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With text by Etienne Pierre Ventenant, this is a catalogue of newly discovered exotic species from America, Australia, the Pacific, South Africa and other lands to be found in the gardens of the French botanist, Jacques Martin Cels, published 1800-03, but it is the 100 coloured engraved plates after watercolours by Cels’ friend, Pierre-Joseph Redouté (and, on eight of the plates, his brother Henri-Joseph) that make this work so desirable. This copy had recently been rebound.

A complete 16 vol. set of Paxton’s Magazine of Botany and Flowering Plants, first editions all of 1834-49 and uniformly bound in three-quarter morocco to contain the 717 coloured engraved or lithographed plates, sold at $13,000 (£7740).

Untrimmed in the original boards – albeit very worn and detached – was a 1792 first edition of the official account of the Bounty expedition, an account of that Voyage to the South Sea... based on Bligh’s journal but, in his absence on a second voyage in pursuit of breadfruit, written up, edited and seen through the press by James Burney under the supervision of Joseph Banks.

Some restoration was needed, but this was an internally clean copy and bidding reached $8000 (£4760).

A 1726 first of Shelvocke’s account of his eventful privateering voyage to the Pacific in Voyage Round the World..., in rebacked period calf, was sold at $3000 (£1785). His account of California and the discovery of gold there, as well as depictions of native Californians on two of the plates, would have been of particular interest to local buyers. Of more general interest is the suggestion that Shelvocke’s narrative of a passage around Cape Horn inspired Coleridge’s Rime of the Ancient Mariner.

The works of Aristotle, as translated by Thomas Taylor and published in eleven volumes in the years 1806-12, proved to be another of the more popular lots.

Originally planned as a nine volume set and apparently limited to just 50 copies, it was extended to 11 by the inclusion of Taylor’s own Dissertation upon the Philosophy of Aristotle and his, earlier (1801) translation of the Metaphysics. This handsome set, uniformly bound in 19th century full tan calf with gilt tooled spines and morocco lettering pieces (three rebacked to retain the original spines) was bid to a near treble estimate $11,000 (£6545).

And finally, Das Puppenhaus – a rare Meggandorfer item comprising 15 coloured panels (mounted to boards) which fold-out and fall down to present a home, room, walls, etc. and which is further enlivened with pop-up or pull-down figures, sold at $2000 (£1190).

Pacific Book Auctions, San Francisco,
Buyers’ Premium: 15 per cent
Exchange Rate: £1 = $1.68