Sold at £1500 at Bellmans was a Dutch Bible in what was was described as a contemporary ‘Lady’s Girdle Binding’ of tortoiseshell over vellum with foliate engraved silver fittings and clasps. Secured with a chain, the undated Bible – perhaps late 17th or early18th century? – it is just a little over 5in tall.

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The West Sussex saleroom found buyers for over 90% of the lots and and raised over £105,000 in all.

Sold at £9000 was a partly illuminated 1484, Venetian edition of Dante’s La Comedia with the commentary of Christophoro Landino. Now in a modern but old style calf binding, it was once part of the Strozzi family collections and later resident in London’s Athenaeum Library.

Printed in Mantua

In a gilt-lettered pigskin binding produced in 1905 by Katherine Adams for CH St John Hornby, a volume featuring some of the works of St Thomas Aquinas, as edited by Ludovicus of Cremona and printed in Mantua in 1474 or earlier, made £7000.


The Padeloup binding made for a 1761 edition of works by Ovid, sold for £2600 at Bellmans.

Another lot that did much better than predicted – at £2600 rather than the suggested £200-300 – was a 1762, Italian language, illustrated edition of the Epistole Eroiche of Ovid in a fine binding by Antoine Michel Padeloup, or Padeloup le Jeune.

Bid to £5000 was an 1821 first of Robert Willis’ Attempt to Analyse the Automaton Chess Player, an exposure of that famous fraud involving the ‘Mechanical Turk’ – a work that previewed in the special Books, Maps & Prints supplement published with ATG No 2491.

Also bid to £5000, and in this case a much, much higher than expected sum, was a three-volume set of Michael Faraday’s Experimental Researches in Electricity, the various parts dating from the years 1839-55.