All’s Wells for book sale

A collection of first edition novels by English author H.G Wills has sold for more than £20,000 at West Midlands auction house Cuttlestones. A number of the individual titles reached several thousands of pounds.

First edition copy of H.G. Wells The War in the AirThe star lot was a first edition copy of the author’s 1908 work, The War in the Air, published by George Bell & Sons. Still in its original dust jacket with blue cloth binding, gold lettering, two pages of adverts at back and along with a story removed from The Strand Magazine 1909 by H. G. Wells entitled My First Aeroplane (Alauda Magna), it sold for £7,500.

The second most sought-after book was a first edition copy of Wells’ Kipps the story of a simple soul. Published by Macmillan and Co. Limited in 1905, this first printing edition was presented in its original green cloth binding and what appears to be rare original dust jacket with Macmillan monograph and ‘Six shillings’ on the spine. It sold for £4,500.

A sum of £3,200 was achieved for a first edition copy of The country of the blind and other stories’, apparently a rare 1911 first edition by Thomas Nelson & Sons despite bearing no date, and again in its original dust jacket.

The remaining books in the collection sold for between £90 – £1,200 each, helping to achieve a total sum of £20,240.

Cuttlestones’ book specialist, Rosie Blackburn, said, “We had expected this collection to perform well and achieve in excess of £5,000, so we are delighted with the final figure. The collectors were out in force for what was undoubtedly a very important and rare collection of works by one of the forefathers of the sci-fi genre.”

She continued, “The books in this collection were by no means Wells’ best-known, but they do showcase his huge scope as an author; covering genres as diverse as sci-fi, humour, realist, military and even proto-feminist. It just goes to show that, despite the growing popularity of e-books there is still a very strong collectors’ market for paper and ink.”

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