 saw a bid of £320.
An 1887 Slater’s Dictionary of Yorkshire, which at five inches thick is very heavy and, as here, prone to weakening at the hinges, was sold at £420. The directory, which includes a large folding map of the county and another of Sheffield and its environs, also contains some 100pp of advertisements.
Bid to £400 was J.N. Dransfield’s own extensively annotated and augmented copy of his 1906 History of the Parish of Penistone. The additions in the form of notes, comments, newspaper articles, even a few postcards, amount to some 175pp.
Sold at £620 was G.T. Fox’s Synopsis of the Newcastle Museum, late the Allan, formerly the Tunstall or Wycliffe Museum. Published in Newcastle in 1827, this scarce catalogue, illustrated with plates and other woodcuts, lists the 18th century natural history and “savage utensils” collections, largely comprising items brought back from Cook’s voyages, that ended up in the city’s Hancock Museum. The binding was described as “ruinous contemporary” but internally the catalogue was exceptionally clean.
Curiously valued at just £20-40 was a copy of C.E. Borchgrevink’s First on the Antarctic Continent..., an account by its Norwegian leader of the Southern Cross’ or British Antarctic Expedition of 1898-1901 sponsored by publisher, Sir George Newnes. In the original red cloth, now worn at the spine, this important early work was sold at £360.
Nice and bright in the original green cloth gilt bindings, second edition sets of F.O. Morris’ ...British Birds, six vols. 1870, and ...Nests & Eggs of British Birds, three vols. 1879, were lotted with three other natural history titles – none of great financial import – to bring a bid of £1200.
The 1870 first of D.G. Rossetti’s Poems that sold for £800 in Leyburn was one of just a dozen printed on handmade paper and bound in full brown morocco for presentation. This copy bore the armorial bookplate of a John Ingleby Jefferson.
A 1934, Keystone Library edition of Churchill’s My Early Life that bore an authorial inscription to Sir Arthur Atkinson was sold at £600.
Among the children’s’ and illustrated books, a limited edition copy in full vellum gilt of the 1915, Rackham-illustrated A Christmas Carol made £920 and a first issue copy of the the third Harry Potter book, Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban of 1999, sold at £650.
Also sold at £650 was a lot that brought together one of Florence Upton’s non-golliwogg books, The Adventures of Borbee and the Wisp of 1908, in a defective dust jacket, and two different octavo editions of Willy Pogany’s illustrated version of the Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam.
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