Fine Books – Fine Press – Fine Bindings on April 15th

(Berkeley, California, March 26th, 2021) – PBA Galleries announced an auction of Fine Books – Fine Press – Fine Bindings to be held on April 15th, 2021. The catalogue includes over 225 lots comprising works from the private press, examples of fine binding, and significant works in the history of science, philosophy, and the liberal arts. Included are works from the Golden Age of illustration to Arts & Crafts, to contemporary masters such as Richard Wagener. Eric Gill’s The Four Gospels of the Lord Jesus Christ from Golden Cockerel Press is one outstanding example of a collection of Bibles and Biblical texts represented. Classics of the ancient world are well-represented, from Ogilby’s Homer, to several editions of Plutarch, to the magnificent 1753 edition of The Commentaries of Caesar translated by William Duncan and its superb array of copper-plate engravings and maps. 

Allen Press, Edith Wharton, Quartet, 1 of 140

Highlights include Eric Gill’s masterpiece, The Four Gospels of the Lord Jesus Christ published by Golden Cockerel Press (1931), one of 500 copies. “Gill’s Gospels” is a consummate blending of beautiful typography and superb illustration, which many consider the most beautiful printing of the New Testament in English (Estimate: $15,000-$25,000). Another fine press standout is Aladdin and His Wonderful Lamp in Rhyme by Arthur Ransome with 12 tipped-in color plates by Thomas Mackenzine, one of 250 copies signed by the artist. This lavish production remains arguably the best illustrated version of Aladdin (Estimate: $4,000-$6,000). 

Fine works from the 18th and 19th centuries round out the catalogue. A translation of the Confucian [Yih king] or the “Classic of Change” translated by Rev. Canon [Thomas] McClatchie and published by the American Presbyterian Mission Press (1876) is rarely seen at auction (Estimate: $10,000-$15,000). The Commentaries of Caesar, Translated into English. To which is prefixed a Discourse Concerning the Roman Art of War, published by J. & R. Tonson (1753), features 85 magnificent copper plate engravings (Estimate: $10,000-$15,000). From the 17th century, a rare matching set of Ogilby’s Homer (His Iliads Translated, Adorn’d with Sculpture, and Illustrated with Annotations, by John Ogilby [bound with] His Odysseys Translated, Adorn’d with Sculpture, and Illustrated with Annotations….) is unusual in its completeness, despite not containing an absolute maximum of plates ($8,000-$12,000).

Other noteworthy lots include The Shorter Poems of John Milton (1889), a very scarce large paper copy of this wonderfully presented work with twelve full-page tissue-guarded photogravure plates after the originals by Samuel Palmer ($800-$1,200). A handsomely bound set of The Works of Rudyard Kipling is signed by Kipling on the half-title of Volume 1 ($1,500-$2,500). 8 charming handkerchiefs illustrating scenes from Alice in Wonderland are each made or Irish linen and done by Gladys Peto (Estimate: $1,000-$1,500). 

PBA continues to safeguard the health of employees and clients by remaining closed to the public. PBA will limit live auction participation to online or phone bidding. For more information about upcoming sales or to schedule a Zoom preview or phone bidding for a future auction, please contact the galleries at 415.989.2665 or [email protected].