Benjamin Franklin's Electrical Experiments leads Skinner books auction

A fourth edition copy of Benjamin Franklin's Experiments and Observations on Electricity was the highlight of Skinner's Fine Books and Manuscripts auction in Boston on March 31.

The lot made $22,140, a 342.8% increase on a $5,000 estimate.

Franklin experiments electricity
The book lays out Benjamin Franklin's findings on electricity

Franklin first published the work, which lays out the findings of his studies in the field of electricity and other natural phenomena, in 1751.

It includes the discovery that turkeys killed by electric shock "eat uncommonly tender". Perhaps most importantly it codifies the results of his famous "key and kite" experiment.

Last year Jennifer Aniston paid a reported $1m for a rocking chair owned by Franklin.

A first edition signed copy of Julia Child and Simone Beck's two-volume work Mastering the Art of French Cooking also performed well against its estimate, achieving $18,450 on a valuation of $2,000 - an increase of 822.5%.

The first volume was published in 1961, with the second released in 1970. Both are inscribed to editor Avis DeVoto.

The two women are credited with popularising French cooking in the US through the book and its subsequent spinoff TV show The French Chef, in which Child would produce a recipe live in real time.

The show ran for 10 years between 1963 and 1973 and gained a cult following, due largely to Child's eccentric presenting style.

We have a range of books and manuscripts available.

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