Illustrated contemporary book of Captain Cook's voyage sails past expectations

With an appeal for general readers, researchers and serious collectors, the book sales at Brightwells auction house in Hertfordshire, UK cater for a wide variety of tastes, and the most recent was no exception.

From large boxes of books to individual editions, postcard and photograph albums to stamps and cigarette cards, the auction had something for everyone and in all price ranges, from those appropriate for the more casual collector to investment-grade items.

For the most part, the stamps were towards the lower end of the scale with a large group of postcards, mainly topographical, sold for a £420, whilst two All World Collections of stamps contained in 16 and 44 albums made £480 and £720 respectively.

Fine illustrated books included "Wild Flowers. Drawn and Coloured from Nature" by Mrs C M Badger published in 1860 by Charles Scribner New York, sold for £520, and "Sketches of the Country, Character and Costume in Portugal and Spain made during campaign and on the route of the British Army in 1808 and 1809" published in London by John Booth that made £500 despite some missing plates.

"The Beautiful Scenery and chief places of interest throughout the Crimea" with coloured lithography by Day & Sons published in London in 1856 sold for £450.

A group of novels written by Laurence Durrell and published between 1957 and 1960, bound and in a slip case, Bayntun-Riviere, Bath, made £460, more than doubling its lower estimate of £200, whilst a group of eleven novels by C S Forester published between 1937 and 1962, all part of the Hornblower series, sold at £650.

However the star of the show was an early book relating to the history of Australia and New Zealand.

These always attract interest as they are in relatively short supply and have the advantage of eager collectors in those countries who are keen to acquire editions that cast light on the development and exploration of these regions known especially through the voyages of Captain Cook.

The text in question was Views in the South Seas from drawings by the late James Webber, draftsman on board the Resolution, Captain James Cooke, from 1776-1780, published in 1808. It was missing 3 of its 16 plates and estimated at £400-600, but bidders ignored this and the price was buffeted all the way up to £4,600.

Brightwells' next book auction takes place in December.


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