Thursday, March 27, 2014

Antiquarian Book News

Fifteenth Century Catholicon Anglicum saved from export.

An export bar was put on a fifteenth century Catholicon Anglicum to stop it leaving the country after it had been sold by auction to an overseas buyer. The British Library matched the offer for the English-Latin dictionary. The BL paid £92,500 for the manuscript which is thought to have been written in the north of England about 1483.

The Culture Minister, Ed Vaizey, put the export bar in place last year. At the time, he said the dictionary was of “outstanding significance” to the history of the English language and “fundamental to the identity and life of our nation”. The item is the only complete work known to exist. The only other known copy is held at the British Library, but it has lost leaves in several places.

British Library
Comics Unmasked

Art and Anarchy in the UK

2 May – 19 August 2014

Featuring such iconic names as Neil Gaiman (Sandman), Alan Moore (Watchmen, V for Vendetta), Grant Morrison (Batman: Arkham Asylum) and Posy Simmonds (Tamara Drewe), this exhibition traces the British comics tradition back through classic 1970s titles including 2000AD, Action and Misty to 19th-century illustrated reports of Jack the Ripper and beyond.

Comics Unmasked is the UK's largest ever exhibition of mainstream and underground comics, showcasing works that uncompromisingly address politics, gender, violence, sexuality and altered states. It explores the full anarchic range of the medium with works that challenge categorisation, preconceptions and the status quo, alongside original scripts, preparatory sketches and final artwork that demystify the creative process.

Enter the subversive and revelatory world of comics, from the earliest pioneers to today's digital innovators.

A Rare Copy of J.R.R. Tolkien's Legendary Book The Hobbit Goes Under the Hammer

BloomsburyAs the third and final part of Peter Jackson’s epic film adaptation of J. R. R. Tolkien’s The Hobbit reaches the final stages of production, Dreweatts & Bloomsbury Auctions offer Tolkien fans the world over the opportunity to buy a first edition of the original book, The Hobbit, or, There and Back Again (1937), at their sale of Modern Literature in London on Friday 11th April.

Published in September 1937 the book tells the story of Bilbo Baggins, a hobbit, and acts as a precursor to Tolkien’s famous The Lord of The Rings (1954-1955) trilogy.  The continuing popularity of the book, and the recent adaptation to film, make copies of this work coveted collectors' items, this copy is estimated to sell for £15,000 – 20,000. [Lot 139]

The adventures of secret agent James Bond have a timeless appeal, and a complete collection of writer Ian Fleming's 007 novels comprise lots 48 – 62 of this sale.  Although all are in excellent condition, of particular note is a first edition of Casino Royale (1953), the book that introduced the character of James Bond, and made a further 11 Bond novels possible.

This iconic book, the dust-jacket of which was designed by Fleming himself, was an instant success with readers with 4,728 copies selling in the UK within a month of publication, and a further two print runs within the same month selling at the same speed.  More than 60 years later buyers have an opportunity to purchase one of the books from the original print run. This superb copy comes in an almost pristine dust-jacket and is priced at £10,000 – 15,000. [Lot 48]

BloomsburyLive and Let Die (1954) followed hot on the heels of Casino Royale and was published on the 5th April 1954. Fleming’s second Bond novel met with an equally favourable reception,  and a print run of 7,500 copies quickly sold out.  Written at Fleming’s estate in Jamaica, perhaps not surprisingly called ‘Goldeneye’, the story centres around Bond chasing the American criminal Mr. Big, who is involved in smuggling 17th century gold coins from British territories in the Caribbean. Another near-fine example of the first edition is estimated to sell for £4,000 – 6,000. [Lot 49]

From one national treasure to another and an almost complete set of the works of P.G. Wodehouse.  Part of a private collection, lots 150-208 include an extremely rare first edition copy of Wodehouse's first adult novel, Love Among the Chickens (1906). Written when Wodehouse was only 25 the book introduces the character of Stanley Featherstonehaugh Ukridge who famously re-occurs throughout Wodehouse’s short stories, this copy is estimated at £2,000 – 3,000. [Lot157]

The collection also includes a number of works featuring Wodehouse's most enduring pair, Bertie Wooster and his butler Jeeves.  Immortalised on screen by the nation’s favourites, Stephen Fry and Hugh Laurie, Jeeves and Wooster are now enjoying a spell at the Duke of York’s Theatre in London’s West End, where the production has been nominated for best comedy at the 2014 Olivier Awards. A copy of the first book to feature the duo, My Man Jeeves (1919), is estimated at £250-350 [Lot 166], and titles that are rarely seen in their dust-jackets include The Inimitable Jeeves (1923), estimated at £1,000-1,500 [Lot 170], and Carry On, Jeeves (1925), estimated at £800 – 1,200. [Lot 173]

An autograph manuscript poem entitled The Dug Out (1918) written by eminent First World War poet, Siegfried Sassoon in August 1918, serves as a moving tribute to soldiers in the trenches.  Belonging to British writer and journalist Henry Major Tomlinson, who is well-known for his anti-war novels and short stories, the poem was written in pencil and overwritten in ink by Sassoon. It is accompanied by a group of photographs of Sassoon and the Tomlinsons, some of which are signed by Sassoon himself and come directly from the family of H.M.Tomlinson. It is estimated at £2,000-3,000.

Also offered for sale by Tomlinson’s family is a signed first edition presentation copy of Sassoon’s book of religious poetry, Sequences (1956). The presentation inscription is from Siegfried Sassoon to H.M. Tomlinson and Tomlinson’s daughter Dorothy, and includes a further presentation inscription below to 'Mum & Dad' in Tomlinson's hand. Also included is an autograph letter, signed from Sassoon to Tomlinson, which reads: “Your messages always sustain my spirit greatly (hence the dedication). No one else understands - or anyhow expresses understanding - as you do.”  This very personal book is estimated to sell for £200-300 [Lot 134]

J. D. Salinger’s classic novel, Catcher in the Rye (1951), is one of the most popular books of the 20th century, and has been translated into all the world’s major languages. Not without controversy, the book has become a classic coming of age novel, popular amongst teenagers for its approach to the challenging themes of adolescent angst, identity and alienation.  The book was the most censored work in high schools throughout the U.S. between 1961 and 1982, and has been in the top ten most challenged books in the past two decades. A first edition copy of this defining novel, in excellent condition, is offered with an estimate of £4,000 – 6,000. [Lot 132]

This auction will be held at Dreweatts & Bloomsbury Auctions’ London saleroom in the heart of Mayfair, with viewing from Monday 7th – Thursday 10th April. The catalogue and details of online bidding with no additional fee can be found at

John Lennon 'You Might Well Arsk': Original Drawings and Manuscripts, 1964-65
Sotheby's New York, 4th June 2014
Sotheby's is delighted to announce the auction of this important collection of John Lennon autograph drawings and manuscripts produced by the artist for his critically acclaimed books: In His Own Write (1964) and A Spaniard in the Works (1965). Including 89 lots ranging from $500 to $70,000, this is the largest private collection of John Lennon's work ever to come to market. The sale coincides with two important landmarks for Lennon: the 50th anniversary of the publication of In His Own Write; and the 50th anniversary of The Beatles' landmark first appearance in America on the Ed Sullivan show, which launched them into the pop stratosphere.

These remarkable drawings and manuscripts come from the collection of legendary publisher Tom Maschler, who as Literary Director of Jonathan Cape in the 1960s, was responsible for bringing both In His Own Write and A Spaniard in the Works to fruition. This outstanding collection of works from Lennon's own hand, often complete with deletions and amendments, represents the raw material from which Tom Maschler honed the two critically-acclaimed Lennon books. Given to Maschler by the artist himself, this material has been treasured by Lennon's publisher for the last 50 years.

Exhibition dates:
Sotheby's London, 34-35 New Bond Street, 21-25 March 2014
Sotheby's New York, 28th May-3rd June 2014
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