Limited Facsimile Edition
A book of hours - a type of Christian devotional from the Middle Ages - again appears on our monthly list of most expensive sales, only this month, it isn't an original illuminated manuscript but a luxurious facsimile edition.
Topping May's list is a deluxe facsimile edition of Flemish illuminator Simon Bening’s Da Costa Hours, produced in 2011 by Austrian publisher Akademische Druck- u. Verlagsanstalt (ADEVA) Graz. The original 1515 manuscript is named for the man believed to be its second owner, Don Alvaro da Costa, armourer and treasurer to Manuel I, King of Portugal 1495-1521. After remaining in the Da Costa family for four centuries, the Da Costa Hours changed hands a few times in the 19th century and was owned for a time in the early 20th century by American financier J.P. Morgan. It is reportedly owned currently by London-based bookseller Bernard Quaritch.
Also on last month's list is a signed colour photograph from the Apollo 11 moon landing. The 13.75" x 10.75" photo shows astronaut Buzz Aldrin standing on the moon with the Lunar Module Eagle and the U.S. flag in the background. Signed by all three Apollo 11 crew members, the photo is inscribed to Prince Bernhard of the Netherlands and is believed to have been presented during the crew's 1969 world tour.
As in recent months, some prominent artists again appear on May's list. In the number seven spot is 1 Cent Life, a 1964 collection of original lithographs from 28 European and American contemporary artists with original poetry from Walasse Ting. And in the number 10 spot is Bleus de Barcelone, a portfolio collection of 11 signed lithographs by Pablo Picasso, with an introduction by his close friend and personal secretary, Jaime Sabartés.
Rounding out May's list are first editions from Mark Twain, A.A. Milne, Oscar Wilde, and Emily Bronte.
2. The Discoverie of Witchcraft by Reginald Scot - £6,864
A rare first edition of an influential 1584 text questioning the persecution of those accused of witchcraft. Because the book blamed that persecution on the Catholic Church, it was ordered burned when James I ascended the English throne in 1603.
3. Apollo 11 Large Colour Photo - Signed - £5,987
Colour photo of Buzz Aldrin standing next to a seismic experiment on the moon with the Lunar Module Eagle and U.S. flag prominent in the background. It is mounted to a 20" x 16" matboard signed by Neil Armstrong, Michael Collins, and Buzz Aldrin, and inscribed, "To His Royal Highness/ Prince Bernhard/ of the Netherlands/ From The Apollo 11 Crew".
4. The Celebrated Jumping Frog of Calaveras County, and Other Sketches by Mark Twain - £5,939
First edition of Mark Twain’s first book, a collection of short stories.
5.= Winnie the Pooh by A.A. Milne - £4,476
This first American edition is one of only 200 copies signed by both Milne and illustrator Ernest Shepard.
5.= The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde - £4,476
First edition, first printing of Oscar Wilde’s only novel, published in 1891. A shorter version of the story was published the year before, in Lippincott’s Monthly Magazine.
7. 1 Cent Life by Walasse Ting - £4,343
1 Cent Life is a large, unbound elephant folio published in 1964, comprised of 62 letterpress poems by artist and poet Walasse Ting, accompanied by 62 original lithographs by 28 European and American artists. Highly collectable, the book is considered a visual manifesto of the sixties.
8. Corpus Reformatorum. Ioannis Calvini Opera Quae Supersunt Omnia - £4,287
These reprints of the collected Reformation writings of John Calvin were published between 1863 and 1900. The Ioannis Calvini Opera Quae Supersunt Omnia consists of volumes 29-87 of the total 101 volumes of the complete Corpus Reformatorum.
9. Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte - £3,880
First American edition of Emily Bronte’s only novel, first published in England in 1847 under the pseudonym Ellis Bell. The book was originally promoted as being, "By the author of Jane Eyre", even though that novel was written by Emily’s sister, Charlotte Bronte, under the pseudonym Currer Bell. This copy, pictured right, is bound in three-quarter leather with marbled boards.
10. Bleus de Barcelone - 12 lithographs by Pablo Picasso, introduction by Jaime Sabartés - £3,865
Portfolio collection of 11 colour lithographs by Picasso, each signed. The introduction by the artist’s close friend and personal secretary, Jaime Sabartés, includes a portrait of Sabartés in pencil, within the text.