Birmingham Medical Institute auctions first part of book library

The first part of Birmingham Medical Institute's library was sold at auction yesterday in order to raise money for the struggling organisation.

The sale saw some very rare and sought-after medical volumes achieve good results, helping the Institute to realise its target of £500,000. The auction comes with the medical society claiming that it is experiencing a decline in income and not able to meet rising rent costs.

The Institute was originally founded as a medical library in 1875, before becoming a gathering place for medical professionals in the area. The library was put together initially from donations, but has become a respected resource for practitioners.

"In amongst here are books I've never, just never heard of - not just one or two but dozens and dozens and dozens," auctioneer Chris Albury told the BBC.


Birmingham Medical Institute Library
An illustration from yesterday's top lot

The Cirencester auction house saw one volume sell for £20,000, achieving a 100% increase on estimate.

Entitled An Inquiry into the Causes and Effects of the Variolae Vaccinae, a Disease Discovered in some of the Western Counties of England, Particularly Gloucestershire, and Known by the Name of the Cow Pox, the charming book comes with detailed illustrations of pustules on the arms of patients.

A collection of the complete works of Hippocrates also exceeded its estimate, making £17,500 against a valuation of £10,000. Regarded as the definitive Hippocrates, this example was the first time these 80 works had been translated from the Greek into Latin.

The second part of the sale will take place on July 26, 2012 with the Birmingham Medical Institute already well on the way to making its required sum. In the meantime, why not check out our fantastic collection of rare books and manuscripts.

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