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Coker Court Catches Collectors' Eyes in Book Auction...

10th September 2019

Highlights in Lawrences’ bi-annual 420-lot auction of books, maps, manuscripts and photography showed the strength of demand for literature and history.

A small volume by William Paulet, Marquis of Winchester, published in 1586 and entitled `The Lord Marques Idleness`, contained sage advice and words of caution. This made £5250. A collection of works from the family of Samuel Taylor Coleridge that realised over £13,500 was led by a copy of `The British Neptune`, annotated by Coleridge himself, that made just over £5800. A rare volume on witchcraft and the confessions of those charged with sorcery dated from 1645 and made £10,600 whilst a very rare group of 34 hand-coloured engraved playing cards by Arman-Gustav Houbigant (1819) featured satirical subject matter and took £6750.

The day’s top prices were paid for Sebastiano Serlio’s `Booke of Architecture` (1611) which formerly belonged to the noted engraver and antiquary George Vertue (1684-1756). It doubled expectations to take £20,000.

An important collection of family letters relating to the Helyar family of Coker Court, East Coker, Somerset, contained original manuscripts spanning three centuries and included fascinating details of William Helyar’s  detention by Roundheads in 1642, Colonel William Helyar’s Royalist sympathies during the Civil War, the family’s plantations in Jamaica and vital biographical information about many other members of the family. This was estimated at £10,000-15,000 and realised £25000. The whole sale realised over £230,000.

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