Isidoro Fernandez's (1887-1963) remarkable library of rare and valuable books is to auction at Christie's London on March 20.
A Bilbao-born businessman who spent the latter part of his life in London, Fernandez has been described as "a very private man" by his granddaughter Elisa, who comments that he inspired "respect, but not fear."
"My grandfather was a man who only had a basic education, yet could run a successful toy wholesale business, teach himself French and slowly develop a sophisticated taste in books," she states.
Highlights from the impressive collection include a fine first French edition of La Description de l'Isle d'Utopie by Thomas More (1550), containing 12 woodcuts, and the first and only edition of Marco Polo's Historia de la grandezas y cosas marauillosas de las Prouincias Orientales (1601), which was published a year after the death of its second translator, Martin Abarca de Bolea y Castro.
The tomes both carry estimates of £8,000-12,000 ($11,976-17,964).
The predicted top lot is a practical and theoretical work intended to be used as a guide by artisans and artists, authored by the Spanish goldsmith and metal worker Juan de Arfe (1535-1603). The heavily illustrated first edition carries a £15,000 ($22,455) top estimate and is believed to date from 1572.
See our rare books and manuscripts in stock.
Sign up for Paul Fraser Collectibles' free weekly newsletter.