The second sale of the Brooke-Hitching library attracted bids from around the world and again set many new auction records. Only 2 lots were unsold out of the 350 lots offered.
The top price was £458,500 for the Grenville-Crawford-Rosebery copy of Hakluyt’s Principal Navigations (1598-1600), which included the very rare Wright-Molyneuz world map. This was the first time a copy of this book with the map had been sold at auction since 1932. A complete set of Dalrymple’s maps and charts published up to 1788 sold for £302,500, and a copy of Matthew Flinders’s Observations on the coasts of Van Diemen’s Land (1801), bound with the 3 charts, sold for £290,500. A complete collection of all 7 octavo Dobbs-Middleton controversy pamphlets bound in three uniform contemporary calf volumes sold for £212,500 and a fine copy of Darwin’s Narrative of the Surveying Voyages of his Majesty's Ships Adventure and Beagle (1839) sold for £182,500, more than double the previous auction world record.
Over 40 years, Franklin Brooke-Hitching assembled the finest private collection of English language books relating to voyages, exploration and discovery from 16th century to 1930s. Together, they tell the story of mankind’s persistent quest - over half a millennium - to explore and understand the world. Many books are unique or very rare presentation copies from the authors, or in fine bindings, and all are notable for being in the finest condition imaginable. Brooke-Hitching’s library also contains books on science, medicine and natural history; including works on the health of seafarers, astronomy, the calculation of longitude and whaling.
Sotheby’s second sale (featuring authors D-J) will take place on 30 September 2014, with two further sales to be held in spring and autumn 2015.