The double-page bison plate, looking tightly cropped but often lacking, from a 1712 edition of the Commentaries of Julius Caesar sold by Potter & Potter at $12,000 (£9230).

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One of the earlier works at Potter & Potter (20% buyer’s premium) was a copy of the Commentaries of Julius Caesar edited by Samuel Clarke and printed by Jacob Tonson. Complete with a double-page plate of a bison that is often missing, it made $12,000 (£9230) – a record for this 1712 edition.

Containing 30 plates inspired by his own collection of fossil remains, all engraved bar the imaginative litho frontispiece by John Martin reproduced here, an 1840 first of the paleontologist and collector Thomas Hawkins’ Book of the Great Sea-Dragons, Ichthyosauri and Plesiosauri…Extinct Monsters of the Ancient Earth made $6000 (£4615) at the October 10 sale.

Hawkins’ specimens are still to be found in London’s Natural History Museum.


An imaginative frontispiece produced by John Martin for Thomas Hawkins’ Book of the Great Sea-Dragons, Ichthyosauri and Plesiosauri… which made $6000 (£4615) at Potter & Potter.

Mahler memories

The dust jacket was rather poor, but a presentation copy of Gustav Mahler: Memories and Letters of 1946, inscribed for presentation by the author, his wife and fellow composer, Alma, sold at $3000 (£2310). Laid in were an autograph letter, a telegram, photographs and other ephemera.

Perhaps rather modestly estimated at just $250-350 but sold for $2800 (£2155) was a handsomely bound, two volume first of William Cullen Bryant’s Picturesque America… of 1872-74, a work illustrated with 49 full-page steel engraved plates and with numerous wood engravings in the text.

The only copy to have made more is a ‘Centennial’ edition of 1876 that in a contemporary vellum binding made $4750 at Sotheby’s New York in 2012.