NEXT AUCTION - 10:30AM Saturday 12th December 2020

Our next sale includes important Australian firsts,
the Idriess Estate & other intriguing items.
This sale is so huge we will start at 10:30AM Sydney time.


December 12th 2020 Sale

Important Australian firsts, the Idriess Estate & other intriguing items

For the December 12th auction we have diverse selection of material from some impressive Australian collectors. We have two remarkable firsts: the first children’s book published in Australia and the first book written by an Australian Aboriginal author, as well as many signed and associated books, hand written letters, land grants and illustrations. 

The first children’s book published in Australia is A Mother’s Offering to her Children by a Lady (1841). Marcie Muir has attributed authorship to Charlotte Barton (1797-1867), described by the Australian Dictionary of Biography as a governess, feminist and author.  Barton published A Mother’s Offering to Her Children in 1841 to raise money and for a legal battle to keep her children. This title is very scarce. We know of only three copies sold in the last 30 years.  

David Unaipon

The first book written by an Australian Aboriginal author is Myths and Legends of the Australian Aboriginals. It was recently revealed from the early manuscripts that Ramsay Smith, the sattributed author of this book and a respected anthropologist, stole the material for this book from David Unaipon (1872-1976), a South Australian Aboriginal man of the Ngarrindjeri people, making this one of the first books to be written by an Australian Aboriginal author. This copy is signed by David Unaipon. Unaipon was the son of a preacher, an Indigenous culture recorder, inventor, poet and is now on the Australian $50 note.  

Ion Idriess

Ion Llewellyn Idriess (1889-1979) is one of (?) [or delete ‘s’ in authors] Australia’s most read and collected authors. He grew up in Broken Hill, later served in the 5th Australian Light horse in WWI, and travelled extensively around Australia, including remote Indigenous areas. He drew from these experiences and wrote some truly enthralling articles and books. 

For the Idriess collector we have some truly mouth-watering items. Several letters including correspondence with the US publisher concerning Horrie the Wog Dog (that little war hero!); a letter from Angus and Robertson’s managing director, Walter Cousins; and a letter author and bushman Bill Harney(1895-1962). There is also an original pencil drawn map in Idriess’s  hand that may have been used to plan his novel Wild White Man of Badu. Scarce items included the prospectus for the National Edition of his books, and a collection of stories from the Australian World Service Syndicate declaring Idriess as “Australia’s Most Popular Writer.” From his personal library there are books with his notes and some inscribed to Idriess from authors such as EV Timms, Frank Clune, and Eris O’Brien.  

We will also be selling good Australian histories from the estate of Robert Ian Jack (1935–2019), a passionate historian who was, amongst many other accolades, the longest serving president of the Australian Historical Society, a member of the NSW Heritage Council, president of the Hawkesbury Historical society, president for the Blue Mountains Association of Cultural Heritage, a and Associate Professor at the University of Sydney.  

One of many cool ephemeral items on Australian history.

October 17th Sale

Our October 17th sale features our usual eclectic mix of material, ranging from history, mythology, Australiana, children’s books and art.  

We will be selling the estate of the late Leigh Rayment. As a child Rayment dreamt of owning library and his passion for collecting lasted for well over forty years.  His library echoes his interests in life; as a child he had a fascination in myths folklore and fairy tales and later in life he focused on British political history. It is a handsome collection with many fine bindings. 

Also, in the sale are a large quantity of children’s books. There are some amusing and fabulous pop-up books and also some old favourites from Maurice Sendak, Arthur Rackham, and Enid Blyton. If you are a child from the eighties, you may remember the Dark Crystal movie. We have a scarce album produced to market the movie. It features the work of Brian Froud who was the conceptual designer and Jim Henson who was the producer and director of the movie. Brian Froud(b.1947) is an English fantasy illustrator dark whimsical style and is known for works in fairy tales and folklore. Henson (1936-1990) was a puppeteer and the creator of The Muppets, Fraggle Rock and Sesame Street.  

In our collection of art and painting there are landscapes, marine and Aboriginal works from artists such as John Allcot and Billy Stockman. Perhaps the most curious item we have for sale is a little scrapbook album with several miniatures which appear to be original ink illustrations signed “WM Craig” This could be William Marshall Craig(c1765-c1834) who was a painter and miniaturist. He has exhibited at the Royal Academy and his work is held at the Victoria and Albert and the British Museum and he was notably appointed water colourist to Queen Charlotte and miniature painter to the Duke and Duchess of York.  


Coming soon! 

Australiana ceramics – an online only sale featuring pottery from Diana, Vande, Coronet, Sylvac, Marutomo, hand painted ceramics by Martin Boyd and work by Australian potter Grace Seccombe. 

Crime fiction – More books from the collection of Leigh Rayment. Another online only sale with first editions by authors including John Rhode, Miles Burton, Herbert Adams, JM Walsh, John Ferguson, and Wyndham Martyn.  


June Sale Success!

Our June 13th Sale was a huge success, with a clearance rate of close to 90% and some fantastic results achieved. Some of the highlights included a 1789 Tench Narrative selling for approximately $9,000, a signed Henry Lawson achieved $2,500, a first edition Agatha Christie reached $1,500 and a Sydney Harbour Bridge Construction Report went under the hammer for $3,125. The pottery and art sold well, with almost all pieces finding buyers. Similarly the juvenile titles and art books proved popular. While they may not be the in fashion at the moment, there are still eager buyers in these categories, however condition is everything.

As always, ephemera was of particular interest. The extensive collection of swimming material in the catalogue all sold for healthy prices, with lots being purchased by private collectors, dealers and institutions. It’s great to see such wonderful material find good homes! Other ephemeral items included a myriad of bookplates, all of which sold, as well as scrapbooks and postcards.

Maps are a category that is currently quite popular. Looking at the data it’s difficult to find a trend, however early Australian maps are generally good sellers. As with most things, buyers are quite discerning, and there is a significant difference between the sale price of an average condition item, and one that is good to fine.

Across the sale we had in excess of 300 different buyers, with the majority being in Australia. However, there was significant interest out of Europe and North America, which indicates our reach continues to grow and the popularity of our sales extends well beyond domestic borders.

Our next auction will be scheduled shortly, with an online only parliamentary papers sale in July and our usual in-room/online auction of various material taking place in mid August.