Tell me a story: Captain Cook's book could sail to more than $5,000

Bloomsbury Auctions will be holding a sale of Travel, Topographical and other Antiquarian books, maps and atlases on February 24 - there are 395 lots, many with very modest prices.  There are plenty of hidden gems though.

Lot 57 is a quaint, first edition set of all 10 volumes of The Botanist's Repository by Henry C Andrews.  The title was created in the early 19th Century as a rival to the Botanical Magazine, containing more plants in finer detail.

With 664 engraved plates, some colour-printed pages and hand-colouring throughout, this set is in very good condition.  As such, it attracts an estimate of £5,000-7,000.  For a botanist or any rare book enthusiast, this set is a rare find and would be an unusual investment.

Another interesting lot with potential is 'Twelve Views of the Interior of Guiana' by Sir Robert Hermann Schomburgk.  This scarce first edition contains excellent hand-coloured lithographs, wood-engraved illustrations and an engraved map.

Between 1835 and 1839, Schomburgk explored British Guiana on behalf of the Royal Geographical Society, successfully surveying the country and discovering the rare Victoria Regia lily.  This first edition was created in 1840, documenting much of what he saw.  It is expected to realise £3,500-4,000.


Captain Cook's book
Captain Cook's account of the first Antarctic voyage is unique

Another highlight is a two volume set entitled 'A Voyage towards the South Pole, and Round the World', by the legendary Captain James Cook - discoverer of Australia.  This first edition chronicles the first voyage of man to the Antarctic, and contains an engraved portrait, as well as 63 plates, charts and portraits.

This unique record of a landmark expedition is expected to sell for £2,500-3,500 and, like many of the rare books on offer, represents an inexpensive but special historical artefact.  The fact the latter lot is connected with the famous Cook is likely to make it increasingly valuable as time goes by.

The Bloomsbury auction has a variety of great literary gems and will prove fascinating for anyone interested in book collecting or history generally.  For a small outlay, you could invest in items that, for the most part, have been lost to the past.


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