However, it was topped at £38,000 by a 1713, second edition of his Principia Mathematica that Isaac Newton gave to John Wickins.
For some 18 years the two men shared chambers at Trinity College, Cambridge, where Wickins functioned as Newton’s amanuensis, copying up his notes, turning their rooms into a laboratory and acting as his unpaid assistant until leaving to take up the living of Stoke Edith in Pembrokeshire.
Bid to £20,000 apiece at the June 24 sale were presentation copies of two very different works indeed: Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and James Joyce’s Ulysses.
The former was a copy of the 1866, first published edition of Alice... that is inscribed on the title for Margaret Evelyn Hardy, the young daughter of Gathorne Gathorne-Hardy, who in the following year was made the home secretary.
Bound in 1981 in full black goatskin by Sally Lou Smith, the copy of Ulysses (a 9th printing of 1927) was one that Joyce had inscribed for HG Wells, an early admirer who had described it in a review as “a book to buy and read and lock up, but... not a book to miss”.
A handsomely bound copy of the 1894, Kelmscott edition of William Morris’ The Story of the Glittering Plain... was part of the Mary Smith collection of fine bindings, private press and illustrated books.
In an elaborately inlaid binding thought to have been produced for Rivière by Alfred de Sauty, the Kelmscott work sold at £25,000, but several private press lots made five-figure sums. Two from the Ashendene Press are noted here.
One of 20 copies printed on vellum of the 1906 Ashendene edition of Thomas More’s ...Utopia, bound in plain brown morocco by WH Smith, sold at £22,000, while one of 25 vellum copies of the 1904 edition of A Book of Songs and Poems from the Old Testament and the Apocrypha in plain, brown stained limp vellum, realised £19,000.
Another section of the sale was given over to works by Sylvia Plath and Ted Hughes that came from the collections of their daughter, Frieda Hughes, who was just three years old when her mother took her own life.
Among several copies of Sylvia Plath’s The Bell Jar of 1963 were two bearing Ted’s ownership signature that sold at £9000 and £9500, but the most expensive lot in this property, at £22,000, comprised 22 copies of Sylvia’s first separately printed poem, A Winter Ship.
Stitched in stiff card and marbled paper wrappers, they were part of an issue of around 60 copies produced free of charge in 1960 by Alan Anderson of the Tragar Press in Edinburgh and many were sent out with Sylvia’s Christmas cards for that year.
Dating from c.1565, a rare copy of William Copland’s ...Arte or Crafte of Graftynge and Plantyng of Trees, featured as part of a special books preview section of ATG No 2448, sold at a low-estimate £9000.