First edition, first printing of the first book in Marcel Proust's monumental À la Recherche du Temps Perdu (Remembrance of Things Past), estimate £1000-1500 at Bearnes Hamptons & Littlewood.

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The Antiquarian Book Auction at Bearnes Hamptons & Littlewood on October 29 will include this first edition, first printing of the first book in Marcel Proust's monumental À la Recherche du Temps Perdu (Remembrance of Things Past). Du Côté de Chez Swann, dated November 8, 1913, with the first edition points, has an estimate of £1000-1500 in Exeter.*

The Rare Books sale at Ketterer Kunst in Hamburg on May 27 includes this first edition dedication copy of Das Kapital (1867).

It is inscribed by Marx to Wilhelm Strohn, a cloth merchant and political liberal who had conducted the negotiations with the Hamburg publisher Otto Meißner. Strohn’s friendship with Marx and Engels went back to the time of the Cologne Labour Education Association at the end of the 1840s but their relationship developed in the mid-1860s when Strohn helped find a suitable publisher for Das Kapital.

This, seemingly unread copy (some some of the leaves are still stuck together at the edges) comes for sale from the family of the dedicatee with a guide of €120,000.*


Ralph Ayres recipes, estimated £2000-3000 at Bellmans.

Ralph Ayres is recorded as being head cook at New College, Oxford, at various times in the 18th century. Several manuscripts bearing his name are known, each of them containing a similar set of recipes that demonstrate the elaborate traditions and cuisine of an Oxford college dining hall in the Georgian period.

This discovery comes for sale at Bellmans in Billingshurst, West Sussex, on July 17 with a guide of £2000-3000. Inscribed Radolphus Ayres, Cook, Oxford, 1722, it contains 69 recipes on 38 leaves and a floral-patterned binding that is near identical to two similar manuscripts: one in the archives of New College itself (dated 1719) and another in the Bodleian Library (dated 1721) that was recently published as Ralph Ayres’ Cookery Book.*


Elements of the Crosby-Schøyen Codex, estimated £2m-3m at Christie’s.

The Crosby-Schøyen Codex is the oldest known book in private hands. Written on papyrus in the Coptic language by one scribe at a monastery in Roman Egypt sometime around 250-300AD, its 1054 pages include the oldest complete versions of both the First Epistle of Peter and the Book of Jonah.

As Christianity spread across the Mediterranean in the years before the Council of Nicaea in 325, papyrus scrolls were slowly being replaced by the codex or book form. Discovered buried in a jar in the sand in Egypt in 1952, it was acquired at Sotheby’s in 1988 by the Norwegian manuscript collector Martin Schøyen for a family collection that now comprises 20,000 manuscripts.

Elements will be offered at Christie’s in London on June 11 when the Crosby-Schoyen Codex will be estimated at £2m-3m.


Pair of plates from Eadweard Muybridge’s Animal Locomotion, 1887, estimated £1200-1800 at Chiswick Auctions.

The Photography sale at west London firm Chiswick Auctions on June 6 includes this pair of plates from Eadweard Muybridge’s Animal Locomotion, 1887.

The collotypes depicting a male throwing a spear and two people walking side-by-side were both acquired at Christie’s New York in 2004 as part of the photography collection of Sir Elton John.

Estimate £1200-1800.*


This first edition of Samuel Taylor Coleridge’s Poems on Various Subjects (1796), estimated at £800-1200 at Lay’s.

This first edition of Samuel Taylor Coleridge’s Poems on Various Subjects (1796) has an estimate of £800-1200 at Lay’s in Penzance on May 23. Bound in full polished calf with gilt tooling and morocco labels, it has an ex libris label to front pastedown.*

Lyon & Turnbull’s Rare Books, Manuscripts, Maps & Photographs sale in Edinburgh on June 19 is led by this 1953 first-edition presentation copy of Casino Royale.

Complete with the first-issue dust jacket (without Sunday Times review to the front flap) it is inscribed by the author on the front free endpaper To I. S. M., who’s staunch keeping of the night watches freed the author for this extra-mural opus, Ian Fleming, April 1953. Ion Smeaton Munro (1883-1970) was Fleming’s night editor at Kemsley Newspapers (owner of the Sunday Times) where he worked as foreign manager after demobilisation in 1945. With Munro’s help he negotiated a contract which allowed him three months’ holiday a year, which he spent at his Jamaican retreat, Goldeneye, developing his writing career.

Munro was himself a soldier-adventurer much in the mould of Bond himself. He wrote two books about his experiences in Italy during the Second World War. A copy of a letter of thanks written by Fleming to Munro on Munro’s departure from Kemsley Newspapers is included with this lot which is estimated at £30,000-50,000.*

A complete set of four Beatrix Potter illustrations (three shown here), c.1890, covers the nursery rhyme This pig went to market. They were previously sold as part of the Hyde-Parker family collection at Sotheby’s in 1999 and again at a Sotheby’s sale of Children’s Books and Illustrations in 2012 when they were acquired by the present owner.

At Forum Auctions on May 30, the four drawings (the only complete set of illustrations by the artist for a nursery rhyme known to have survived) have a guide of £60,000-80,000.*

A copy of the Peacock edition of Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice carries an estimate of £600-800 as part of the Cotswold Auction Company’s Books, Medals, Militaria, Coins, Stamps and Collectables sale in Cheltenham on June 4.*


A signed set of all seven of the Harry Potter books together with paperbacks of Quidditch Through The Ages and Fantastic Beasts & Where To Find Them, estimated £8000-12,000 at Dominic Winter.

The June 20 sale at Dominic Winter includes a signed set of all seven of the Harry Potter books together with paperbacks of Quidditch Through The Ages and Fantastic Beasts & Where To Find Them.

These are mixed editions but all nine books are signed and inscribed by JK Rowling for ‘Sharie’. They are offered as a single lot with a guide of £8000-12,000.*


Presentation copy of A Christmas Carol, estimated at $200,000-300,000 at Sotheby’s New York.

This presentation copy of A Christmas Carol is inscribed and signed by Charles Dickens to Walter Savage Landor from his “affectionate friend”. Landor was a close associate of Dickens on whom the author based the character of Lawrence Boythorn in Bleak House. This is one of a handful of copies of A Christmas Carol inscribed by Dickens on December 17, 1843, two days before the official publication date, and the first day that the author saw copies of his famous novella.

Estimated at $200,000-300,000, it is among the many highlights of the collection of the Indiana-born surgeon Dr Rodney Swantko offered by Sotheby’s New York on June 26. The library is distinguished by its range of presentation copies of American and British literary first editions, bought by Swantko, typically as an anonymous phone bidder, at major auctions.

Included in Forum Auctions’ May 30 sale of Fine Books, Manuscripts and Works on Paper in south London are original contract letters agreed and signed by Oscar Wilde and Aubrey Beardsley with publishers Elkin Mathews and John Lane.

Dated June 8 and August 3, 1893, they reference the publication of Salomé, one of the most important literary and artistic collaborations for the period and Wilde’s Lady Windermere’s Fan, A Woman of No Importance and The Duchess of Padua as well as the unrealised enlarged version of The Portrait of Mr WH.

The agreement between the four parties, followed just months after the publication of Beardsley’s famous image of Salomé embracing the severed head of John the Baptist that had appeared in the first issue of the Studio magazine in April 1893. The young artist was to be paid the considerable fee of 50 guineas for his work.

Estimate £15,000-20,000.*

In a private collection since it was last sold in 1991, one of only two known autograph manuscripts by author and journalist Albert Camus of his masterpiece L’Etranger will be auctioned by Tajan in Paris on June 5.

Although signed and dated Avril 1940, the 104 pages were written in 1944 when the author, a member of the Resistance, was in dire need of money. It includes numerous corrections, variants and remarks from the published version and is also embellished with 13 original sketches in the margins.

The author’s wife Francine Camus (1914-79) later affirmed “that this manuscript was written in 1944, after the publication of L’Étranger, by Camus, under the dictation of [fellow novelist] Josette Clotis”, no doubt to satisfy the young writer’s need for money. L’Étranger stands as the third-most widely read French-language novel in the world.

As reproductions of extracts from the manuscript are not authorised, only the author’s signature and the binding are available for publication.

Estimate €500,000-800,000.


Royal licence issued during the reign of Edward III, estimated £20,000-30,000 at Bonhams.

Bonhams’ Fine Books, Maps and Manuscripts sale that runs online from June 7-19 includes this royal licence issued during the reign of Edward III.

Richly illuminated in gilt and colours on vellum and bearing a fine example of Edward III’s seventh or ‘Bretigny’ Great Seal, the document is dated Westminster 15 November 1368. It grants property and rents to David de Wollore (c.1300-70), Keeper of the Rolls, in return for rendering a divine service every day at the altar of St Andrew in Ripon minster.

Estimate: £20,000-30,000.*