Suffragette collection and antiquarian cookery books create recipe for success at July Library Auction

Fierce bidding from across the globe saw Hansons Auctioneers’ July Library Auction soar to success with some record prices achieved.

Jim Spencer, Hansons’ Head of Books and Works on Paper at the Derbyshire saleroom, said: “Many items went to the USA and to leading booksellers and collectors throughout the UK including London and Scotland.

“The sale featured an important collection of autograph letters, Edwardian railway posters, and a number of private press works.

“For me, the most interesting lot was 1153, a Basan dictionary of engravings, which featured armorial bookplates for William Horatio Crawford, indicating that the books originally came from the famous Lakelands library in Cork.

“This fetched what I presume is a record price of £5,200, more than double the highest retail price I could find, against a guide of £1,000-£1,500.

“An important private collection of autograph letters fared well, with Wilkie Collins fetching £800 (Lot 1091), W. G. Grace £560 (Lot 1098) and Florence Nightingale £290 (Lot 1090).

“Antiquarian cookery books whetted the appetites of bidders, with a manuscript 'receipt book' dated 1732-1741 fetching £1,200. Significantly, this Georgian English handwritten book featured the name of its original owner, Angell Knightley.

“And it was full steam ahead for a collection of pristine Edwardian Midland Railway posters, discovered by the vendor in a soon-to-be-demolished railway roof when he was a Cambridge undergraduate in the 1960s. Arguably the most iconic and striking poster was for Troon, depicting a fashionable female golfer, which went under the gavel for £850 (Lot 1227).

“Private press and Arts & Crafts proved ever-popular, with a collection of five original Morris & Company illustrated catalogues selling for £1,300 (Lot 1115), and 'A Note by William Morris', the last book published at the Kelmscott Press in 1898, fetching £660 (Lot 1122).

“Antique maps continued to achieve top prices in this specialist sale, with John Speed's 17th-century map of the British Isles selling for £1,150 (Lot 1166).

“Among the more unusual items in the sale was a 1930s design catalogue featuring photographs of Art Deco cinemas throughout England, presumably for prospective clients, published by the Walturdaw Cinema Supply Company in Birmingham, which fetched £620. Sticking to the Deco theme was a collection of pochoir designs by E. A. Seguy, produced for 'Bouquets et Frondaisons' [1925], which sold for £1,100.

“However, without question, the star attraction was a unique archive of original Suffragette ephemera, postcards and enamel badges, which made news by soaring above estimate to achieve £16,000 (Lot 1157).

“The Library Auction is going from strength to strength with specialist books and works on paper valuation days throughout the country. Entries are being invited for the next Library Auction on October 1.”

Top Ten Lots:

  • 1157: Archive of original Suffragette ephemera, postcards and enamel badges. SOLD FOR: £16,000
  • 1153: Basan, Pierre-Francois. 'Dictionnaire des Graveurs Anciens et Modernes', in four volumes, second edition, 1789 (including tipped-in Old Master etchings such as Rembrandt's 'Pancake Woman'), bearing armorial bookplates for William Horatio Crawford of Lakelands, Cork. SOLD FOR: £5,200 (discovered at our inaugural book valuation day in Stratford-upon-Avon; a popular event, this was the last client of the day at 5.30pm and the event was supposed to finish at 4pm!)
  • 1085: Jimi Hendrix Experience, three autographs in green ink to verso of photograph, collected by the vendor after a performance at the Assembly Rooms in Aylesbury in 1967. SOLD FOR: £2,100
  • 1088: An extensive collection of autographs originally put together by the BBC. SOLD FOR: £1,600
  • 1115: Collection of five original Morris & Company illustrated catalogues. SOLD FOR: £1,300 (discovered at one of our free valuation days in Cheltenham)
  • 1107: Georgian English manuscript cookery book, dated 1732-1741, 'Angell Knightley her Receipt Book'. SOLD FOR: £1,20
  • 1166: John Speed 17th-century map of the British Isles, Sudbury & Humble, English text to verso. SOLD FOR: £1,150
  • 1207: Seguy, E. A. (Illust.). 'Bouquets et Frondaisons' [1925], 19 sheets of Art Deco pochoir designs. SOLD FOR: £1,100
  • 1227: Original Edwardian travel poster for Midland Railway, 'Troon - Ideal Holiday Resort', depicting fashionable lady playing golf. SOLD FOR £850
  • 1091: Wilkie Collins (1824-1889) autograph letter signed and dated 9th November 1882. SOLD FOR £800 (discovered at one of our free valuation days in Lichfield)

Hansons Library auction was held on July 2 at Hansons, Heage Lane, Etwall. Entries now invited for the next Library Auction on October 1. To arrange a free valuation, email [email protected].