Our English Literature, History, Children’s Books and Illustrations sale on 14 July achieved sale total of £1,449,734.
The top lot, selling for £275,000, was the Nobel Prize awarded to Hans Krebs in 1953 for the discovery of the Krebs Cycle, the process by which food is converted to energy within a cell. The sale of the medal will benefit the Hans Krebs Trust, which provides grants for the support of refugee scientists in the biomedical sciences.
Competitive bidding for our cover lot, a finely preserved example of a Service Enigma Machine, led to a final result of £149,000, far exceeding the presale estimate of £50,000 - £70,000. Further success in the science category included a collection of books by and related to Charles Darwin sold to benefit the Charles Darwin Trust from the libraries of Richard Keynes (1919-2010) and Quentin Keynes (1921-2003). This was led by a presentation first edition of The Descent of Man, inscribed by Darwin to his daughter Henrietta, sold for £112,500.
Elsewhere, we were delighted to achieve a price of £47,500 for Wellington’s Campaign Cloak, believed to have been worn at the Battle of Waterloo.
English Literature opened with an unrecorded variant of Tyndale’s New Testament, bought in a Cambridge bookshop in the 1960s and in the same private collection ever since. It was sold for £60,000, more than double the low estimate. Books from the library of the late Gary Prouk represented an exceptional and comprehensive collection of fin-de-siècle and private press material alongside fine modern first editions. These lots were recognised for their quality and attracted international bidding.
The closing section of the sale, comprising children’s literature and illustrations saw continued strong interest in these categories. Highlights included E.H. Shepard’s original ink drawing “Toad told Rat all his Adventures" which was sold for £22,500 against an estimate of £10,000 - £15,000, while Kay Nielsen’s watercolour “The Czarina held a great contest of archery" sold at its high estimate.
Our sale of English Literature, History, Children’s Books & Illustrations on 14 July includes significant material across the collecting categories.
The Nobel Prize awarded to Hans Krebs for the discovery of the citric acid cycle leads our morning session. This Nobel medal, complete with its Nobel Prize diploma, is sold to benefit the Hans Krebs Trust which provides grants for the support of refugee scientists (lot 56).
Other highlights include an exceptionally well-preserved German Enigma Machine (lot 55), an unrecorded variant of Tyndale’s New Testament (lot 57), a copy of The Compleat Angler formerly in the possession of Mary, Duchess of Roxburghe (lot 62), and numerous Byron manuscripts and letters.
In the bicentenary year of Waterloo, we are delighted to be offering a variety of important manuscripts and relics relating to the battle, including a campaign cloak believed to have been worn at the Waterloo by Wellington himself (lot 24). This remarkable relic has provenance dating back to the early 1820s, having been given to Lady Caroline Lamb by the Duke as a memento of their brief affair.
A strong group of works by Charles Darwin and others previously in the library of Richard and Quentin Keynes features a first edition of The Descent of Man inscribed by Darwin to his daughter (lot 39). Henrietta Darwin read the manuscript ofThe Descent in its entirety, tasked by her father with reviewing both the content and style of his writing on this controversial subject. These books are sold to benefit the Charles Darwin Trust.
Offered throughout the sale, books from the library of the late Gary E. Prouk represent an outstanding selection of fin-de-siècle literature, encompassing almost every significant writer of the period and with a particularly notable collection of works by and relating to Oscar Wilde. The collection continues in the afternoon session with exceptional modern first editions and private press material.
The afternoon session also includes letters, books, and typescripts from the collection of the publisher Tom Maschler (lots 188-197) and fine drawings and illustrations by E.H. Shepard, Kay Nielson and Charles Folkard, amongst others.