Edited by the polar explorer Sir John Ross and published in 1856, 10 years after Krusenstern’s death, it was the first biography of the distinguished Russian commander and explorer. This West Sussex copy sold at £900 and would doubtless have made more had the binding not been damaged.
A better-preserved example of this tall octavo volume sold, among the many works relating to Krusenstern’s voyages in the Martin Greene library, for $6000 (then £4475) at Christie’s New York last December.
Christie’s stated at the time that no other copy had been seen at auction since the 1940s, but now we have had two in a matter of weeks.
Two early works on computing, both ex-Imperial College library copies, and previously seen at auction as part of larger lots, also featured among the higher priced lots.
The work of Arthur W Burks, Hermann H Goldstine and John von Neumann, Preliminary Discussion of the Logical Designs of an Electronic Computing Instrument made £1400.
Reproducing the original typescript and here in rather battered wrappers, this was catalogued as the first major publication on the design and architecture for stored programme computers, “also known as the von Neumann or Princeton architecture, and considered the foundation for modern general-purpose digital computing”.
In 2014 a copy in better condition took $2200 at Bonhams New York.
Sold at £1800 was an illustrated record in thin, but better preserved, red card covers of the Manchester University Computer Inaugural Conference, July 1951. The programme for a conference centred on the Ferranti Mark 1 computer, it included Alan Turing among its contributors.
A job lot of four works of Polish interest sold for £1500. The one catalogued book, with a 1681 Kalisz imprint, was a narrative poem by Samuel Twardowski (d.1661) known as the Polish Virgil.
The title roughly translates as ‘A Civil War with Cossacks and Tatars, Muscovy, and then with the Swedes and Hungarians’. However, as it was in poor condition, this may not have been the work that sparked bidding.