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Bid to a higher than expected £9000, the top lot in a September 30 Scottish sale was was an early work from the first European press dedicated to producing books featuring Arabic typefaces.

Sold by Lyon & Turnbull (25/20% buyer’s premium), this was a 1592 first of the Alphabetum Arabicum printed by the Typographia Medicea, a Roman press founded eight years earlier under the direction of Giovanni Battista Raimondi and with the patronage and support of Pope Gregory XIII.

Running to just 54pp, this copy showed some restoration and marginal manuscript translations had in places been cropped by a 19th century binder, but while this copy had its shortcomings of condition, it remained a rare item.


The ‘Willow Grouse’ is one of 27 hand-coloured litho plates from a copy of Daniel Giraud Eliot’s Monograph of the Tetraoninae, or Family of Grouse sold at £8000 at Lyon & Turnbull. The five original parts of this large folio work of 1854-65 were in the original green boards.

Dawson’s magic

The extensive magic collection of the late Trevor Dawson was a special feature of the Edinburgh sale – much of it presented in job lots and multiples.

One such, presenting a range of mostly American and British magic equipment catalogues, books, etc, reached £3000 and another offering a variety of tricks and equipment made £1900.

Sold at £2200 was a two-album collection of some 316 magicians’ bookplates assembled by David Price of the Egyptian Hall Museum in Nashville, Tennessee, but later acquired by Dawson.

The costliest single book was Heinrich Cornelius Agrippa von Nettesheim’s ‘Fourth’ Book of Occult Philosophy… A small quarto volume in a modern half calf binding, this 1655, first English translation of the 1533 Latin original sold for a rather higher than expected £3800. English translations of the first three books had been published in 1651.


A leaf from the 1655, first English translation of the ‘Fourth’ Book of Occult Philosophy' of Heinrich Cornelius Agrippa von Nettesheim, sold for £3800 at Lyon & Turnbull.

Another of the older and more expensive lots was a 1727 first of Daniel Defoe’s A System of Magick; or, a History of the the Black Art. The contemporary calf binding was broken and had new lettering pieces, but it sold at £1200 (for more details, see Previews, ATG No 2460).

A 1789, ninth edition in a modern binding of Henry Dean’s well-known work, The Whole Art of Legerdemain, or Hocus Pocus in Perfection, sold at £800.

Shepard ‘Piglet’

And now for something completely different – a simple ink drawing of ‘Piglet’, signed by EH Shepard using just his initials, made £5000.