TOP read in a May 20 sale held by Freemans of Philadelphia was one of 90 sets of the 37-vol. ‘Memorial’ edition of the writings of Mark Twain published by Harpers in 1929, which, in original three-quarter crushed green levant morocco gilt and marbled boards, sold at $12,000 (£6820).

In a slightly worn and chipped jacket, this 1961 first of Robert Heinlein’s SF classic, Stranger in a Strange Land sold for $1300 (£740) at Freemans.

A bit scuffed and faded, but bearing the bookplate and signature of John Greenleaf Whittier, an 1852 first of Hawthorne's The Snow-Image and other Twice-Told Tales made $1200 (£680).

Among the earlier works, a clean and crisp 1586 Venetian (first?) edition in period limp vellum of Tommaso Garzoni's L'Hospidale de Pazzi Incurabili was sold for $1500 (£8520). Garzoni's text is said to be the first devoted to the classification of mental illnesses.