Our annual Fifty Fine Items selection brings together fifty standout collectibles from the 13th to the 21st century.
ACOSTA, Jose de. The Naturall and Morall Historie of the East and West Indies.
London : 1604First edition in English of "the most convincing, detailed, and reliable account" of the Americas at this time, in a notably attractive contemporary binding (Hill). While this influential work is well-held institutionally it is scarce in commerce, and especially so in a contemporary binding, with only five such copies appearing at auction in the last... Learn More£18,750.00
Stock Code: 141468
BEARDSLEY, Aubrey (illus.); MALORY, Sir Thomas. The Birth, Life, and Acts of King Arthur,
London : 1893First Beardsley edition of Malory's Arthurian epic, this copy in a stunning example of Cedric Chivers's "vellucent" bindings, hand-painted after Beardsley's own artwork within. This copy presents Beardsley's decadent version of Malory's Chivalric romance, noted for illustrations "shockingly overt in their sexuality and eroticism", as a thoroughly luxurious... Learn More£16,500.00
Stock Code: 140967
BIBLE; Latin, Vulgate. Bible, with prologues and the Interpretations of Hebrew Names, illuminated manuscript in Latin.
[England, doubtless Oxford : mid 13th century]PROVENANCE
(1) PROBABLY WRITTEN AND ILLUMINATED IN OXFORD, between c.1240 and c.1260, as suggested by the illumination, text, and layout.
(2) In use in England in the later 13th century when marginal notes, variant readings, etc. were added by more than one reader, one of whom noted below Nahum chapter 2 that the text differs greatly from... Learn More£97,500.00
Stock Code: 144627
CANTILLON, Richard. Essai sur la nature du commerce en général.
London Fletcher Gyles [but Paris : 1755First edition. This copy is one of a very small number to contain at the end a copy of Barrois's catalogue of publications for sale, which lists Cantillon's work with his initial.
Richard Cantillon (c.1680-1734) was an Irish-born banker and economist, forced to emigrate to continental Europe by the Williamite confiscations. He honed his financial... Learn More£57,500.00
Stock Code: 142911
CERVANTES SAAVEDRA, Miguel de. The History of Don-Quichote.
London : 1620First complete edition in English of the hugely influential prose chivalric romance, which found its greatest popularity outside Spain in England: second edition of the first part, first edition of the second, translated by Dublin-born Thomas Shelton.
"The signs of haste in the translation, which took Shelton only forty days, do not hide his... Learn More£120,000.00
Stock Code: 139220
COOK, James - HAWKESWORTH, John. An Account of the Voyages undertaken by the order of His Present Majesty for making Discoveries in the Southern Hemisphere, and successively performed by Commodore Byron, Captain Wallis, Captain Carteret and Captain Cook, in the Dolphin, the Swallow, and
London : 1773-84Second and best edition of the first voyage, first edition of the second and third voyages. A highly desirable complete set of the official accounts of Cook's three Pacific voyages in the preferred editions and with an excellent provenance, the atlas folio volume containing an extra suite of "Admiralty" plates from the second voyage in superb early... Learn More£60,000.00
Stock Code: 141440
DICKENS, Charles. Bleak House.
London : 1853First edition, a dedication copy, inscribed by the author on the dedication page "Charles Knight from Charles Dickens third October 1853", the recipient being the publisher Charles Knight, a member of the Guild of Literature and Art, to whom the book is dedicated: "as a remembrance of our friendly union, to my companions in the Guild of Literature and... Learn More£125,000.00
Stock Code: 143179
FLEMING, Ian. Casino Royale.
London : 1953First edition, first impression, in the first issue dust jacket, presentation copy, inscribed by the author, "To Tony, Read & Burn, Ian".
This is a wonderful association copy: the recipient was his friend Anthony Kemsley (later to become Sir Anthony Berry), the youngest son of Viscount Kemsley, a significant figure in Fleming's life. Kemsley,... Learn More£95,000.00
Stock Code: 142545
GALILEI, Galileo. Difesa... Contro alle Calunnie & imposture di Baldessar Capra Milanese,
Venice : 1607Rare first edition of the second published work of this most famous of 17th-century scientists, in which Galileo glories in his defeat of Baldassar Capra, who had plagiarized his work. He also describes the applications of his compass, his first significant scientific invention.
Galileo's first published work, Le Operazioni del compasso geometrico... Learn More£175,000.00
Stock Code: 138789
HARRISON, John. The Principles of Mr. Harrison's Time-Keeper, with plates of the same.
London : 1767First edition of the primary account of the invention of the marine chronometer, which revolutionized the science of navigation. "There was no comparable advance in navigational aids until the development of radar in the twentieth century" (Norman).
In 1714, the Board of Longitude offered a substantial reward of 20,000 to anyone who could find... Learn More£100,000.00
Stock Code: 138402
JEFFERYS, Thomas. The American Atlas:
London : 1775First edition of this celebrated atlas, "the chief publication used by English and American officers during the American Revolution" (Karpinski) and "one of the most authoritative and comprehensive atlases of America" (Ristow), with large maps of 11 of the 13 colonies, and of French Canada.
As Geographer to the Prince of Wales, and subsequently... Learn More£135,000.00
Stock Code: 141814
JOHNSON, Samuel - BOSWELL, James. The Life of Samuel Johnson,
London : 1791First edition, first state (p. 135, vol. 1, uncorrected, reading "gve"), of the most famous biography in any language. The immense task of compiling the thousands of notes Boswell had recorded on "the great man's talk, habits and opinions" was begun after Johnson's death in 1784. Made up of trifling incidents as well as the significant events in Johnson's... Learn More£42,500.00
Stock Code: 141441
JOHNSON, Samuel. A Dictionary of the English Language:
London : 1755First edition, the superb Garden copy, uncut in original boards. Although in Fleeman's estimation half of the 2,000 copies printed survive, he adds: "few copies survive in booksellers' boards, and all such have restored spines, for when standing upright, the contents are too heavy for the binding cords". The unrestored state of this copy therefore makes... Learn More£275,000.00
Stock Code: 141333
JOYCE, James. Dubliners.
London : 1914First edition, first impression, first issue, inscribed by the author on the initial blank, "To Beatrice Randegger James Joyce Trieste 19 June 1914". The official publication date in London was a few days earlier, Monday 15 June, but Joyce was in Trieste and did not receive the first of the 120 copies he had agreed to buy from Grant Richards until the... Learn More£195,000.00
Stock Code: 142306
JOYCE, James. A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man.
London : 1916First edition, UK issue. Inscribed on the front free endpaper to Frederick Britten Austin, with Austin's note "signed for me F. Britten Austin" followed, in Joyce's hand, "by James Joyce Paris 1.1.39". The English writer Austin (1885-1941) published various short story collections, chiefly on military, maritime, and supernatural themes. Austin was a... Learn More£100,000.00
Stock Code: 140235
KANDINSKY, Wassily. Klänge.
Munich : (1913)First edition, first printing, one of 300 numbered copies signed in pencil by Kandinsky (there was also 45 hors commerce). Klänge (Sounds) consists of 38 prose-poems he wrote between 1909 and 1911 and 56 woodcuts he began in 1907. Kandinsky described Klänge as a "musical album". The woodcuts were not merely illustrative, nor were the poems purely... Learn More£80,000.00
Stock Code: 142954
KLIMT, Gustav. Das Werk.
Vienna : 1914First edition, only printing, one of an edition of 300, numbered 53 in blue pen. This portfolio of prints was the only editioned set produced during Klimt's lifetime and was a collaborative project between himself and the Viennese Gallery, Miethke. Klimt himself chose what he regarded as his most important works to be printed and oversaw the production.... Learn More£135,000.00
Stock Code: 142540
KRUSENSTERN, Adam Johann von. Voyage autour du monde, fait dans les années 1803, 1804, 1805 et 1806,
Paris : 1821First edition in French of the first Russian circumnavigation, one of the most significant Pacific voyages after Cook, presented here in superior condition in a choice period binding, complete with the rare atlas of plates, "very important and difficult to obtain" (Hill). A highly desirable set.
Krusenstern (Ivan Fedorovich Kruzenshtern, 1770-1846)... Learn More£25,000.00
Stock Code: 143059
LAWRENCE, T. E. Seven Pillars of Wisdom.
[London : 1926One of the Cranwell or "Subscriber's" edition, one of only five special copies with the additional Blair Hughes-Stanton wood-engraving, this an outstanding presentation copy from Lawrence to his friend Col. Robert Buxton, his former comrade-in-arms who arranged financing of the subscriber's edition, inscribed on the first blank: "R.V.B.'s own copy,... Learn More£125,000.00
Stock Code: 144013
LIVINGSTONE, David. A portion of the original manuscript of Missionary Travels and Researches in South Africa,
London : 1857A remarkable fragment, the only portion of the original manuscript of Missionary Travels known to remain in private hands. We understand that all other manuscript material is held in the John Murray Archive at the National Library of Scotland. Together with an autograph letter signed from Livingstone's sister, sending the manuscript fragment, and a... Learn More£65,000.00
Stock Code: 139047
MEDINA, Pedro de. Regimiento de navegacion.
Seville : 1552Very rare first edition of Medina's great navigational treatise, an appealing copy in contemporary vellum. Praised for its fine woodcuts, which are among the earliest to depict man's use of astrolabes, the Regimiento offers the essentials of seamanship in a practical format, and was intended for ship-born pilots; Francis Drake carried a copy during... Learn More£225,000.00
Stock Code: 139149
MELVILLE, Herman. White Jacket; or, the World in a Man-of-War.
London : 1850First edition, first issue, of Melville's emblematic fifth novel, which did much to influence the congressional prohibition of naval flogging in September 1850. Copies of the first issue are notably rare in any state, and exceptionally so with the original cloth in such a fine state of preservation.
The British edition, preceding its American... Learn More£60,000.00
Stock Code: 138349
MILNE, A. A. - SHEPARD, Ernest H. (illus.) "So he sat down on the stone in the middle of the stream, and sang another verse of his song, while he wondered what to do".
E. H. Shepard's original drawing for the first edition of The House at Pooh Corner, signed by him lower left and with his ownership inscription on the verso, "Ernest H. Shepard Shamley Green Guildford". The drawing was used in the opening scene of chapter 4 on p. 55 "in which it is shown that Tiggers don't climb trees", with Winnie-the-Pooh depicted... Learn More£125,000.00
Stock Code: 140785
PTOLEMAEUS, Claudius. Cosmographia.
Vicenza : 1475First edition, an exceptional, unsophisticated copy with wide margins, of the most celebrated geographical treatise of classical antiquity; an edition of the greatest rarity, and a monumental achievement of geographical knowledge and a cornerstone of the European tradition.
The Cosmographia, or Geography, divided into eight books, was produced... Learn More£450,000.00
Stock Code: 142241
ROOSEVELT, Franklin D. White House portfolio.
Washington, D.C. : 1942-5A superbly evocative memento of the wartime FDR White House, a handsome commercial leather portfolio personalised for Roosevelt's use and containing some twenty leaves of various White House stationery and printed appointment documents all signed by Roosevelt in preparation for use. Such personal artefacts relating to FDR rarely appear on the open market.... Learn More£75,000.00
Stock Code: 142981
SMITH, Adam. The Theory of Moral Sentiments.
London : 1759First edition, published in April 1759 with a recorded "print run of 1,000 copies" (Sher, Early Editions of Adam's Smith's Books, 13). Smith's first book and his later Wealth of Nations demonstrate "a great unifying principle Smith's ethics and his economics are integrated by the same principle of self-command, or self-reliance, which manifests itself... Learn More£85,000.00
Stock Code: 143924
SMITH, Adam. An Inquiry into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations.
London : 1776First edition, a superb copy by both binding and association: in its first binding - a beautiful and highly finished gilt contemporary calf - purchased and inscribed within a month of publication by Scottish physician and customs official Thomas Moffatt (c.1702-1787), shortly before emigrating from London to America. The first edition of the Wealth... Learn More£300,000.00
Stock Code: 136834
STRABO. De situ orbis.
Venice : 1516Editio princeps, that is, the first edition in the original Greek, of the first attempt at a unified treatise of geographical knowledge, which is "by far the most important source for ancient geography, a priceless document of the Augustan age, and a compendium of important material derived from lost authors" (Oxford Classical Dictionary, p. 1447).... Learn More£75,000.00
Stock Code: 142408
SUIDAS. Lexicon graecum [Greek].
Milan : 1499Editio princeps of the archetypal Greek encyclopaedic dictionary, the largest Greek book to be printed in the 15th century; the sole extant source for many lost texts, the sole bearer of decisive variants for many other texts, and the most comprehensive witness to Byzantine culture and scholarship at the end of the first millennium.
As a printed... Learn More£65,000.00
Stock Code: 141308
THOREAU, Henry D. Walden; or, Life in the Woods.
Boston : 1854First edition. Following the failure of his first book, A Week on the Concord and Merrimack Rivers, Walden was not a runaway success. The edition of 2,000 took five years to sell through, but it was from the very first an immensely influential text, and remains so today: "For almost a hundred years an inspiration to nature lovers, to philosophers, to... Learn More£32,500.00
Stock Code: 143773
TOLKIEN, J. R. R. Six letters signed to George Sayer.
Oxford : 1953-1966Six letters signed from J. R. R. Tolkien to his close friend George Sayer, with whom he made the first recorded readings of The Lord of the Rings and who was key in giving Tolkien the confidence to publish it after being rejected by nearly every major British publisher, including Tolkien's own publisher, Collins. This is a highly desirable set of correspondence... Learn More£85,000.00
Stock Code: 142718
VARTHEMA, Ludovico di. Ludovici Patritii Romani novum itinerarium Aethiopiae: Aegypti: utriusque Arabiae: Persidis: Siriae: ac Indiae: intra et extra Ganges.
Milan : 1511]Notably rare first Latin edition of Varthema's influential account of his undercover travel through the Ottoman Empire, Safavid Persia, and India, "one of the most remarkable travel books of the Renaissance" (Blackmer), a copy with significant provenance, from the library of the highly cultured imperial secretary Jacopo Bannisio, with his ownership... Learn More£150,000.00
Stock Code: 142207
WHITMAN, Walt. Leaves of Grass.
Brooklyn, NY : 1855First edition, first state binding. The first edition of Leaves of Grass was self-published by Whitman. His money ran tight as production continued and the bindings became progressively less elaborate. Only 337 copies were bound in the deluxe first binding with gilt border, edges gilt and marbled endpapers, as here. A total of 795 copies were eventually... Learn More£250,000.00
Stock Code: 143598
WILDE, Oscar. The Picture of Dorian Gray.
London : 1891First edition in book form, signed limited issue, number 150 of 250 copies signed by the author, this copy notably uncommon due to its attractive and well-preserved condition.
The story was first published in Lippincott's Monthly Magazine, July 1890, and was substantially revised for book publication, with six new chapters. The misprinted "nd"... Learn More£37,500.00
Stock Code: 144066
WITTGENSTEIN, Ludwig. "Logisch-Philosophische Abhandlung."
Leipzig : 1921First edition, first issue, of the extremely rare German language journal publication of Wittgenstein's earliest published work, published as pages 185-262 of volume XIV, parts 3 & 4 of Ostwald's Annalen der Philosophie, the entire issue paginated 185-308, plus the title page and table of contents leaf for the whole volume. The journal further includes... Learn More£75,000.00
Stock Code: 143905