$10k Jane Austen leads Fine Books auction

A spectacular books sale is being held by Bonham's in Los Angeles and New York, including examples of works by famous historical figures and early printed works with fine binding.

If you are a collector with a passion for science, a stand-out lot will be Galileo Galilei's Systema Cosmicum, his famous polemic against those denying discoveries about the cosmos.

In the work, Galileo is keen to convince the reader than there is no tension between astronomy and the laws of motion.

"There is no need to fear that the earth's rotation will cause it to fly to pieces," he writes. The work is bound in vellum and estimated at $2,000-3,000.

Collectors into more earth-bound pursuits may be interested in a complete 10-volume set of John Latham's General Synopsis of Birds (a first edition of an expanded and updated version) from 1821.

A rare first edition of Jane Austen's Emma in three volumes is estimated at $8,000-10,000.

Published in 1816, it hails the writer as the Author of "Pride and Prejudice", without mentioning her name.

It would have been the only edition Austen would have seen before her death in 1823.

Collectors of American literature will be especially excited by four works by Samuel Longhorne Clemens - better known to the world as Mark Twain.

Non-experts may be mildly surprised to hear the title of the highest estimated work - at estimated at $3,000-5,000.

"The Celebrated Jumping Frog of Calaveras County" is Twain's lesser known, first ever book. It will appear alongside two early editions of his most famous work, Huckleberry Finn.

Other impossible-to-ignore items include a copy of Stories from the Arabian Nights, illustrated by Edmund du Lac; and a slightly worn first edition of Lassie Come Home (1930) and Stuart Little (1945).

The sale will also feature an extensive collection of surfing memorabilia.

This isn't the only recent Bonham's auction to feature a selection of rare scientific works. The auctioneers' recent rare books and manuscripts sale in London included highly collectible works by Mattiolo Mattioli and Isaac Newton.

The forthcoming Los Angeles and New York auction will take place on October 19, with previews from 16-18.

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