Auctions | June 22, 2017

Rare Harry Potter First Edition at Bloomsbury Auctions in July

Books & Works on Paper 20.07.17.jpegBloomsbury Auctions will host an auction of Rare Books and Works on Paper including Photographs and Autographs on 27th July 2017, commencing at 1pm.

Leading the sale is a first edition Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone by J.K. Rowling, from 1997, which includes the original pictorial boards and those with beady eyes will notice “1 wand” listed twice on page 53. J.K Rowling’s Harry Potter series has been published in over 2,200 languages and dialects worldwide demonstrating the strength of interest in her work. This summer marks twenty years since this phenomenal book first enchanted millions of readers spanning all generations and it is expected to attract intense bidding from collectors.

Two very rare atlases after Claudius Ptolemaeus are the auction’s top lots by value and both were acquired by the present owner’s great uncle in the 1940s from the famous library in Egypt of Dr Max Meyerhoff. Ptolemaeus’ Cosmographia, the second Ulm edition from 1486, translated from Greek into Latin by Jacobus Angelus, is the older of the two Atlases. The maps, printed from the same blocks as the 1482 edition, with headings added, were cut by Johannes of Armsheim, whose name is found at the head of the world map, which is thus the first printed map to be signed, and is also the first to depict Iceland, Greenland and the North Atlantic.   All the maps are in contemporary hand-colouring. 

The fourth Strassburg edition of Ptolemaeus’ Geographicae Enarrationis libri octo from 1525 includes contributions attributed to German Renaissance artists Albrecht Dürer and Hans Holbein, amongst the diagrams and decorative woodcut borders. Among the 50 woodcut maps, one in particular includes the first appearance of ‘America’ on a printed map.  

Both works are complete early editions of the first Atlases ever printed and their appearance at auction is an exceptional event. They are likely to appeal not only to collectors of atlases but those in search of a rare and unique historical item. 

Further sale highlights include a 1902 musical score for Pelleas et Melisande, signed by Claude Debussy, (est. £700-£900), as well as a document signed by the last Tsar of Russia, Nicholas II (est. £1,200-£1,800). The document was the granting of a new standard to the 7th Ulan Olvio-Polish Regiment, originally the 4th Ukranian Cossack Regiment, on the occasion of the 100th anniversary of their foundation by Tsar Alexander I. 

Two diaries written by an English soldier fighting in the Afghan war between 1880-1881 are included in the auction (est. £1,200-£1,500). The diaries are first- hand accounts but the soldier’s identity is sadly unknown. The first volume covers his description of the long relief march from Kabul to Kandahar, with the second mostly describing his march through India and the journey back across Europe. 

Striking photographs will also be on offer, including one of Argentinian revolutionary, Che Guevara, who died 50 years ago this October, taken by Osvalod Salas. Two photographs by the pioneer of colour photographer, Ernst Haas, feature in the sale, each estimated at £3,000-£5,000. Ansel Adams’ beautiful landscape photographs also compliment this photography section. 

A unique photogram by British photographer Adam Fuss is estimated at £4,000- £6,000. Dating from 1995 the work was commissioned by Alain Levy, President and CEO of PolyGram. Of his own works, Fuss states “I would much prefer people looked at my photographs as if they were paintings... Because when we look at paintings we look only at the image; we experience it. Somehow when people look at photographs they want an answer to a question that they feel can be answered through technical information.”