Illustrated Manuscript Ship’s Log Sails to Success

By Rebecca Rego Barry

At auction earlier in June in New York was a bound volume containing two early nineteenth-century ship’s logbooks, “Journal of a Voyage, from Bristol to the Mediterranean, Anno Domini 1819” and “Log-Book Kept on board the Astraea On a Voyage from London to the Mediterranean, Anno-Domini 1821.” Unlike many logbooks of their kind, these two displayed exceptional artistic merit, containing 28 leaves of ink calligraphy (page headers) and 35 fine watercolor drawings. Their creator, Captain William Hodgson, drew not only his own ships but other trading vessels traveling through the Mediterranean at the time.

2450-296_2 copy.jpgInterest in the nautical manuscripts was strong. Multiple bidders took the volume well past its $3,000-5,000 estimate; ultimately, a dealer won it for $20,800. Swann Galleries specialist Caleb Kiffer noted, “The log book is one of those unusual items that rarely comes to market and that gets people really excited.”

Read more about this lot on Swann’s blog.

Images courtesy of Swann Auction Galleries

Browse related collectible books:

Maps & Atlases – Rare Book Room

Rare Manuscripts & Original Documents

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Recap of International Symposium on Beatrix Potter

By Barbara Basbanes Richter The Beatrix Potter Society hosted a three-day symposium this past weekend at Connecticut College dedicated to discussing various Potter archives and biographies in an overall appreciation of the creator of beloved classics like The Tale of Peter Rabbit and The Tale of Jemima Puddle-Duck. Connecticut College’s Betsy Bray and Kathy Cole coordinated the event, which was two years in the making. Most participants hailed from libraries and institutions across the United States and Great Britain, though … Continued


Massive Freud Collection for Sale

By Barbara Basbanes Richter   The 19th Century Rare Book & Photograph Shop recently announced the sale of a massive 750-piece collection dedicated to the life and works of the father of modern psychology and psychoanalysis, Sigmund Freud. The collection includes a comprehensive representation of Freud’s published works from the 1880s to the 1940s. Freud was is one of the field’s most prolific authors, and many of the books in this collection are in their original printed wrappers. A run … Continued


Sangorski & Sutcliffe Jewelled Binding Goes to Auction

By Rebecca Rego Barry Sangorski & Sutcliffe is synonymous with fine binding and is often hailed as the “Rolls Royce of Bookbinding.” At the turn of the twentieth century, Francis Sangorski and George Sutcliffe wowed their fellow craftsmen with elaborate and innovative leather binding designs. Ornate jeweled bindings–featuring inset semi-precious stones–became one of their specialties. Next month one of those sumptuous bindings is going to auction in New York. It is, according to Bonhams, a “fantastic example of a Sangorski … Continued


Zelda’s Paper Dolls at Auction

Living in the shadow of her husband, author F. Scott Fitzgerald, Zelda Fitzgerald was a writer and, as evidenced by this incredible set of painted paper dolls, a visual artist too. Zelda had married Fitzgerald in 1920, and their lives were famously wild, unscripted, and discordant. Her biographer Nancy Milford suggests that Zelda began painting in the mid-1920s, perhaps to express her mercurial emotions. She began making paper dolls in 1927, “most likely as a way to engage with her then 6-year-old daughter Frances ‘Scottie’ Fitzgerald,” according to Sotheby’s. (more…)


Muriel Spark’s Writing Table Heads to Auction

By Rebecca Rego Barry

Muriel Spark is less read in America than in her native Great Britain, which is a shame since she is one of the “50 greatest British writers since 1945,” landing at No. 8, ahead of the more popular Ian Fleming, Roald Dahl, and A.S. Byatt. Spark, who was born in Scotland in 1918, published novels, short stories, and poems from the late 1950s until 2004, two years before her death. She is perhaps best known for her novel, The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie (1961), although three other novels were shortlisted for the Booker Prize; she was also awarded a Golden PEN Award.

Muriel Spark’s Writing Table Heads to Auction - from Fine Books & Collections and Biblio.com

On May 17, this elegant wooden table, “said to be the table at which Muriel Spark wrote The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie,” goes to auction in Edinburgh. The table had belonged to the author’s parents, and, according to the auctioneer, “Spark is thought to have come to her parents’ home in Edinburgh for six weeks to work on The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie at this small table.” Her parents presumably willed the table to Spark’s estranged son, the artist Robin Spark, who died last year.

The auction estimate is £300-400 ($387-516), an incredible bargain for a Spark fan. Spark’s archives are at the National Library of Scotland.

Image via Lyon & Turnbull

Browse related collectible books:

Muriel Spark – First Editions

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2017 Colorado Antiquarian Book Seminar Scholarship

August 10, 2012 CABS – Janine Moodhe

Biblio.com is excited to offer a scholarship to the 2017 Colorado Antiquarian Book Seminar!

Biblio is offering a scholarship to the 2017 Colorado Antiquarian Book Seminar. This year, we are ding something different and opening our scholarship to both book sellers and book collectors.

This year’s scholarship recipient will receive:

  • The full cost of tuition
  • $250 toward accommodations at the facilities provided by the seminar
  • $250 donation to a non-profit of their choice that promotes literacy and/or education

The scholarship is open to book sellers and book collectors.

Applicants should provide:

  • An essay written to explain their chosen field of expertise to someone new to book collecting. Around 500 words is ideal. Biblio may, at its discretion, publish your article on its websites and will provide you with full credit and links to your business, where applicable.
  • A brief description of the charity you would choose to receive the donation and why you chose them. (no more than one single-spaced page)

Deadline for applications/articles is May 31, 2017. Please send all applications to scholarship@biblio.com.

A drawing is held among qualified entrants to find the winner.

The scholarship winner will be notified within 7-10 days of the application deadline.

Best of luck to all of our scholarship applicants!


“Show Me the Mini” Exhibit at Harn Museum is Full of Tiny Treasures

By Barbara Basbanes Richter   Sometimes the best gifts come in tiny packages. Now through November 2018, the Harn Museum of Art at the University of Florida will be exhibiting over one hundred tiny treasures from the Harn’s Asian art collection in celebration of the five-year anniversary of the opening of its David A. Cofrin Asian Art Wing. Curator Jason Steuber decided over four years ago that the show would investigate what he feels is the overlooked topic of miniatures … Continued


Scarfe’s Satires at Auction

By Rebecca Rego Barry For more than five decades, 80-year-old English cartoonist Gerald Scarfe has been at the ready with his pen to comment on the political and cultural scene. His work has appeared in the New Yorker and the Sunday Times, as well as in theatre and film. On April 5, 130 of his originals go to auction at Sotheby’s London for the first major sale of his drawings. From Winston Churchill to Donald Trump, Scarfe has taken a … Continued