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Exhibiting some later pigskin restorations and with replacement endpapers, it is otherwise in unsophisticated condition in the original binding of calf over wooden boards and has the original tie and boss clasp still attached to the lower cover.

It was certainly small enough to be carried in the pocket of a lawyer’s robe, and a contemporary note at the rear of the volume seems to indicate that it belonged to a London lawyer who had links with Hendley, perhaps Henley. Having been in the vendor’s family for centuries, it came to auction at Phillips on June 15 and sold for £28,000 to a US dealer.

Sold for £19,000 in the Phillips sale was the 1555, Lyon edition of the works of Seneca illustrated right, bottom a copy that contains numerous Latin and Spanish marginal annotations by former owners – among them extensive entries by the Spanish satirist, poet and pamphleteer Quevedo that have themselves been transcribed and published in a 1968 book, Francisco de Quevedo..., by Professor Henry Ettinghausen.

Buyer’s premium: 15/10 per cent