A plate from Viscount Kingsborough’s copy of 'Antiquities of Mexico' – $65,000 (£52,420) at Christie's New York.

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Amounting to just 47 lots, all of which found buyers, the smaller of them comprised selections from the library of a Mexican businessman and philanthropist, Lorenzo H Zambrano.

While it was a copy of Darwin’s …Origin of Species that topped the price lists at $160,000 (£129,030), it was lots of Mexican and Central American interest that were the principal focus.

Sold at $65,000 (£52,420) – some $15,000 under low estimate – was a coloured issue of Edward, Viscount Kingsborough’s monumental Antiquities of Mexico.

The seven original volumes of 1830-31 and the two extra volumes issued by Henry Bohn in 1848 contain a total of 742 litho plates, some 584 of which are fully coloured. This copy had made two earlier appearances at auction, selling for £35,000 at Sotheby’s in 1987 and $60,000 seven years later at Christie’s New York.

Celebrated history


A spread from the 19th century manuscript copy of Diego Durán’s 16th century Historia de las Indias – $42,000 (£33,870) at Christie’s New York.

Last seen in the latter rooms in 2006, when it sold for $17,000, Kingsborough’s own manuscript copy of Father Diego Durán’s celebrated Historia de las Indias, sold well over estimate at $42,000 (£33,870).

The original 16th century manuscript is in the Bibliotheca Real in Madrid, and this two-volume copy, running to some 1264 leaves and containing 114 watercolour illustrations, was presumably made for Kingsborough around the time he was working on his own great study.

Once part of Christopher Turnor’s Stoke Rochford library was one of just 300 copies of the 1844 first edition of Frederick Catherwood’s famous Views of Ancient Monuments in Central America, Chiapas and Yucatan.

An example of the uncoloured issue, originally priced at five guineas and presenting a total of 25 tinted litho plates, it sold for a high-estimate $26,000 (£20,970).

The sales ran from June 2-18.