Outstanding results for Bellmans Book Department


Bellmans Auctioneers’ Book Department began their autumn series of sales with outstanding results in their September Fine Books, Maps and Ephemera Auction, which saw strong hammer prices across the board, culminating in John Napier’s ‘A Plaine Discouery of the Whole Revelation of Saint John’ selling for £13,500.

Competitive bidding from local, national and international parties ensured that the 1593 First Edition soared above its £2,000-3,000 guide price, to the delight of specialist Denise Kelly, who commented “we were thrilled to discover such a wonderful text, and even more so to deliver the news about the sale to the slightly shellshocked vendor, who admitted that, unaware of its value, her son had been using the book 'to rest his red wine on' for years!” Bellmans hold bi-monthly specialist books auctions, comprising two hundred lots of first editions and other antiquarian books, manuscript material, photographs and maps.

Outstanding lots from the rest of the September auction included a rare mid-19th century Tasmania/ Van Diemen's Land cedar and burr wood occasional tripod table labelled "L Pearson, 3 Elizabeth Street, Hobart Town', which realised £8,300. Examples of labelled 19th century Tasmanian furniture are surprisingly rare; auction records show a handful of examples by W. J. Lloyd and T. Whiteside & Son of Hobart Town but none by this particular maker. The Sydney Gazette, Saturday 16 November 1833, records that a steerage passenger "John Pearson", a cabinetmaker from Liverpool arrived in Hobart Town on the ship "Lady East".  It is possible that this table was made by a relative. A petition to Queen Victoria from Hobart Town inhabitants in 1854 also records a signatory "T Pearson, Elizabeth Street, cabinet-maker" – the rarity of such examples meant that an unprecedented amount of Australasian buyers registered their interest in the sale, and the table will now continue its journey closer to home.

The bi-monthly European Ceramics department also enjoyed phenomenal results, with a single-owner collection of Staffordshire pottery selling collectively for £30,000; the collection’s stand-out piece, a 19th century portrait figure of Louis Napoleon, realised £2,600.

John Napier’s text was especially notable for having been recognised and consigned on an open valuation day at our Winchester Saleroom, which are held weekly. Specialist valuers are on hand to provide guidance about any items you are considering selling at auction, even if you are unsure about its suitability - Bellmans can help you check. Bringing items along to our valuation days is a great way to get friendly and honest advice on any items you are considering selling at auction – give it a go, otherwise you’ll never know!

Bellmans next Fine Art, Antiques and Interiors auction runs from 10th – 12th October, and will include the popular bi-monthly wines and spirits collection.  The auction is on view from Friday 6th October; all lots will be fully illustrated online from Tuesday 3rd October, and live online bidding is available via For more information and to register your interest, please contact Bellmans Auctioneers directly on 01403 700858, or email 


Napier        Tasmanian table label      Staffordshire