OT for GMacAree

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OT for GMacAree

Editado: Nov 16, 12:38 pm


The History of the Peloponnesian War by Thucydides, Ashendene Press, 1930.

Nov 16, 12:57 pm


Nov 16, 1:03 pm

Is that an full vellum binding?

Nov 16, 1:10 pm

>3 Libri_mea_vita_sunt:


Unfortunately, it is thick pigskin - a leather than should not be used in fine binding because it almost always darkens, yellows, dries out and is especially susceptible to rubbing, abrasions and soiling. It occasionally foxes as well, a problem that has also occurred with the alum-tawed white pigskin on the Arion Press 'Ulysses". This is why it is near impossible to find a copy in NF or fine condition.

Nov 16, 1:16 pm

>4 dlphcoracl: oh okay.
But yours look really fine to me, though

Nov 16, 1:29 pm

>5 Libri_mea_vita_sunt:

It is!

But you will never find another Ashendene Thucydides in this condition. It came from the personal collection of Brian Douglas Stilwell, an outstanding Philadelphia collector, whose books were notable for their fine condition.

Editado: Nov 16, 1:59 pm


Indeed it is.

It is hardly surprising it is being offered by Phillip Pirages, one of the finest booksellers in the world with a particular emphasis on antiquarian books, i.e. incunabula, illuminated manuscripts, Books of Hours, rare 16th and 17 century printings, etc. Pirages prides himself on the exceptional condition of his books. Note that his final comment in the detailed description and discussion of this copy states:

"The present copy is the best we have encountered during more than four decades in the book trade."

Bottom line: Don't hold your breath waiting to see another copy in this condition. 😀

Nov 16, 2:18 pm

>8 dlphcoracl: yes, one shouldn’t 😅
I go with your sage advice and get an internally fine copy rebound

Nov 16, 2:33 pm

Absolutely gorgeous. One of the top 5 on my want list. What paper is it printed on?

Nov 16, 3:22 pm

>10 ultrarightist:

It is printed on Batchelor paper, same as the Kelmscott Press.

Nov 16, 4:46 pm

Siiiiiiiiiiiiigh. Someday!

Thanks for the photos :)

Editado: Nov 18, 10:17 am

I have a copy (one of 100) of a rather well-produced catalogue from Dulau & Co, Old Bond St, London. It isn't dated but internal evidence suggests 1932. This section may be of interest:

Nov 19, 7:16 pm

I'd happily pay £105 for the vellum copy — do you think they still have it? ;)

Nov 19, 8:06 pm

This is my favorite book, period, that I have yet encountered. The printing and design is flawless. And the work is of special interest to me, as a student of historiography. (I have a copy and it is the jewel of my collection, the one volume I'd save if I could only save one.)

I've heard the caution against pigskin, but all of the copies I've come across of this have actually stood up quite well.

I've seen several different copies in person, all in fine condition, including my copy, a copy in a university special collection, and a copy owned by a local dealer.

Nov 20, 5:59 am

>14 gmacaree:

The proper reading of the price of the book is 100 guineas, a nice round sum. Guineas were the currency of professional people, lawyers, doctors, and the like, pounds for tradesmen, and that indicates what Dulau thought of themselves. If they still have it, you may get a bit knocked off for shelf wear.

Given the high price of the paper copies of the book today, it's hard to imagine what a vellum one would go for.

Other prices from the catalogue are interesting. The GC Four Gospels was 80gns on vellum, 8 gns on paper. The eight volume Shakespeare Head Works of Edmund Spenser was 30 gns. The most expensive book I noticed was an incunabulum Dante, the first illustrated edition from 1481, at 200 gns. No shortage of Holy Grail material in the catalogue as a whole, which was titled 'For Typophiles'.

Nov 20, 7:35 am

>16 affle: As per the Bank of England's inflation calculator, one hundred 1932 guineas equates in value to £6055 in 2023 pounds. Still probably a good price for a vellum copy.

Nov 20, 8:13 am

>7 SebRinelli:
>8 dlphcoracl:
Ashendene press on vellum featured in this Philip Pirages video at about 12:39

Nov 20, 10:41 am

>18 PBB:

As Phillip Pirages noted, the Ashendene vellum books are in a league of their own.

Nov 20, 10:44 am

>18 PBB: thanks for the link. Absolutely beautiful books.
I believe >8 dlphcoracl: actually owns a copy on vellum.

I still bite my fingers that I was not bidding on the vellum Doves Faust which was auctioned a year or two ago.

Nov 20, 11:16 am

A phenomenal title that for many years was considered the least desirable Ashendene folio by collectors and dealers alike. That has changed these last several years and its price has risen accordingly. Aside from the vellum copies in the Royal Collection and the Wormsley library, I doubt you will ever see one in as pristine a condition as Oracle's.

Nov 20, 12:14 pm

>18 PBB:
>20 SebRinelli:

I do own a vellum copy of the Ashendene Press 'Golden Asse' of Lucius Apuleius and I posted photos of it somewhere on LT Fine Press Forum although I cannot recall where it is. I know of only one other vellum Ashendene appearing in the secondary market over the past decade, a copy of 'The Wisdom of Jesus, the Son of Sirach, commonly called Ecclesiasticus.

Nov 20, 3:34 pm

>23 ubiquitousuk:

Yes. I couldn't remember which thread the photos were posted in.

Editado: Nov 21, 12:46 am

>22 dlphcoracl: Sophie Schneideman sold a vellum copy of "Vita di Santa Chiara Vergine" at Manhattan IALB fair this past April. Below is a cut and paste from her show catalog:

Vita di Santa Chiara Vergine
Chelsea, Ashendene Press, 1921
¶ One of only 10 copies printed on vellum, of which 6 were for sale. Collotype facsimiles of the
first two leaves of the original manuscript bound after the introduction. Printed in Subiaco type in
red and black with initials, designed by Graily
Hewitt, printed in blue. 8vo., original limp
burgundy red vellum, original silk ties, with
vellum thongs and gilt dots at where the ties are
threaded, gilt lettering on spine as for the paper
editions, fading to spine, a little lifting to lower
pastedown edges but a remarkably good, fresh
copy housed in a red morocco backed, velvet
lined solander box by Brockman. £45000

I had a chance to closely look at and handle this book. The pop of the red, blue and black ink off the page was amazing. The burgundy limp vellum binding was faded to a light orange on the spine. That fading also occurred toward the spine side of the top and bottom covers by 1/4" - 1/2".

The link below will take you to Sophie's 2023 NYC Book Fair catalog:


Nov 21, 8:47 am

A vellum copy of the little 12mo Gothic Architecture (Kelmscott Press) is for sale.

"Kelmscott printings on vellum are exceedingly scarce and in extreme demand, owing not only to rarity, but also the beauty of having crips registration and solid ink transfer of the beautiful typography, initials, designs and decorations found in Kelmscott Press publications, universally recognized as the foremost Fine Press publisher in modern history".


Editado: Nov 21, 3:49 pm

I remember seeing a couple Ashendene books on vellum come up for auction at Bonhams in June 2021. One was "A Book of Songs and Poems from the Old Testament" (1904) and the other was More's "Utopia" (1906). Limitations were 25 on the former and 20 on the latter. It was a wild auction all around, with many lots far exceeding their estimates (I was watching a couple artist's books by Timothy Ely, but they ended up selling for way more than I was willing to spend). "Songs and Poems" went for 24k GBP and "Utopia" sold for 27.5k GBP (including the premium). Highly unlikely that these titles will be available any time soon!

See lot #222 and #223

Editado: Nov 21, 10:54 am

>25 Sport1963:

Ironically, it was Sophie Schneideman who sold the copy of the vellum Ashendene 'Wisdom of Jesus - Ecclesiasticus' I made reference to. It was part of her Catalogue 25, a selection of books from a Netherlands book collector named George Van Houten, who had purchased books from Sophie for many years. Unfortunately, he stipulated that several of the most desirable books in this catalogue had to be offered first (preferentially) to close friends and fellow book collectors in London, whom he had met during his professional career and time spent in London. They were given one week to make their purchases from this catalogue and the remaining books were then released for purchase to the general public. Predictably, someone quickly purchased the vellum Ashendene book (Item No.6). I believe the price was similar, in the 45,000 to 50,000 GBP range. Incidentally, I purchased items No. 2 and No. 38 from that catalogue. A link to this Catalogue 25 is given below.


Nov 21, 12:41 pm

>28 dlphcoracl: Very nice. Interesting to note that item #1 Catalogue 25, the 3-volume octavo Dante, was listed at this year's Paris book fair at 35,000 GBP (or $35,000, see note below) for a different set. The set in Catalogue 25 looks like it was in better condition than the Paris set too. The Paris set sold quickly. Ashendene's are in low supply and high demand these days.

Note: I may be off on the Paris price, I can't find Sophie's Paris catalogue, and am I going from memory and my notes. I may have converted GBP to USD - all I jotted down was 35k - far beyond my means.