Though the auction house had hoped it might make a somewhat higher sum, a 1672 first in a recent binding of The True Prophecies or Prognostications of Michael Nostradamus… offered as part of a November 10 sale held by Halls (22% buyer’s premium) still ended up as the day’s most expensive lot.
As the accompanying illustration reveals, this folio work’s full title continues with the words ...Physician to Henry II, Francis II and Charles IX, King of France, and One of the Best Astronomers that ever were.
Exhibiting some spotting, browning and show through to other pages, it retained good margins, and in its recent binding of quarter calf over marbled boards it sold for a lowestimate £3000 in Shrewsbury.
The auction record for The True Prophecies… remains at $22,000, the sum paid for the Tollemache-Pirie copy at a 2015 Sotheby’s New York sale, but that copy had boasted a contemporary binding that, though slightly defective, did bear the gilt cypher of Charles II.
An even earlier lot was John Beale’s Herefordshire Orchards, A Pattern for all England. Taking the form of an epistolary address to Samuel Hartlib Esq, this small octavo work of 1657 had been rebound in limp vellum and to period style. It sold at £750.
Other highlights included, at what may be a record £800, one of 525 signed and numbered copies of an undated (but c.1913) edition of The Tale of Lohengrin, Knight of the Swan… illustrated by Willy Pogany.
Described at great length in the catalogue were a couple of lots presenting military memoirs and letters, one of which related in chilling detail the brutal, bloody experiences of Major General John Soame Richardson, CB (1836-96) during the Crimean Wars. That lot sold online at £700.