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It is one of the earliest books to deal with the British occupation of Aden, which took place in 1839, two years after a ship flying British colours was wrecked there and its crew and passengers maltreated by the locals. Playfair was assistant to Sir James Outram, the first Resident, and to his successors. In the original cloth and complete with outline coloured litho map, this copy contained a few pencil annotations and some loosely inserted typed notes. This is a much rarer text than the estimate would suggest – the Burrell copy made £1800 at Sotheby’s in 1999 – and this copy reached £1500.

In the original cloth bindings, now a little rubbed and marked, the two text and map volumes that make up an Account of the Arab Tribes in the Vicinity of Aden edited by Captains Frederick Mercer Hunter and C.W.H. Sealy for publication in 1909 in Bombay, were also valued at just £70-100 in the Dominic Winter sale of July 21, but this too is a scarce work – five years ago, the Burrell library made £1100 – and the bidding reached £1200 before the lot was knocked down to Taikoo.