One of the four sheets that make up the 1935 War Office reprint of Captain EF Hunter’s 'Map of Arabia and The Persian Gulf' – £5800 at Mallams.

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Against a guide of £200-300, it was sold by Mallams (25% buyer’s premium) for £5800.

Perhaps the fact that this four-sheet map was only a 1935 War Office reprint, not the original publication of 1908, had guided that valuation.

Another impressive performer was one of the many works relating to voyages undertaken in search of the missing Sir John Franklin expedition in search of a Northwest Passage.

Though it is James Mangle’s greatly enlarged, 1852 second edition that is most prized, an ex-library copy of the 1851, original edition of Expedition Papers and Dispatches relating to the Arctic Searching Expeditions of 1850-51…, which ran to just 49pp, sold at £3400. It was, however, a copy inscribed to another famous Arctic explorer, Captain Frederick William Beechey.

‘Lawiers Logike’


The Newport Public Library stamp on the title-page is rather an eyesore, but this 1588 first of Abraham Fraunce’s 'The Lawyers Logike…' managed a record £3800 in Oxford.

The Lawiers Logike, exemplifying the Praecepts of Logike by the Practise of the Common Lawe of 1588 is a work by Abraham Fraunce, a Shropshire-born lawyer, poet and protégé of Sir Philip Sidney.

Fraunce’s Encyclopaedia Britannica entry defines him as a determined classicist who wrote all his English verse in classical hexameters, making his poetry rather awkward and unreadable. This legal work, although an ex-library copy bearing labels, stamps and pencil annotations and in a later full calf binding, made a record £3800.

Gardening historian

The Oxford auction on April 22 also included books from the library of a gardening historian and writer, the late Peter Hayden (1928-2019). During National Service in the Intelligence Corps, Hayden trained as a Russian interpreter and years later his research into Russian gardens for a 2005 book earned him a Gold Medal from the Russian Academy of Arts.

This, said Mallams, made him the first foreigner to receive the award since it was introduced by Catherine the Great.

Hayden lots included English language translations by John James of the works by the French writer Antoine Joseph Dezallier d’Argenville. Sold at £850 and £800 were first (1712) and second (1728) English editions of his Theory of Gardening…, illustrated with numerous double-page or folding plates.


The pineapple frontispiece and title-page of John Abercrombie’s 'The Hot House Gardener…' of 1789 – £850 at Mallams.

Illustrated above, however, is the frontispiece and title-page of John Abercrombie’s The Hot House Gardener or the General Culture of the Pine-apple and Methods of forcing Early Grapes, Peaches, Nectarines and other Choice Fruits.

Published in 1789 and illustrated with five plates in all, this Hayden copy was in later plain boards and showing its age but still made a record £850.