RONALD W. Coleby of Houghton in Cumbria, who died last year, just a week after completing the memoir of his wife that had occupied much of his time in recent years, became a full-time bookseller in 1972, specialising in hunting, shooting and, above all, fishing.
An encyclopaedic knowledge of the subject was shared with customers and fellow dealers in long telephone conversations or detailed letters, and he was a regular contributor to the angling press. Coleby also published a bibliography, Regional Angling Literature, in 1979.
On April 14, Thomson Roddick & Medcalf sold Ron Coleby’s stock and reference library, with a few added items.
One copy of Coleby’s 1979 bibliography was included in the sale and the auctioneers indicated that a few others were available, but the most sought-after lot in the sale was Coleby’s ‘Angler’s Library’, a closely written, 457pp manuscript list of books relating to all aspects of angling that was valued at £100-150 but which ended up selling for £1700.
One of 15 presentation copies of R.L. Coigney’s Izaak Walton bibliography of 1989, containing a few other items of correspondence between the two men, made £215, but the most expensive of the Compleat Anglers in the catalogue was a presentation copy of the two-vol., first Dewar edition of 1902 that came to sale from a Borders country house. In two brown vellum bound vols. with illustrations by D.Y. Cameron and W. Strang, it sold at £580.
One of the 100 signed, deluxe copies of Halford’s The Dry Fly Man’s Handbook of 1913, in rubbed half maroon morocco, made £560.
One of 375 signed, deluxe copies of Eric Taverner’s 1929 volume on Trout Fishing from All Angles from the Lonsdale Library series, bound in blue morocco gilt with specimen flies mounted on the lower board, made £640.
One of 55 deluxe copies of the 1997, ‘Flyfishers Classic Library’ edition of Pryce-Tannatt’s How to Dress Salmon Flies, bound in niger morocco with an inset fly to the upper board, was sold at £300.
Books from other categories in the Carlisle sale included an 1838-39 first edition of William Scrope’s Art of Deerstalking, that was somewhat browned and spotted and rebound in half brown morocco, but made £260.
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