Valued at £1500-2000, a signed first issue of William Blacker’s The Art of Angling..., printed in 1842 in Edinburgh by Anderson & Bryce and containing 31 trout flies and a single salmon fly attached with decorative coloured paper seals (see illustration top right) but lacking the single plate, was bid to £22,000 (Head).
Bound in contemporary half morocco, this was a copy formerly in the Denison library. A second, signed first issue, without the flies but in the publisher's embossed brown roan, had been thought to be worth almost as much, but was knocked down at £4000, while one second issue copy in original gilt morocco and a variant second issue, containing the engraved plates of flies and feathers that became standard in the second edition of the following year, bound in contemporary black morocco, sold at £2400 apiece to Head.
Bidding picked up again when another variant second issue copy, this time with addition of 31 flies attached with silver paper seals and an example of Blacker's trade card in a marbled paper pocket in the gilt red morocco wallet binding (bottom right) improved on a £1500-2000 estimate to sell for £21,000. More excitement followed with the offer of a copy of the 1843 'new' edition in original calf gilt, which ran to 130pp. This copy was enhanced by the inclusion of flies, hackles and hooks, and although one of the former was missing, it sold at £8500 (Head).