Thursday - 18 September 2014

Sylvie & Bruno meet Famous Five, Chalet Girls and the Fat Owl

22 September 2004Written by ATG Reporter

INSCRIBED in both volumes “with the author’s love” to an Edith Barnes, presentation firsts of Lewis Carroll’s over-long children’s story Sylvie and Bruno of 1889 and its continuation or conclusion of 1893, the original red cloth bindings now uniformly faded to the spines, dampstained to the front of Vol. II and showing repairs to the spine ends of the first volume, was sold for £1400 in a Bloomsbury Auctions sale of July 15.

A job lot of five Enid Blyton titles valued at £30-40 brought a bid of £1250 in a Keys of Aylsham sale of July 23. In date order they were The Treasure Hunters of 1940, in soiled original cloth; Five on a Treasure Island, a 1942 first in a tatty jacket; a 1943 reprint of More Adventures on Willow Farm, once again in a tatty jacket, as was the 1944 first of Claudine at St. Clares of 1944, and a better preserved 1945 first of The Family at Red Roofs. The second item was the first of the very popular Famous Five books and very desirable, I imagine, even in a poor and tatty jacket.

The Aylsham sale also saw a bid of £550 on a lot offering four of Elinor Brent-Dyer’s Chalet School books. All in dust wrappers – that of the second mentioned title was rather tatty – these were The Chalet School in Exile (1940), The Highland Twins at Chalet School (1942), Lavender Laughs at the Chalet School (1943) and Gay from China at the Chalet School (1944). The lot also included The Lost Staircase (1946). The Chalet School in Exile, which had Germany’s annexation of Austria as its theme and includes a scene of Nazi Jew-baiting, had a rather more realistic theme than most of the Chalet School books and its original jacket, showing Joey and her sister being questioned by a German officer, provoked widespread parental protest and was immediately withdrawn.

The very first issue of February 15, 1908, was a facsimile, one issue lacked the first two pages but an essentially complete run of 1683 issues of The Magnet for the years 1908-1940, bound as 65 volumes in modern blue cloth, brought £2100 (Hawthorn) in a Dominic Winter sale of July 21. Just in case there is anyone who doesn’t know, Magnet contained Frank Richards’ stories of Greyfriars School and Bunter.

In a Bloomsbury Auctions sale of August 19, a 1906 first of Edith Nesbit’s The Railway Children, illustrated by C.E. Brock and in the original pictorial cloth with some edge rubbing, made £440 (Asprey).

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ATG Reporter

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