As always, our monthly most expensive list is anything but ordinary. February's top sales were comprised of some eclectic and unpredictable items. It was a month for reference books, with our top sale being a Turkish atlas complete with hand-colored maps, and another prominent item being an 1806 Webster's dictionary. Romance was represented as well with a limited edition book of W.H. Auden poems and a tribute to the love of wine by Evelyn Waugh. The selection is nicely rounded out by two collectible books of photography, one from Mexico and one from Japan.
The first edition copy of Titanic and Other Ships is a sale of particular interest as it was signed by the Second Officer on the Titanic's maiden voyage. It's been nearly a century since the doomed passenger liner sank, and interest in the story still hasn't waned.
1. Ottoman Atlas - $19,500
Published in 1860s this atlas contains thirty-nine hand coloured maps prepared and printed in the Muhendishane I Berri Humayun (the Royal School of Millitary Engineering in Istanbul)
2. Titanic and Other Ships by C.H. Lightoller - $11,742
A first edition copy from 1935, inscribed "To my old shipmate & companion survivor. C. H. Lightoller" with ownership inscription "Please return to H.J. Pitman." Lightoller and Pitman were Second and Third Officers respectively on the Titanic’s fateful maiden voyage.
3. The Holy Bible: Reprinted according to the authorized version of 1611 - $7,500
The full pressing contained 1075 copies, this was one of only 75 which were printed on Arnold unbleached rag paper, this five volume set was published from 1924-27 by the Nonesuch Press in London.
4. Historic Families of America: Armorial Edition by W.W. Spooner - $7,500
Limited edition of 50 numbered sets, three volumes, published circa 1910 where it was originally offered for US$300, this edition set the benchmark in the genealogy genre.
5. Wine in Peace and War by Evelyn Waugh - $5,775
Waugh's 1947 tribute to his beloved vino with illustrations by Rex Whistler, this edition was signed and limited to 100 copies.
6. Selections from Poems by W.H. Auden - $4,287
Published in 1974 this edition was limited to 400 copies and contains lithographs and a signature by English sculptor and artist Henry Moore.
7. A Compendious Dictionary of the English language by Noah Webster- $4,063
Published in 1806 this is the first edition of Webster’s first dictionary. With the 19th century oval rubberstamp on the front pastedown stating "Property of G. & C. Merriam Co. Springfield, Mass." An important association copy.
8.The Mexican Portfolio by Paul Strand - $3,560
A collection of photos taken in Mexico by photographer Paul Strand in 1932-33 this second edition was Limited No. 370 of 1000 copies signed by Strand, published 1967.
9 = Oh! Shinjuku by Shomei Tomatsu - $3,500
Tomatsu's "undeniably radical" book provides images of student protests and various aspects of Shinjuku, Tokyo, including its sex, crowds and excitement, in the late 1960s. First edition, 1969 by Japanese photographer Shomei Tomatsu.
9 = Chronica by Ramon Muntaner- $3,500
A chronicle of the life of Ramon Muntaner, commander in the Catalan Company who lived c. 1270-1336; they were a group of mercenaries who fought under Roger de Flor for the Byzantine emperor Andronicus II against the Turks. This, the second edition, was published in 1562.