Important auction of rare books


A LANDMARK AUCTION of rare books in Dublin next weekend is attracting interest from collectors in Ireland, Britain and beyond. Whyte’s has announced the sale of the stock – over 1,300 lots – of antiquarian bookseller James Fenning of Dún Laoghaire who died in August. He was the third and last of a generation of Dublin booksellers – a business established by his grandfather at Wood Quay in the 1890s in premises sadly demolished by Dublin City Council to make way for new offices in the 1970s. Fenning had recently received his “50 Years Membership Badge” from the Antiquarian Booksellers Association.

Even the catalogue for the auction (which he helped to prepare before he died) is a triumph of research and a great read. Over 3,500 volumes will be sold and the range of authors and subjects is astoundingly rich and diverse, including a rare copy of Jonathan Swift’s 1737 pamphlet A proposal for giving badges to the beggars in all the parishes of Dublin (€6,000-€7,000) and Oliver Goldsmith’s 1767 edited collection, Poems for Young Ladies (€80-€100).

The first part of the auction starts at 6pm on Friday next (October 19th) and is restricted to absentee and internet bidding, for the first 504 lots. The remaining lots go under the hammer on Saturday next from 11am at the nearby Freemasons Hall. This really is an unmissable event for book lovers and collectors. – MP

Viewing is at Whyte’s, Molesworth St, Dublin from Wednesday next (October 17th).