Top Prices for Printed Books, Maps, and Manuscripts at Bloomsbury Auctions

Top prices were achieved across a number of specialist disciplines in Dreweatts & Bloomsbury Auctions’ Printed Books, Maps and Manuscripts auction on Thursday 17th and Friday 18th July, including manuscripts, art and mathematics.

Bidding soared for the opening lot of the sale with an almost complete collection of the books issued by Bird & Bull Press from the property of the late Mel Kavin of Kater-Craft Bookbinders which sold for £12,400 [Lot 1].

Doubling its pre-sale estimate and selling for £9,920 was Gino Severini’s Fleurs et Masques, featuring 17 superb pochoir colour plates highlighted with gold that depict Cubist still lives, harlequins musicians, and the masks and theatrics of the Commedia dell’Arte. [Lot 144a]

Also attracting attention under the art topic was a fine series of classic racing prints from John Frederick Herring’s two series of St Leger and derby winners that sold for £8,060. [Lot 569]

Exceptional Prices

The first edition of the 'Geneva version' English Bible, the earliest printed in roman type and with verse divisions, led the English Literature and history section selling for £9,920. [Lot 317]

Another bible in the sale to achieve an exceptional price was Jenson’s second edition of the Vulgate Bible, initialled in red and with decorations in blue and white, it sold for £6,200 [Lot 283]

English and Continental manuscripts attracted attention with a detailed and elaborately decorated collection of notes and pedigrees on Lincolnshire selling for £7,440 [Lot 210] 

An unusual collection of mathematical books were in high demand with many achieving prices on or above top estimate. Bernoulli’s foundation work on the science of probability, Ars Conjectandi, Opus Posthumum sold for £9,300 [Lot 430] and a collection of 12 mathematical papers by Carl Fridrich Gauss achieved £8,680 [Lot 458]. An excellent copy of Lagrange’s masterpiece, Mechanique Analitique, one of the most important mechanical treatise ever published, also sold over estimate for £7,440 [Lot 467].

The sale was held at Dreweatts & Bloomsbury Auctions’ London saleroom on Thursday 17th and Friday 18th July 2014. The catalogue and results are available to view online at

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