Antique angling books sold at Bonhams

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2015-06-26 11:15:04

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Antique angling books sold at Bonhams

24 May 2012, 14:32 GMT+01

The Angling Library of Alan Jarvis was auctioned off at Bonhams, Knightsbridge, on May 22nd.

Jarvis’ avid passion amassed an impressive collection of rare and unique angling literature. The top seller was an 1843 illustrated work, The Catechism of Fly Making, Angling and Dyeing, Comprising Most Essentials of Information by William Blacker. This book contained over 75 flies and fly-tying specimens mounted with silver seals on card, and was sold for £187,250.

The second highest price realised was for a first edition of The Art of Angling, from 1651, by Thomas Barker – the first book written in English devoted to fly fishing, and the first to mention the reel. This achieved £61,250. Next was a first edition of an even earlier work, the second printed book in English on fishing, the 1590 A Booke of Fishing with Hooke & Line, and of all Other Instruments Thereunto Belonging, part one by Leonard Mascall, fetching £51,650.

In fourth place came what had been hailed as the star of the show, ‘the most beautiful book on fish ever published’, the six volumes of Markus Eliezer Bloch’s 1785-1797 Ichtyologie, ou histoire naturelle, générale et particulière des poissons. Avec des figures enluminées, dessinées d'après nature. The stunning illustrations were drawn from Bloch’s own collection of 1500 fish, executed by a range of artists and engravers, and tinted with silver. While it was not the highest achiever of the auction, this fascinating work won a total of £51,650, surpassing its pre-auction estimate of £30,000-£50,000.

A scarce poem on ‘The Genteel Recreation: or, the Pleasure of Angling’ by John Whitney from 1700 fetched £20,000, and the beautifully illustrated circa 1830 Fresh-water Fishes of Great Britain by Sarah Bowdich sold for £25,000.

Antique literature on angling and fishing, along with hunting, sports and games are infinitely collectible.

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