Christie’s Valuable Books and Manuscripts sale in London offers over 200 lots of books, manuscripts, maps and objects, many of which come with extraordinary provenance.
We are proud to bring to auction Charles Darwin’s family microscope, handed down from Charles to his son Leonard, and thence by descent. It is an unparalleled opportunity to acquire an instrument so intimately associated with Darwin’s discoveries and theories. The sale also includes two sets of books that accompanied Matthew Flinders aboard HMS Investigator on the first circumnavigation of Australia. Direct from the Flinders family, one is a copy of Cook’s First Voyage and the other a set of the Encyclopaedia Britannica, both with autograph annotations by Flinders. These notes are of the utmost importance in the history of Australia, as they include corrections to Cook’s geographical descriptions and provide a 17-word dictionary of the language spoken by native inhabitants. From the same provenance, we are also offering an autograph letter signed by Flinders to his half-sister from on board HMS Investigator, sending a souvenir of 'New Holland'. Other autograph letters and manuscripts in the sale include 18 lots relating to Albert Einstein. Highlights among the Medieval and Renaissance manuscripts are the second part of one of the finest collections of miniatures in private hands, two iconographically outstanding and profusely illuminated French Books of Hours, and a splendid illustrated German alchemical handbook.
View the auction in person at our King Street galleries from 11-14 December with the live auction taking place on 15 December.
‘Hereinafter learn all that is known about cocktails’ — a signed limited edition of the bartender’s bible