Catalogue of the renowned library removed from Ham House, Surrey, and sold by order of the Buckminster Estates § The second and final portion (catalogues for auctions conducted by Sotheby & Co., London, 30-31 May 1938 and 20-21 June 1938)
London, Sotheby & Co., 1938
Two parts in one volume (25 cm), I (30-31 May 1938): (8) 69 (1) pp., frontispiece in colours and 24 plates in monochrome (pls.1-24, some folding). Lots numbered 1-210. II (20-21 June 1938): (6), pp.71-123 (1), frontispiece in colour and 18 plates in monochrome (pls.25-42, some folding). Lots numbered 211-389. Morocco-backed boards, a collector’s binding. - The foundations of the library were laid by the fourth Earl (1708-1770), who bought numerous volumes from the Harleian library; after his death little seems to have been added. The two sales realised a total of £38,292 (the twelve Caxtons contributing £15,575 to that total; cf. Percy Muir, “The Ham House Library Sale” in The Times Literary Supplement, 18 June 1938, p.424). The first sale included (lot 90) the 1554 Hypnerotomachie, ou Discours du songe de Poliphile, bound for William Prince of Orange; purchased by Maggs for £240, it passed into Lucius Wilmerding’s collection (his sale, Parke-Bernet, 5-6 March 1951, lot 185, $3100), then to the bookseller Pierre Berès (his Catalogue 49, item 62, 1,600,000 francs), and reappeared on the market in the Berès sale, 20 June 2006, lot 17, when it made €352,223 (Antiquariaat Forum BV). The second sale contained the third folio of Shakespeare’s plays (1663), in a contemporary red morocco binding; although bid up to £3200, it failed to reach its reserve, and was returned to the family. Together with other unsold lots, it was re-offered by Sotheby’s, 24-25 November 1947, lot 448, when it sold to William Foyle for £4400. The copy re-appeared in the Foyle sale (Christie’s, 11-13 July 2000, lot 455) and realised £465,750. ¶ The publisher’s wrappers are not bound in. Excellent, unmarked copies.