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In the News

The Morgan Appoints Maria L. Fredericks as Head of the Thaw Conservation Center

New York —The Morgan Library & Museum announced today the appointment of Maria L.... read more

LOC Puts Papers of President Theodore Roosevelt Online

The largest collection of the papers of President Theodore Roosevelt, documenting his extraordinary career... read more

The 42nd Boston International Antiquarian Book Fair, Nov. 16-18

Boston - The annual fall gathering for booklovers, the Boston International Antiquarian Book Fair... read more

1785 Engraving of Washington & Bob Dylan's Handwritten Lyrics at University Archives Auction

Westport, CT - A rare, 1785 hand-colored portrait engraving of George Washington, printed for... read more

HistoryMiami Museum Features Former National Geographic Photographer Nathan Benn

Miami - HistoryMiami Museum, a Smithsonian Affiliate and a premier Miami cultural institution, presents... read more

Library of Congress Appoints New Chief of the Hispanic Division

The Library of Congress appointed Suzanne Schadl, academic expert in Latin American studies, as... read more

"Masters of Photography: 19th Century and Now" at Paris Photo in November

Paris - Iconic images by the earliest masters of photography—as well as contemporary artists... read more

Sotheby's Presents "The Mummy," One of the World's Rarest Movie Posters

New York—Sotheby’s presents the opportunity to acquire one of the rarest and most highly-coveted... read more

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2015 Bookseller Resource Guide

In the Good Old Summertime

Prickly Script

12th Century Gospel, Sotheby’s (London) $417,865

I just had to have this Gospel in my September selection, partly because I have a great liking for medieval manuscripts, but especially because it was written and bound just a few miles from where I now sit, not labouring slowly and meticulously with pen in hand, but with words whizzing onto the screen in a manner and at a rate that would have put the fear of God into the manuscript’s makers.

In a contemporary and locally made vellum binding and exhibiting the distinctive “prickly” script associated with the monks from Normandy who came to the Benedictine monasteries of St. Augustine’s Abbey and Christ Church Cathedral Priory, in Canterbury, after William the Conqueror’s arrival in 1066, this vellum Gospel of Saint Luke dates from roughly 1120 to 1140.

When St. Augustine’s closed, in 1540, its fine library was widely dispersed, but over the centuries, most of its important books have found their way into institutional collections, and today, only two volumes from that once great collection remain in private hands. One is now in the library of the Dukes of Bedford at Longleat; the other is this Gospel, last seen at auction some 40 years ago when sold as part of the great Chester Beatty collection. Bid to £253,250 ($417,865) in a $7.3 million July 7 sale of illuminated manuscripts and miniatures, it remains in private hands.

Eric “And” the Word

The Four Gospels, Bloomsbury Auctions (London) $91,000 and Swann Auction Galleries (New York) $67,200

White gloves only please when handling the American binder J. Franklin Mowery’s stunning covers for the 1931 Golden Cockerel edition of The Four Gospels. The alum-tawed goatskin boards are blind-stamped with seven examples of Eric Gill’s designs for the word “And.” The pictured copy sold for £5,520 ($9,100) in London, where it was part of the Jan van der Marck collection of fine modern typography and design. Earlier this year, in New York, one of the dozen copies of this famous Golden Cockerel book printed on vellum was sold for $67,200. The binding on that deluxe version was white pigskin with metal clasps designed by Sangorski and Sutcliffe.

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Derek HayesIan McKay’s weekly column in Antiques Trade Gazette has been running for more than 30 years.