A few days after December’s issue of Rare Book Monthly releases, Irish auction house Fonsie Mealy Auctioneers will be hosting their #307Rare Book Sale, comprising 920 lots. While an Anglo-Irish and Celtic focus often characterize Fonsie Mealy’s sales—and this one is no different—the prize of the sale is decidedly not born of the British Isles. Given the Anglo-centricity, there is still a great variety in subject matter. The sale is scheduled for December 4, 2018, to take place at the Talbot Hotel in Dublin. The following are a few highlights that may perk your interest.
The sale’s highest estimated item is an amazing find, being a contemporary manuscript eyewitness account of the Fall of Constantinople to the Ottomans in 1453 written by Leonard of Chios, a defender present in the city when it was captured. Dated 16 August 1453 (a few months after the battle), the volume consists of 12 folios (24 pages) on vellum detailing the end of the last remnant of the Roman Empire. Leonard’s narrative was published in 1544, and again in 1594. For collectors of Byzantine history, whether Roman or Ottoman, this must rank as one of the most desirable items. Desirability does not come cheaply: Leonard’s work is estimated £50,000 to £70,000 as lot 568.
Returning to the British Isles, lot 600 is a first edition of a well-known British 20th century author: Ian Fleming. The work in question is Casino Royale, which was published in 1953. I don’t know if Fleming had a particular affinity for the heart suit in cards, but the dustjacket bears nine of them on the cover. This first edition copy of Casino is estimated £10,000 to £15,000.
It wouldn’t be right to omit any mention of Irish material in the sale, and lot 666 bears mentioning. A first edition, second issue copy of Irish poet W.B. Yeats’ The Wanderings of Oisin might already be included in this preview, but the copy being offered is also inscribed by the author to his friend, Maud Gonne. Fonsie Mealy describes the volume as “superb, rare and most desirable.” Yeats’ work is estimated £10,000 to £15,000 as well.
Our last item in the sale preview, I believe, helps to illustrate the vastness of subjects offered in the sale. We’ve seen the Romans and Turks, super spy James Bond, poetry by Yeats, and now, a very rare work by Sir Isaac Newton: Analysis Per Quantitatum Series, Fluxiones, ae Differentias: Cum Enumeratione Linearum Tertii Ordinis. This first edition, printed in 1711, contains Newton’s first account of his invention of calculus and is estimated £8,000 to £12,000 as lot 327.
Fonsie Mealy’s Rare Book Sale is slated for Tuesday, December 4 at 10AM GMT. The entire catalog is browsable online. Online bidding is available via the Saleroom, while live, telephone and absentee bidding are handled by the auction house itself.