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Antiquarian Book Auction Preview

Roger Collicott previews the specialist auction of printed books, antiquarian maps, prints, photographs and ephemera, to be held by Bearnes, Hampton & Littlewood during 2021 (postponed from 1st September 2020 due to Covid).

Excerpts From Visions of Cody (BK24/122) by Jack Kerouac offered in our Books, Maps
        and Prints Auction starting on 25th January 2021 at our salerooms in Exeter, Devon.

Excerpts From Visions of Cody (BK24/122) by Jack Kerouac offered in our Books, Maps and Prints Auction.

This sale has been postponed due to Covid.

Offered in this Antiquarian Book Sale are several single owner collections, varying from a collection of over fifty books on the circus; to an amazing collection sold in fifty-five lots of books on the post war Beat Generation. It's almost certain this is the first time such a collection on the Beats has been offered for sale in a UK auction.

There are many works by William Burroughs, Jack Kerouac, Alan Ginsberg, etc. The star item probably is a signed limited edition by Jack Kerouac, 'Excerpts from Visions of Cody' (BK24/122) (1960) £1,500-£2,000. However my own favourite is Allen Ginsberg, 'Howl and Other Poems' (BK24/113) in the original card covers it is signed by both Ginsberg and fellow Beat Lawrence Ferlinghetti.

Ginsberg unleashes a ferocious tirade against the horrors of war, capitalism, and post industrialisation. Ginsberg unleashes a ferocious tirade against the horrors of war, capitalism and post industrialisation. Now forming a clarion call for future advocates of counter culture.

Next : Edward Ardizzone (1900-1979) was an English painter, print-maker, and war artist. He was a prolific author and illustrator of many books, with a unique charming almost naive style. He illustrated books by Eleanor Farjeon, John Betjeman, Charles Dickens, Graham Greene, etc.

His series of children's books featuring a boy called Tim are ever collectable. Again, from a single owner collection, divided into seventeen lots containing over seventy books virtually all in very good condition still retaining their attractive pictorial dust wrappers. The pick of the collection is an original pen and ink sketch, 'Framley Parsonage' signed 'Diz', (1959) with a Chris Beetles gallery label on verso (BK24/49) £200-£300.

A small but choice collection of private press and woodcut illustrated books are on offer, including illustrated by Paul Nash, Clare Leighton, John O’Connor, Eric Gill, etc. The Whittington Press is well represented, the 'pick' being, 'Britten's Aldeburgh' (BK24/11), illustrated with linocuts by John Craig, limited to 440 signed copies, a sound investment, it is expected to fetch between £285-£385.

There is a collection of regimental history books in the military section, a feature of the books in this collection is the wonderful condition the books have been kept in, as well as the rarity of some of the titles. This alone guarantees interest with a scarce three volume work heading the charge 'History of the Organisation, Equipment, and War Services of the Regiment of Bengal Artillery,' 1877-95 (BK24/302), offered at £150-£250.

The book sale also includes an eclectic mix of titles, including early printed books, by Holinshed, 'The First and Second Volumes of Chronicles' (1586) (BK24/354). This revised second edition is widely believed to be the source work for most of William Shakespeare's historical plays. William Dugdale's 'The Antiquities of Warwickshire,' (BK24/340) copiously illustrated by William Hollar, in 1656, being the first history of that county, it is keenly priced at £350-£600.

Elsewhere in the sale are several atlases including Camden's Britannia, 1789 (BK24/494) in three folio volumes with the full compliment of county maps by John Cary £400-£600. There are many lots of local history books, prints and large scale maps, especially relating to Exeter. Wright's, 'China' (BK24/406) in 4 volumes £400-£600. Pallas, 'Travels Through the Southern Provinces of the Russian Empire,' (BK24/375) 2 volumes, with hand coloured aquatint plates, 1802, £1,000-£1,500. An important Kodak photograph album including images of British Royalty circa 1919 (BK24/477), £400-£600. Curtis, 'The Botanical Magazine' (BK24/412), in nine volumes containing 432 beautiful original hand coloured plates £200-£300.

As always, the 560 lot sale concludes with a number of fine antiquarian maps including by the seventeenth century cartographer John Speed.


  • Bearnes Hampton & Littlewood
  • Antiquarian Book Sales

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