Beatrix_Potter_Dancing_to_the_Piper_Heritage_Auctions.jpg
Dancing to the Piper, a Beatrix Potter ink and watercolour drawing from c.1890, from Heritage Auctions’ sale of Rare Children’s Literature from Justin G Schiller Ltd on December 16. Image credit: Heritage Auctions, HA.com

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Comprising books assembled by the specialist children’s book dealer and collector, Justin Schiller, it is the fruit of 60 years of collecting, (Schiller’s enthusiasm for rare books began when he was just eight years old).

The sale includes works spanning the 16th through to the 20th centuries and features a number of rarities.

Among them is a copy of the first edition, first printing of Beatrix Potter’s The Tale of Peter Rabbit, one of 250 copies privately printed for Potter in December 1901 using family funds after she was unable to find a publisher. This copy is annotated in pencil by the author "F. Warne & Co 15 Bedford St Strand / to be published in the autumn 1902." The estimate is from $30,000 upwards.

Other Beatrix Potter items in the sale include a c.1890s unfinished ink and watercolour drawing, featuring seven rabbits dancing around another perched on a stool blowing a musical instrument. The 6in (15cm) square drawing, titled Dancing to the Piper, which was previously in the collection of Beatrix's younger brother Bertram, is guided at $50,000 upwards.

Another much earlier rarity in the sale is Charles Perrault’s Histoires ou Contes du Temps Passé. Perrault’s collection of fairy tales, originally published in Paris in 1697, is famous, but this example is notable because, as an unauthorised version published in the same year, probably in Amsterdam, it is the earliest state of a pirated copy of Perrault’s work. It has a guide of $50,000 upwards.

The sale in takes place in Dallas tomorrow (December 16).