Books and Works on Paper


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How sketches liven up plain sailing

26 June 2017

For a number of years now ship’s logs have made good prices at auction. Those featuring naval engagements, significant encounters in foreign lands, or with added, if amateur illustration – even logs kept on whalers that use simple sketches to record a catch – offer something extra.

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The surrender that led to Irish independence

26 June 2017

“In order to prevent the further slaughter of Dublin citizens, and in the hope of saving the lives of our followers, now surrounded and hopelessly outnumbered, the members of the Provisional Governments present at Head Quarters have agreed to an unconditional surrender…”

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Initial ideas on printing the Bible

19 June 2017

Featuring more than 70 decorative or historiated initials in full contemporary colour, a fine copy of a Biblia germanica printed by Gunther Zainer of Augsburg in 1475-76 sold for a record €120,000 (£103,450) in a Ketterer Kunst (20% buyer’s premium) sale.

Avicenna on metaphysics in 1495

19 June 2017

Cleaned, restored and recently rebound in brown buckskin, together with a 1966 reprint, a rare 1495 Venetian first of Avicenna’s Metaphysica made €26,000 (£22,260) in a Reiss & Sohn (18% buyer’s premium) sale. The price was slightly under estimate but a record nonetheless.

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Early tastes of a Victorian bibliophile

19 June 2017

The library of William O’Brien, an Irish-born QC and High Court judge in the Victorian era, sold for a premium-inclusive £2.8m at Sotheby’s (25/20/12.5% buyer’s premium) on June 7.

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First Fleet footsteps in the Australian continent

19 June 2017

Written by Judge Advocate David Collins, secretary, close friend and adviser to Governor Arthur Phillip, An Account of the English Colony in New South Wales of 1798-1802 was the last of the so-called ‘First Fleet’ journals to be published.

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The words on the street - record for Sinclair Lewis' 1920 first at Swann

12 June 2017

Condition leaves a little to be desired, but the spine of this copy of Sinclair Lewis’ 'Main Street' and the matching details on the jacket mark it out as a 1920 first, published by Harcourt, Brace & Howe of New York.

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‘Bruges Master’ produces something of the knight at German auction

12 June 2017

“A masterpiece of Flemish book illumination,” said Reiss & Sohn (18% buyer’s premium) of a rare manuscript compendium of texts on chivalry, heraldry, nobility and the rules of war offered in its May 16-18 sales series.

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Book at German auctioneers led to an Inquisition

12 June 2017

Bid to a double-estimate €42,000 (£36,290) in a Ketterer Kunst (20% buyer’s premium) sale of May 22 was a very rare, 1566-67 Lisbon first of 'Chronica da felicissimo rei dom Emanuel…'

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Trio of record-breakers at Forum Auctions

12 June 2017

The three lots briefly described here were not among the very highest priced lots in a Forum Auctions (25/20/12% buyer’s premium) sale of May 24 – but all brought record bids.

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Inscriptions provide vital 'Spark' in Edinburgh auction

12 June 2017

Sensational results for Scottish author in Lyon & Turnbull sale recall a doomed family link...

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Anne Frank’s diary in Dutch and English form

05 June 2017

In recent times a few examples of the 1947, Dutch text, first printing of Anne Frank’s famous diary (part of a print run of just 1500 copies) have come to auction.

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Pure escapism: gambling and Houdini in Chicago auction

05 June 2017

A ‘gambling’ sale held on May 5-6 by Potter & Potter (20% buyer’s premium) produced what may be a record bid of $8500 (£6590) on a 1902 first of SW Erdnase’s The Expert at the Card Table.

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Crumb's Fritz cosies up to Charlene for Chicago sale

05 June 2017

“Artworks from Underground Comix – especially from masters such as Robert Crumb – are becoming recognised in the fine art world as cultural cornerstones.”

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Music sale performs with style

05 June 2017

Regarded by many as Gustav Mahler’s greatest song for voice and orchestra, ‘Ich bin der Weit abhanden gekommen’ was just one of many first-class performances featured in a 53-lot music sale conducted by Sotheby’s (25/20/12.5% buyer’s premium) on May 23.

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Cruikshank cartoons count at auction

05 June 2017

A rare and complete set of The Scourge…, a monthly publication of the early 19th century that also described itself as the …Expositor of Imposture and Folly, brought a record bid of $9000 (£6075) in a Swann (25/20/12% buyer’s premium) sale of May 16.

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Tchaikovsky and JFK in harmony in American auctions

30 May 2017

The autograph sale held by Swann (25/20/12% buyer’s premium) in New York on May 4 included a musical quotation in the hand of Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky, the theme from the finale of his Orchestral Suite No.3 in G Major (Op.55), which sold for $14,000 (£10,855).

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Bird’s-eye view and busy bees in Cirencester

30 May 2017

Over three busy days in May Dominic Winter (19.5% buyer’s premium) mounted a three-catalogue sale that presented close on 1600 lots in all.

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Motoring lots roar in to South Cerney books auction

30 May 2017

The general sale at Dominic Winter was followed on May 11 by one of motoring literature, automobilia and historic bicycles and accessories – a 620-lot auction held in conjunction with Transport Collector Auctions.

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Cornish and Celtic lots from an all-rounder academic and bard

30 May 2017

First Professor of Cornish Studies at Exeter University and Bard of Gorseth Kernow, Charles Thomas (1928-2016) was both a prolific writer and a bibliophile.

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