It fell slightly short of expectations, but a 1798 first of Thomas Malthus’ well known Essay on the Principle of Population… in a slightly later and restored binding that sold for €80,000 (£70,795) was one with an intriguing addition.
It was suggested that the unidentified owner whose bookplate it bears may have been an alumnus of Jesus College, Cambridge, where Malthus himself studied and where his own library is still held. Differing exchange rates in effect over the years make direct comparisons tricky, but this would seem close to a record auction price.
Handsomely bound in contemporary dark blue morocco gilt, a fine 1814 first of Robert Owen’s A New View of Society… of 1814 sold for €34,000 (£26,155).
This was the work containing the four essays in which he laid down the principles that had guided his famous ‘Lanark Experiment’, his attempts at improving the living and working conditions, as well as the education – physical, social and moral – of those who were employed in his New Lanark cotton mills.
Sold at €20,000 (£15,385) was an 1817 first of David Ricardo’s On the Principles of Political Economy and Taxation, a classic in the literature of political economy. It showed a little foxing, but was essentially a good, wide-marginned copy in a contemporary binding.