A letter from Mao Zedong to the leader of the Labour Party, and future Prime Minister, Clement Attlee was the top lot of our December English Literature and History sale. This important letter, written in 1937, is an exceptionally rare early example of Mao’ssignature and was sold for £605,000 to a private collector.
This result contributed to a final total for the sale of £1,642,825. Other highlights included The Proclamation of Independence of the Irish Republic (1916), one of only a small number of surviving copies, which sold for £305,000. A substantial part of the sale comprised material relating to the Kelmscott Press from the archive of Robert Catterson-Smith, which prompted competitive bidding with 89% of lots sold. Elsewhere in private press, the Golden Cockerel Press collection of Canadian collector the late Gary Prouk, part of whose library we offered in our July sale, also achieved strong prices.
A highlight of the children’s books, a signed copy of the first deluxe illustrated edition of Harry Potter and the Philopsher’s Stone, published this yearand sold to benefit Lumos, far exceeded its presale estimate to be sold for £13,750.
An exceptional highlight of this sale is the highly important Private Press archive of Robert Catterson-Smith for the Kelmscott Press. This rich collection of 47 lots includes original artwork – with many pieces incorporating suggestions by Edward Burne-Jones – and Kelmscott books inscribed by Morris. The sale also includes important historical documents and letters, notably a copy of the Proclamation of the Independence of the Irish Republic (1916) and an exceptionally rare letter signed by Mao Zedong; important English Literature from Chaucer to Joyce; a fine Golden Cockerel Press collection; and original illustrations by Beatrix Potter, E.H. Shepard, and others.