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A rebacked and recased copy of the 1610 edition of St Augustine of Hippo’s De civitate Dei (translated as …Citie of God) made £4000 in a John Nicholson’s sale of May 15.

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A rebacked and recased copy of that 1610 edition of the …Citie of God made £4000 in a John Nicholson’s (24% buyer’s premium) sale of May 15 – considerably more than had been predicted. A translation by John Healey, it also incorporated the 1522 commentary of the Spanish humanist Juan Luis Vives and was printed in London by George Eld.

Last summer a copy offered by Sotheby’s as part of the William O’Brian library, one that was in a period English binding of calf gilt, sold at £8500.

The editio princeps of St Augustine’s work was printed at the Benedictine monastery of Subiaco, near Rome, in 1467 by Sweynheym and Pannartz, who had brought the new typographic arts to Italy.

Also part of the O’Brian library was a 1468(?) Strasbourg printing of De civitate Dei… in 16th century pigskin with good provenance sold at £100,000.

Running to just 48 or so pages in a neat, late 17th century hand, and in a rebacked but good contemporary calf binding, a manuscript recipe book in this Fernhurst sale was sold at £4400.

Among the more diverting medical entries was one dealing with fits and their prevention. For men it involved a potion that included the powdered skull of a woman, preferably one who had been strangled, added to beer. For a woman it was pretty much the same, but a male skull was required.