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A sizeable run of shelving in a Gloucestershire sale must have been given over to the many printed volumes and manuscripts that made up one rather unusual collection.

Focused on the administration of the Spanish Empire, it was formed by Gaspar Elordi Albizu (1804-52), a lawyer and diplomat, Deputy for Navarra in the Cortes and for many years the Chief Justice in the Philippines.

Dominic Winter (20% buyer’s premium) acknowledged the valuable assistance of specialist bookdealer Paul Orssich in cataloguing the collection, but setting estimates on such rare and unusual material must have been difficult.

The top lot in South Cerney auction on September 9-10, bid to £21,000 rather than the estimated £400-600, was one that presented a collection of 21 royal decrees (all bar one printed) that dated from the years 1753-87.

Where single volumes are concerned, one of the more successful was a copy of a work by Manuel del Castillo y Negreto. His Remedio Politico, y Civil… of 1779 details the proposed construction of a hospice for beggars, fallen women and orphans. In a richly gilt contemporary calf binding, now somewhat rubbed and scuffed, it sold at £6200.

Power of the Worde

Along with those lots illustrated and described on this page, other highlights of this 750-lot sale included, at £10,500, a copy in later vellum of the second Wynkyn de Worde edition of William Lyndwood’s Constitutiones provinciales ecclesiae Anglica[na]e.

One of only seven recorded copies of this 1499 edition of a classic account of English canon law – written in the years 1422-32 and first printed in 1483 – it lacked a couple of leaves, one of which bore only a printer’s device.

It also had several other shortcomings of condition, added marginalia, etc, but those other survivors are all now in UK or US institutional collections.

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Woodcut depicting a bishop appears on the defective, repaired and later annotated title-page of Wynkyn de Worde’s 1499 edition of 'Constitutiones provinciales ecclesiae Anglic[na]e' sold at £10,500 in South Cerney.

A 1633, fourth edition of Thomas Fale’s Horologiographia..., the earliest English treatise on the design of sundials, sold at £4000.

Later literary lots included, at £5000, an 1831, third edition of Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein… Extensively revised, it was issued as the ninth volume in Bentley’s ‘Standard Novels’ series, where it was accompanied by the first part only of Schiller’s The Ghost Seer.

Finally, a note on one of 265 large folio copies of Henry H Crealock’s Deer-Stalking in the Highlands of Scotland of 1892 that made a record £1500. Illustrated with 40 autotype plates, this copy had acquired a 20th century binding of red half morocco with gilt stag’s head devices to the spine.