Henry Sotheran Limited, or Sotheran’s for short, recently released a Spring Miscellany 2014. A miscellany is just that – a little of everything, or something for everyone. The variety is too broad to describe, ranging from children’s books to historical accounts. However, there is a large selection of books specifically from the library of the late British film producer Michael Winner. Most of the books in this section relate to movies and the people who starred in them. Here are a few books from this recent catalogue.
In America, John James Audubon is renowned for his drawings of birds, in England, it is John Gould. However, long before either was born, the man known as the “father of British ornithology” was capturing the images of hundreds of different birds using his artistic skills. That man was George Edwards, who traveled around Europe drawing birds and other animals. His drawings of birds would be made available in his one or two sets of books (depending on how you look at them): A Natural History of Uncommon Birds, and Gleanings of Natural History. The first was published from 1743-1751, the latter from 1758-1764. While published separately, the latter is considered a continuation of the former. Here, the seven volumes have been bound in four. While these illustrations are not quite on the level of Audubon – Sotheran’s describes them as being in the “primitive style,” with birds posed on tree trunks – these are still excellent illustrations that accurately introduced these species to the public. Almost 600 illustrations are contained in this set. Item 82. Priced at £30,000 (British pounds, or roughly $50,942 in U.S. currency).
Item 194 is an early correspondence course, and likely the first one for automotive repair. This is a fifth edition, “revised and enlarged,” circa 1915, of Dyke’s Auto & Gas Engine Instructor. Andrew Lee Dyke was an automotive pioneer, though he was not a traditional automobile builder. In 1899, he opened the first mail order automotive parts business in St. Louis. From there, he next offered build-it-yourself car kits, and even preassembled Dyke-Britton touring cars. However, he did not sell too many of these, so Dyke focused on parts and then various automotive manuals, which were something of a bible for those who tinkered with cars for many years. His course contained four work books and working models. It also provided instructions on other types of engines, marine, submarine, aircraft and motorcycles, including Indian and Harley Davidson. At the end of the work books was a test, which you would fill in and send back to Dyke’s company. Once all were completed, he would send you a diploma. This set was evidently never used, but we won’t vouch that if you take the exams and send them in, you will receive a diploma from Dyke’s. £1,750 (US $2,971).
Item 261 is a collection of definitely unreligious bibles. It is a group of 79 Tijuana Bibles, the name given for a type of cheap, pornographic booklet popular during the last century. These date from 1920-1965. Most are 8-page, crudely printed pamphlets. They are done in cartoon style, with sexually explicit illustrations, some displaying artistic talent, others not so much. The paper is cheap. Writers and artists are mostly unknown (these were not creations for which people generally wanted to take credit), though some were from prolific bible artist “Doc” Rankin and Wesley Morse. Morse was later known for the “Bazooka Joe” comic strip older readers will remember finding with their bubble gum. There may not be much in the way of quality here, but these pamphlets were pioneers in the now popular field of underground comics. £3,500 (US $5,943).