Complete with Camberwell Public Library ownership stamp, a leaf from the the 1893, Kelmscott Press edition of The History of Godefrey of Boloyne… sold by Mallams at £3200.

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A translation by William Caxton of a 12th century work by William of Tyre, this copy boasted handsome woodcut borders and initials by William Morris.

It was a copy labelled as having been a gift to Camberwell Public Libraries that was made in memory of her late husband by Jane Morris.

Less of an attraction, perhaps, it had acquired a public library bookplate and ownership stamp to that effect, as the illustration above reveals.

The white vellum binding was rubbed and there was some internal discolouration, but it sold at £3200 rather than the suggested £400-600 in a Mallams (25% buyer’s premium) auction in Oxford on February 9.

Odyssey and death

Bid online to that same sum were both a 1932 edition of TE Lawrence’s translation of The Odyssey of Homer and, against a very modest estimate of just £100-200, a lot said to offer some 400 books relating to ‘Death, Undertaking, Epitaphs, Graveyards, the Psychology and Culture of Death and Dying’.


An illustration from a copy of Thomas Moore’s The Ferns of Great Britain and Ireland of 1855, a work edited for publication by John Lindley and printed by Henry Bradbury. The half calf and green cloth binding was loose, but if complete with all of its plates, then the online bid of £1800 that secured this copy at the Mallams auction was perhaps rather nearer the mark than a very modest estimate of £70-150 had suggested.

Titled ‘Afghanistan/ Secret/1880-1884’ on the spine of the half calf binding and intended for the use of government offices, a volume containing printed memoranda relating to ‘Campaigns and Political Issues in Afghanistan and India’ was sold for £2300.

Guided at £200-400, it also contained a signed letter in the hand of General Charles George Gordon, addressed to the editor of The Times.