Plenty of maps could be found in the Dominic Winter (20% buyer’s premium) sale of June 15-16, a great many of them in the form of geographical playing cards.
Sold at £13,000 was a very rare set of playing cards that featured British county maps.
Published by John Lenthall c.1717, this near-complete set of 49 cards was a re-issue of an earlier set of Robert Morden’s playing cards – without the normal foliate borders that identify a Lenthall issue – and was determined to form a rare first state deck.
The Bodleian Library has a set of just 18 of these cards and Yale boasts a group of 17, but this deck in its specially constructed, book-form case was in an altogether different class.
Another Lenthall deck of Geographical Cards of England, with part of Scotland, Ireland… was one based on a map engraved by James Moxon and dating from c.1712-17. With ace cards that feature a printed description and lists of counties, this deck also made £13,000.
Other decks of cards on offer featured figures representative of gods and goddesses, historical figures, maps of the nations of the world, musical notation, cards documenting the reign of Queen Anne, ‘Love Cards’, and more.
In another section of the South Cerney sale an estimate of £300-500 was demolished when bidding soared for a group of five works presenting type specimens, or Epreuves des Caractères… from Paris, Brussels, Harlem and Strasbourg foundries. Three of them appear to be unrecorded in institutional collections.
Varying in size from around 30 to 90 leaves but bound together in contemporary mottled calf, this unusual group sold at £14,000.
Published at 16
Among the books themselves, one notable lot was a presentation first of Victoria Sackville-West’s first published work, Chatterton: A Drama in Three Acts.
It was printed in Sevenoaks when she was just 16 and at her own expense – £5 for what is thought to have been a run of only 100 copies.
This rare survivor showed a few textual corrections which, said the auctioneers, might be in her own hand. Sold at £6400, it also bore a brief presentation inscription to “Aunt Mary from Vita…”, presumably Lady Leonora Mary Sackville, it was suggested.