Valuable Books & Manuscripts

Valuable Books & Manuscripts

Sale Overview

The sale of Valuable Books and Manuscripts on 11 December spans 12 centuries of human history, culture and thought: from rare 9th-century Carolingian leaves to an exceptional collection of animation artwork for Animal Farm (a film famously funded by the CIA as part of the American anti-Communist effort during the Cold War); from a presentation copy inscribed by Ada Lovelace to Richard Ford of a foundational paper in the history of digital computing to a group of modern first editions inscribed to Noel Coward from 20th-century luminaries such as Virginia Woolf, Ian Fleming, John Lennon and Harold Pinter; and from a noble 15th-century Milanese illuminated breviary to a rare, early edition of the travels of Marco Polo, there are manuscripts, autograph letters, early and modern printing and cartography to appeal to all collectors. The top lot of the sale is a magnificent copy with contemporary colouring of Valturius’ De re militari, a handbook on warfare for Renaissance princes and military leaders.

Other highlights include the album amicorum of Schelomith Flaum, with contributions from Rabindranath Tagore, Gandhi, and Einstein; a remarkable book annotated by Melanchthon with a poem in praise of Pindar; a splendid copy of the first and greatest classic of modern economic thought, Adam Smith’s Wealth of Nations; and one of the most elaborately engraved maps of the western hemisphere ever produced.

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