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]A fine English manuscript Bible, probably written and illuminated in Oxford between c.1240 and c.1260, as suggested by the illumination, text, and layout. The palette, particularly the somewhat pale milky blue found in some of the major initials (e.g. Psalms, fol. 248v), in addition to the deep blue used for the chapter and verse initials, is characteristic... 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. [The three voyages:]
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
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
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
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
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
ROWLING, J. K. Original miniature manuscript.
A unique miniature Harry Potter manuscript handwritten and illustrated by J. K. Rowling, signed by her on the title page, and inscribed on the final page by her: "From Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone, by me." The manuscript relates to pp. 52-3 in Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone where Harry and Hagrid go to London to purchase his school... Learn More£125,000.00
Stock Code: 144022
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
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