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There was marginal dampstaining entering the image on some of the unbound plates and one was marred by surface wear, but the set more than doubled the estimate to sell at $16,000 (£10,190) in a Swanns, New York Rare Books sale of April 10 (15% buyer's premium).

Sold at $7000 (£4460) in that same sale was a 1683 Boston first edition of Kometographia; or, a Discourse concerning Comets by the American educator, religious and political leader, Increase Mather. An enquiry into the history of “blazing stars” and events which were believed to have been presaged by them, Kometographia attempts to combine his religious views with the latest scientific
knowledge.

The culmination of Mather’s work on the subject, it cites on the title his sermons of 1680-82, Heaven’s Alarm and The Latter Sign, but though these were presumably meant to be bound in, they are not present in this copy in late 19th/early 20th century soft black morocco.

Exchange rate: £1 = $1.57