Victorian fly fishing book sets $293,733 world record

A Victorian book on the art of fly fishing set a new world record yesterday (May 23), with a dramatic increase of 6,141% on estimate at Bonhams.

Fly Fishing book
The book achieved record results despite three missing flies


Entitled Catechism of Fly Making, the 1842 book soared past its estimate of £3,000, after the unnamed buyer was lured into a bidding war at the auction house's London showroom. It achieved a final price of £187,250 ($293,733), setting a world record for the most expensive angling book sold at auction.

The book's author, William Blacker, was a prominent fishing tackle dealer in London's Soho. He was also an accomplished angler whose revolutionary methods made the book a key work in the history of fly fishing.

The book included 75 flies and fly tying specimens mounted with silver seals, in an expanded edition of the original work. It achieved its record result despite having some of the flies missing.

Elsewhere in the sale, a first edition of Thomas Barker's The Art of Angling brought £61,250 ($96,069). The
tome, published in 1651, was the first English book devoted to fly fishing.

Similarly, a 1590 work entitled A Booke of Fishing with Hooke and Line, sold for £51,650 ($81,012). The work provided a superb example of the second book ever printed in English on fishing, with its author Leonard Mascall described as "a pioneer of fish culture".

Paul Fraser Collectibles has compiled a brilliant investment portfolio of sports memorabilia to boost your collection. 

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