THERE are yet two major Sotheby’s sales of last December to report – the Travel & Map sale of December 14 and the English Literature & History sale of December 19 – but as there are no 2001 Sotheby’s sales scheduled until May, there is no fear of an overlap, and these sales aside, the three brief reports that appear below bring my wider coverage of the old year’s book sales to a close.
A belated Proclamation…
MY VERY first report of a 2001 sale (in Antiques Trade Gazette No.1473) included a copy of the Proclamation issued by the Provisional Government of the Irish Republic at the time of the Easter Rising of 1916 – one that had been sold by Whytes of Dublin for a double estimate IR£52,000 (£47,400) – but only now, two months after the event, have I come into possession of a catalogue for the traditional, end of year Dublin book and manuscript sale held by Co. Kilkenny auctioneers, Mealys, and discovered that they too had a copy of this historic document. It sold for IR£19,000 (£15,965). A collection of letters sent by Eamon de Valera to his wife, c.1911-20 failed to sell, but three scrapbooks containing a collection of Irish political ballads and other ephemera assembled by Lady Gregory, reached IR£13,000 (£10,925) and an early autograph draft of W.B.Yeats’ poem The Lake Isle of Innisfree was sold at IR£13,500 (£11,345).
Mealy’s, Dublin, December 6-7
Buyer’s premium: 12.5 per cent
Exchange rate: £1 = £1.19
Get your Daily Shakespeare
BOOKS and ephemera followed on from lots grouped under a Memories of Childhood heading in this mixed sale.
Top lot was a six vol. Morris British Birds of 1851-62, in contemporary half calf gilt, at £400, but the sale also included a programme for the Great Charmo Circus and Menagerie with some sketches by Dame Laura Knight on the inside of the wrappers, one signed and dated 1929, that sold for £100, and a miniature set of Shakespeare’s works issued c.1930 by Allied Newspapers which, complete with the parts needed to build a miniature three-tier bookcase, made £120.
Printed on coarse paper and in Louis Bondy’s words, “hideously bound in black or red rexine”, this set was apparently issued free to new subscribers to the Daily Herald, or sold at a very low price.
W & H Peacock, Bedford, December 15
Buyer’s premium: 12.5 per cent
TOP LOT in the last Hay sale of the old year was a job lot of seven 19th century albums of British, European, Egyptian and even New York photographic views, and the auctioneer feels that the presence of half a dozen early photographs may have boosted the bidding.
British topographies and local histories included a 1723 (second?) edition of Sampson Erdeswicke’s Survey of Staffordshire that was bound in contemporary half calf with Thomas Congreve’s A Scheme or Proposal for making Navigable Communication between the Rivers of Trent and Severn, in the County of Stafford of 1717. The map which accompanies the latter work was torn, but repaired with-out loss, and is in any case missing in many copies.
An ex-library, but unstamped copy of James Ingram’s Memorials of Oxford, the three volumes of 1837 illustrated with a plan and 98 steel engraved plates by Le Keux, was sold at £300 (Magna), while Landscape Illustrations of the Novels of Sir Walter Scott, a three vol. collection of 120 steel engraved plates after Harding, Roberts, Daniell, Westall and others, smartly bound in contemporary green morocco gilt with floral cornerpieces, reached £220 (Hooper).
A 16th century law book called Le Grand Costumier du Pays et Duche de Normandie, a 1539 folio published in Rouen and here bound in 19th century blind tooled calf, went to a collector at £650.
Among the illustrated books, a limited edition copy of the 1929 Rackham illustrated version of Goldsmith’s The Vicar of Wakefield, in original vellum gilt, made £450 (Stella).
Y Gelli, Hay-on-Wye, December 20
Buyer’s premium: 12 per cent