Auctions | May 22, 2014

Collection of First Edition Novels by the Brontë Sisters Sells for $188,100

A complete first edition set of the novels by the three Brontë sisters sold at Dreweatts & Bloomsbury Auctions’ Important Books and Manuscripts sale on Monday 19th May.

The unique collection was formed by American lawyer Thomas Lincoln Chadbourne, founder of Chadbourne & Parke. Bidders competed online and on the phone for the rare opportunity to take home the Brontë collection, which sold to a collector in the room for £111,600. [Lot 67]

A highly desirable Chinese photograph album, circa 1860, demanded attention from buyers around the world. The collection boasted fascinating views of Shanghai Custom House, Anglo-Chinese artillery at Ningpo, riverside buildings before and after a typhoon, the steamer landing at Canton, bridges and a pagoda alongside portraits of Chinese sitters and a group of three Russian Orthodox priests, presumably members of the Peking mission. It sold for £37,200. [Lot 172]

The earliest Bible in both English and Latin, The Newe Testament in Englyshe and Latyn according to the translacyon of doctor Erasmus of Roterodam, first edition, 1538, also achieved a top price, selling for £22,320. Only three copies, all defective, have been offered at auction in the last 35 years. [Lot 77]

A travel diary belonging to Nelson detailing a journey from Ringwood, Hampshire to Dublin, from the Matcham Collection of Nelsoniana, sold for £806. The collection was formed by Nelson’s brother-in-law, George Matcham (1753-1833) a traveller who married Catherine “Kitty” Nelson (1767-1842). One extract from the journal reads; “The ladys are to take me to the pump room aft but I am to go with Mr.C at 8. The town is beautiful. A new pump room will soon be completed from the old one - to the White Hart inn. A new street from that down to the duke of Kingstons bath….” [Lot 34]

Elsewhere in the sale charming illustrated autograph letters and postcards by War artist and writer Edward Ardizzone, sailed past the pre-sale estimate, selling for £3,720 [Lot 56] as did a collection of illustrated autograph letters by painter Paul Nash (1889-1946) which sold for £2,728 [Lot 53]

A collection of striking designer bindings from the property of the late Mel Kavin of Kater-Craft Bookbinders, captured bidders, with the beautiful A Catalogue of The Thirty-Three Miniature Designer Bindings of You can Judge a Book by its Cover, by Michael Wilcox selling for £7,192. [Lot 144] Further books from the collection will be sold in London on 17th July 2014.  

The sale was held at Dreweatts & Bloomsbury Auctions’ London saleroom in Mayfair on Monday 19th May 2014. The full catalogue and prices realised are available to view online now at