1. Uranometria, Omnium Asterismorum Continens Schemata, Nova Methodo Delineata, Sereis Laminis Expressa by Johann Bayer - £30,946
A rare piece of astronomical history from 1603 – a first edition of the most famous celestial atlas of all with 48 lavishly illustrated tables portraying the constellations identified by the Greeks and a 49th table showing 12 newly discovered constellations. The book has the coat of arms of a Venetian family on both covers and a monastery stamp on its title page. The title translates as ‘Uranometria, containing charts of all the constellations, drawn by a new method and engraved on copper plates’ and ‘Uranometria’ comes from Urania, the muse of the heavens.
2. Where the Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak - £16,200
Published in 1963, this first edition came with its first state dust jacket in fine condition. Sendak had signed the title page under his printed name.
3. Livre d’Heures (book of hours) - £16,050
A book of hours in Latin and French once owned by Etienne de Poncher, archbishop of Tours, in central France, from 1551-1552. The book, printed on parchment, has a velvet cover on wooden boards with two brass clasps from the 16th century. A book of hours is a devotional book, usually an illuminated manuscript, that contains prayers, hymns and psalms. This one featured many images of animals.
4. A Latin psalter - £15,220
A psalter is a book containing the Book of Psalms and usually other devotional material. This undated psalter is a well preserved Latin manuscript, printed on parchment, containing antiphones (responses to psalms) and songs. It has a Gothic blind tooled binding with fillet embossing, diamond shaped fields with depiction of rosettes and an eagle, and a brass clasp decorated with letters.
5. Atlas Céleste (Star Atlas) de John Flamsteed - £7,943
John Flamsteed (1646-1719) was an English astronomer who discovered thousands of stars. This 1776 copy (pictured at upper right) is a later French edition of his star atlas, an enlarged edition, with 30 double-page maps. The book also contains the discoveries of French astronomer Lalande. All maps are hand-coloured.
6. Marlborough: His Life and Times by Winston S. Churchill - £6,786
Published between 1933 and 1938, this signed set was limited to 155 copies (this being No. 111) and printed on thicker paper than the general trade edition. Churchill wrote these books to refute claims about his famous ancestor John Churchill, 1st Duke of Marlborough (1650-1722). The Duke was a famous military man and statesman whose up-and-down career spanned the late 17th and early 18th centuries, and several monarchs.
7. Herefordshire Pomona, Containing Coloured Figures and Descriptions of the Most Esteemed Kinds of Apples and Pears by Robert Hogg - £5,509
One of the most famous books about fruit ever printed. A first edition published 1876 in two folio volumes. It contains 77 chromolithographic plates with illustrations.
8. Der Ring des Nibelungen by Richard Wagner & illustrated by Arthur Rackham - £4,861
Loved by collectors for its illustrations, Arthur Rackham’s interpretation of Wagner’s classic cycle was published in two volumes in 1910 and 1911. It contains 64 tipped in colour plates, was limited to 100 copies, and signed by Rackham.
9. The Scented Garden of Abdullah the Satirist of Shiraz by Aleister Crowley - £4,787
Privately printed in London in 1910, this book of poetry is one of Crowley’s rarest works. Only a small number of copies were printed and many were confiscated and destroyed in various customs seizures. The book is a mixture of homoerotic parody and mystical text.
10. Facile by Paul Eluard - £4,667
A first edition published in 1935 with a print run of just 1000 numbered copies, this is No. 674. Eluard provided the poetry and Man Ray the photography. The book contains 12 heliogravure reproductions of Man Ray’s images on cream wove paper. It is an iconic French photo-book of the 1930s.
11. Manzuma -i Khatt Risala si by Yemini Hafiz Oglu Mehmed Dervis - £4,537
This booklet of poetic verse contains 18 handwritten leaves transcribed in Ottoman Turkish in the 16th century by Ibrahim al Halabi (a well-known scholar). The original author - known as ‘Yemini Sultan’ -was an Ottoman scholar in the Sultan Suleyman dynasty. He was buried in Mostar in Bosnia in 1543.
12. Moby Dick or The Whale by Herman Melville - £4,469
Published in 1930 by Lakeside Press, this edition came in three volumes housed in an aluminum slipcase. Rockwell Kent provided the illustrations and the artist also signed the book, which was limited to 1000 copies.
13. Atlas to Accompany the Official Records of the Union and Confederate Armies by Calvin D. Cowles - £4,375
A first edition set, published in 1891, of three elephant folio volumes consisting of 175 plates. The Atlas is a key piece of American Civil War memorabilia. It is often referred to as the War of the Rebellion Atlas and was a companion to the Official Records of the American Civil War. The content was provided by both sides and included maps of battles and campaigns plus photography and technical drawings.
14. The Circus of Doctor Lao by Charles Grandison Finney - £3,241
Published in 1984 by Janus Press, this issue is considered one of the greatest fine press books of the late 20th century. This edition was limited to 150 numbered copies each with relief etchings by Claire Van Vliet and each being signed by Vliet and Finney on the limitation leaf. The Circus of Doctor Lao won one of the inaugural National Book Awards in 1935 and Finney was a journalist from Arizona.
15. The Feynman Lectures on Physics: Quantum Mechanics by Richard P. Feynman -£3,241
A key text in the field of quantum mechanics written by one of the most decorated and renowned American physicists. Inscribed by Feynman “To D John Pastine, Whose judgment I respect & admire. R. Feynman”