Peter Harrington, the UK’s largest rare bookseller, celebrates its 50th anniversary this year – in 1969 Peter Harrington, the founder of the business, issued the first catalogue from a stall at Chelsea Antiques Market on Kings Road.
This year the business which carries his name launched its 150th catalogue on January 22nd. This special anniversary catalogue offers fifty notable books and manuscripts, from the fifteenth to the twenty-first century.
Pom Harrington, Peter’s son and owner of Peter Harrington Rare Books, says: “I know my father would have been staggered at some of the books that have passed through our hands in recent years, and I hope this catalogue conveys the spirit of Peter Harrington. Where the future will take us, who knows? But we will keep doing what we love — finding rare and interesting books and manuscripts, and, equally important, new collectors to look after them.”
Highlights of Catalogue 150 include:
- A newly discovered pre-publication inscribed copy of Love in the Time of Cholera by Gabriel Garcia Márquez (£50,000);
- A first edition of Frankenstein by Mary Shelley which is from a Stoke Newington circulating library (£275,000) and a groundbreaking manifesto of women’s rights written by Mary Shelley’s mother, Mary Wollstonecraft, over 200 years ago, both of them uncut in their original boards bindings (£25,000);
- The captain of the Beagle’s own set of Darwin’s first published 4 volumes of his Narrative of the Surveying Voyages of H.M. Ships Adventure and Beagle (£100,000) and a life-time correspondence between Darwin and the German botanist Friedrich Hildebrand (£125,000);
- A rare true first edition of Les Misérables by Victor Hugo in its original wrappers (£45,000);
- A copy of Casino Royale by Ian Fleming inscribed to his employer who allowed him special leave to write his James Bond novels (£135,000);
- A remarkably rare first edition of the paper Ada Lovelace, the first computer programmer, wrote which belonged to her maths tutor who has extensively annotated it (£250,000);
- The Second Folio, the first practically obtainable edition, of the collected Shakespeare plays bound in contemporary calf which makes it rare and desirable (£350,000);
- A notably rare first edition, first issue of Dracula which has been inscribed by Bram Stoker (£135,000);
- A 400-year-old plus copy of On the Fabric of the Human Body by Andreas Vesalius which marked the beginning of the study of modern anatomy (£250,000).
Catalogue 150 also contains remarkable books by Jane Austen, Charles Darwin, Winston Churchill, Leo Tolstoy, Karl Marx, Charlotte Bronte, Jeremy Bentham and James Joyce. The 50 unique books selected range in price from £22,500 to £350,000 and come from the fields of travel, economics, philosophy, medicine, poetry, mathematics, computing, as well as literature.
Peter Harrington Rare Books is a member of the Antiquarian Booksellers’ Association and offers an ‘unconditional guarantee’ for each item it sells on its authenticity and completeness, as described. Peter Harrington has shops at 100 Fulham Road, Chelsea and at 43 Dover Street, Mayfair.