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Expensively rebound in the 19th century in full crushed maroon morocco gilt, it was internally dusty and showed some soiling, spotting and marginal loss. The explanation leaf was also missing, but it ended up selling for £3000 (Vogler).

A small group of architectural works also brought a flurry of higher than average bids.

A 1663 edition of Sebastiano Serlio’s Architettura..., containing numerous woodcut diagrams and illustrations to the text and in an 18th century full calf binding bearing a Blenheim Palace bookplate, now worn and defective, sold at £2000 to Cummings, who also paid £2900 for a 1715, first Leoni edition of Palladio’s Architecture, illustrated with 230 engraved plates, bound in contemporary full calf gilt and bearing the bookplates of Henry, Duke of Kent and Thomas Philip, Earl de Grey.

Sold at £1600 to Pagan was an 1839, second edition of Willemin & Poitier’s Monuments Français..., the two volumes illustrated with 300 plates, many of them hand coloured, and bound in contemporary half morocco.

Among the sporting books were two books on the once popular pastime of tiger shooting. William Rice’s 1857 guide to Tiger Shooting in India, published in 1857 with chromolitho plates and bound in blind-tooled cloth, was sold at £340 to Goode, who also gave £240 for Tiger Shooting in the Doon and Ulwar.., an 1887 account by J.C. Fife-Cookson in half morocco and marbled boards.

Manuscripts and ephemera may, for once, have been overshadowed by the books, but a Nelson visiting card attracted a great deal of interest before being knocked down at £245 to a private buyer, and two descendants of Admiral Edward Vernon, or ‘Old Grog’, contested a 1756 letter in his hand to £450 – ten times the estimate.

Though he took his nickname from the grogram coat that he favoured (a garment made from a mixture of silk, mohair and wool, often stiffened with gum), Vernon is remembered as the man who first ordered the watering down of navy rum, in a mixture thereafter known as grog.

The best result, however, was provided by the Antarctic hero, Captain Oates. Franked with a pair of 1d Victoria Land overprints and postmarked ‘British Antarctic Expedition’ on February 9, 1911, a letter addressed to his mother must have been one of the last that Oates sent – the party had set out on their epic and fatal journey two weeks earlier – but the bid of £1000 which secured this Oates lot was for the envelope only.

Strides, Chichester, March 6
Buyer’s premium: 15 per cent