Featuring a First English Edition of Machiavelli's 'The Prince' and a 15th Century Book of Hours
Set of First Editions of Charles Dicken's Five Christmas Stories in Fine Cosway Bindings
Doyle’s auction of Rare Books and Autographs on Monday, November 23, 2015 at 10am offers a remarkable collection of French Royal bindings from the reigns of Louis XIII to Charles X, as well as many very fine examples of bookbinding from the 17th to 20th centuries. A strong selection of science and technology ranges from early works pertaining to Galileo and Brahe to a fine collection of rare facsimiles of the works of Leonardo da Vinci. Colorplate features a set of Audubon’s Birds of America. Americana includes a selection from the New York City Bar Association, featuring a volume from the library of Noah Webster. Among the manuscripts are two interesting Books of Hours. Autographs feature two album sleeves signed by the Beatles, examples of George Washington and Theodore Roosevelt including a rare appointment of a Rough Rider, and an entertainment highlight, an early typescript of Orson Welles’ famous radio drama, The War of the Worlds.
Machiavelli’s infamous political treatise, The Prince, had been controversial since its first publication in 1532 and was listed in the Catholic Church's Index of prohibited books in 1559. The first English edition, of which the sale offers a remarkable example in fresh condition and in a contemporary calf binding, was published in London in 1640 during a brief breakdown of censorship in England (est. $30,000-50,000). Written in the Southern Low Countries, likely Liège, a fine 15th century Book of Hours to be offered contains 124 vellum leaves and 10 large miniatures (est. $20,000-30,000).
A charmingly bound set of first editions of Dickens' five Christmas stories (est. $30,000-50,000) in fine Cosway bindings, London: 1843-1848, are in matching dark olive levant morocco by Rivière, tooled after designs by J. H. Stonehouse. Each volume bears a glazed oval inset Cosway-style miniature of Dickens (from youth to age, volume by volume) painted by C.B. Currie, with her stamp on the rear dentelle, and each contains a letter by Dickens or by one of his illustrators.
Eighteen volumes of elegant epistles, being a copious selection of instructive, moral, and entertaining letters, London: 1825, are bound in full period straight grained purple morocco and are housed in a period, beautifully appointed miniature bookcase (est. $10,000-15,000). Each of the volumes is decorated with concealed double fore-edge paintings of London views.
In 1808, following his expedition to the Pacific Ocean with William Clark, Meriwether Lewis was appointed Territorial Governor of Louisiana by Thomas Jefferson. In a rare signed document, Lewis appoints George Armistead Justice of the Peace in the newly formed Arkansas Township (est. $12,000-18,000). Armistead later commanded the American defenses during the bombardment of Fort McHenry in the War of 1812 and commissioned the flag immortalized in The Star Spangled Banner.
From the Rare Books Collection of the New York City Bar Association is a 1790’s New York Supreme Court Register (est. $2,000-3,000). Being offered in a series of landmark auctions, the NYC Bar’s collection has totaled over $2 million to date.