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A Life in Books

23rd May 2019.

A private archive of signed first editions, limited edition publications and material relating to the publishing trade is coming up for sale in Tennants Auctioneers’ Book Sale on 7th June. The archive was collected by the late Marilyn Dugdale, née Edwards, who worked in the book trade for almost 40 years for some of the biggest names in the business.

Marilyn worked in copy editing, publicity and sales for the Publishers Association, the National Book League (administering the Booker Prize), Jonathan Cape, Allen and Unwin and Random House. During her time, she represented authors, politicians, historians and humourists with names such as Martin Amis, Tony Benn, and Sebastian Faulks amongst those indebted to her help. She finally put her own pen to paper after retiring to the North of England, publishing The Cats of Moon Cottage series and other novels for children.

The collection includes numerous letters from authors, uncorrected proofs by the likes of Gabriel Garcia Marquez and Salman Rushdie, as well as numerous signed first editions and limited-edition publications. Highlights from the collection include Ted Hughes ‘Birthday Letters’, a 1998 signed limited edition (number 177 of 300) estimated to sell at £200-300 plus buyer’s premium, and Kurt Vonnegut’s ‘Slapstick or Lonesome No More’, a 1976 First UK edition, glowingly inscribed ‘For Marilyn who is very good at her job’ (estimate: £60-80 plus buyer’s premium).

An unusual collection Avant-Garde material from the British Underground art scene of the 1960s to 1980s is also included in the sale. With letters, pamphlets and odd ephemera, the collection includes material from some of the leading names in the movement, such as Dom Sylvester Houédard, Karl Torok, Ian Gardner and Tom Mayer. The collection also includes issues of magazines such as Tarasque and ephemera from the Coracle Press.

Unusual lots of antiquarian interest include Miscellanea Japonica: being Occasional Contributions to Japanese Studies, a privately printed manuscript by Frank Hawley given to his mother. The two-volume manuscript includes an extract from the journal of John T. Comerford, an English surgeon in Japan, and an extract from a larger work on whaling (Estimate: £300-500 plus buyer’s premium). Also of note is an Edwardian album containing images of Shanghai, including photographs of executions, the police force, football teams and scenes of daily life (Estimate: £800-1,000 plus buyer’s premium). 

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