Buyers called to books at Bonhams

The Library built by the late Hugh Selbourne, who was a General Practitioner and consultant physician in Manchester from 1938 until his death in 1973, has been sold at Bonhams in London for £2.6m.

Dr Hugh SelbourneSo extensive was Dr Selbourne’s collection of books that the sale was held in two parts. Part I took place in March 2015 with the concluding part being held recently.

Head of Bonhams Books and Manuscripts department, Matthew Haley, said, “Hugh Selbourne was a remarkable man with a boundless curiosity about the world. He assembled one the finest and most extensive private collection of books I’ve ever seen. The interest in the sale and the prices achieved are a testimony to his great taste and judgment.”

Among the many sale highlights were:

A first edition of The Skeptical Chymist by Robert Boyle, a seminal work in the history of science that paved the way for the work of Isaac Newton and Antoine Lavoisier. It sold for £362,500.

The Sceptical Chymist by Robert BoyleA first edition of John Locke’s influential philosophical work Two Treaties of Government published anonymously in 1690 which sold for £110,000. It advanced notions of civil society and the nature of government that had a profound effect on the American Revolution.
A first edition of Charles Darwin’s Origin of Species which was bought for £98,500.

A first edition of David Hume’s A Treatise of Human Nature, a corner stone of Enlightenment philosophy, which sold for £80,500.

A first edition of Darwin’s The Zoology of the Voyage of H.M.S. Beagle parts 1-4. This work, which was edited by Darwin, described discoveries and observations made on the voyage between 1832-1836 in the fields of Fossil Mammalia; Mammalia; Birds and Fish. It made £50,000.


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