Job lots were prominent and brought some of the higher bids, but bid to £4500 was a 1704, Exeter first of Joseph Pitts’ True and Faithful Account of the Religion and Manners of the Mohammetans… [and] their Pilgrimage to Mecca. In contemporary calf, it had Bath Library stamps on a few leaves.
Pitts had been enslaved when the merchantman on which he was sailing was taken by Algerian pirates and in 1680, having been forced to convert to Islam, he accompanied his new master on pilgrimage to Mecca.
After 15 years in captivity, he escaped but on his first night back in England was taken by a naval press gang and only with great difficulty managed to procure his release.
Pitts’ account is the first authentic record of a pilgrimage to Mecca by an Englishman and only the copy in the Sotheby’s sale of the Burrell library of Middle Eastern books has made more – £6000 back in 1999.