A plate from the 1822 Mantell volume The Fossils of the South Downs… sold for £2000 by Toovey’s – in this instance one that shows a certain amount of spotting. It was sold bound together with a copy of Mantell’s The Geology of Sussex, 1827.

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Bound together in near contemporary half calf and marbled paper boards, they were offered in a a July 26 sale held by Toovey’s (24.5% buyer’s premium) of Washington.

The earlier work by the multi-talented English obstetrician, geologist and palaeontologist was The Fossils of the South Downs; or Illustrations of the Geology of Sussex.

Dating from 1822, it is illustrated with 42 aquatint plates, three or four of them hand coloured. They were produced by Mantell’s wife, Mary Ann (née Woodhouse), who had herself discovered at Lyme Regis the fossilised remains of what later came to be identified as an iguanodon.*


A copy of Mantell’s The Geology of Sussex, 1827, sold for £2000 by Toovey’s (it was bound together with a 1822 Mantell volume The Fossils of the South Downs…).

A folding and coloured sectional plan and 21 litho plates illustrate the later work with which it was bound, a copy of Mantell’s The Geology of Sussex… of 1827.

Compared with most other copies recorded at auction this was a good outcome, but in a 2014 sale Dominic Winter recorded what remains an exceptional and record bid of £6800 on a volume containing both of these key publications.

* The couple’s palaeontological collaboration and indeed their marriage later ended in divorce. Gideon died of an opium overdose in 1852; Mary Ann died in 1869.