Bellmans' Department of Printed Books, Manuscripts and Maps covers a diverse array of material of all time periods, from incunabula (books printed before 1501 - literally, from the ‘cradle’ of printing) to modern first editions, from Beowulf to Virginia Woolf, from Beatrix Potter to Harry Potter. It holds two auctions a year.

Recent highlights include a 15th-century manuscript Book of Hours which sold for £8,000; a copy of John Marchesinus’s “Mammotrectus” printed in Venice in 1485 reached £4,800; a rare 1960 first edition of Sylvia Plath's "The Colossus and Other Poems" sold for £2,000; a copy of "History, Laws and Places of the Chief Mines and Mineral Works in England, Wales and the English Pale in Ireland" by John Pettus sold for £750; a first edition of J. D. Salinger’s “Catcher in the Rye” printed in Boston in 1951 made £3,000; a substantial folio collection of an estimated six hundred 18th and 19th-century autographs, letters, clippings and envelopes made £5,500; a first edition of "Poems by Currer, Ellis and Acton Bell", the pseudonyms of Charlotte, Emily and Anne Bronte respectively, fetched £1,100 and an uncorrected proof copy of J. K. Rowling’s “Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban” printed in 1999 sold for the hammer price of £1,600.

Our specialists handle everything from individual books to single-owner collections including books in all the traditional categories: travel and topography, including maps and atlases, natural history, sporting, science, fine bindings, private press, children’s and illustrated books and modern first editions. We also include autograph letters – particularly those of literary interest – and manuscripts.

Valuations take place both in our Sussex Saleroom and our London office on Brook Street, Mayfair, as well as 'pop-up' valuation days across the country. Preliminary estimates can also be provided via email and we are delighted to arrange home visits.


  • Books

Department Specialists

Nicholas Worskett

Printed Books & Manuscripts Specialist