Event Date13 July 2022 | Live auction 21033

Valuable Books and Manuscripts

Valuable Books and Manuscripts

Sale Overview

Christie’s Valuable Books and Manuscripts auction on 13 July is its most valuable ever various owner sale, led by three extraordinary books: the Longleat copy of a 1499 Bible historiée on vellum, the first complete printed Bible in French (£600,000-£900,0000); a deluxe copy of Thomas Aquinas’s Summa, a foundation work of philosophy, theology and economics (£400,000-£600,000); and a presentation copy of Newton’s Opticks, which revolutionised human understanding of light and colour (£400,000-£600,000). Important science is at the heart of the sale, with a private collection including a 15th-century manuscript of Fibonacci’s Liber Abaci, which introduced the Hindu-Arabic numbering system to the West (£300,000-£500,000), and first editions of Newton’s Principia (£350,000-500,000) and Darwin’s Origin of Species (£100,000-£150,000). Elsewhere, literary classics span Don Quixote, in an important copy with a French royal provenance (£300,000-400,000) and Harry Potter, with a set of signed first editions (£100,000-£150,000), while natural history and cartography include Besler’s ravishing Hortus Eystettensis (£250,000-£350,000) and the earliest pair of table globes on the market (£300,000-500,000). There are 50 medieval and Renaissance manuscripts, covering humanist texts, Books of Hours and alchemical treatises, led by a Parisian Bible once owned by John, Lord Lumley and William Cecil, chief advisor of Elizabeth I (£80,000-£120,000); and autographs include a unique glimpse into Isaac Newton’s childhood (£60,000-£90,000), a sketchleaf from Mahler’s 9th Symphony, manuscripts and relics from the heroic age of Antarctic Exploration and a charming group of drawings by Quentin Blake.

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