Peter Harrington Rare Books (@PHRareBooks) launches new Economics, Politics and Philosophy catalogue


Peter Harrington, the UK’s largest rare book seller has recently published a catalogue featuring 248 fascinating books and manuscripts on Economics, Politics and Philosophy including Mathematics, Logic and Computing. It  offers a wide range of items from the seventeenth to the twentieth centuries. Prices range from £200 to £150,000.

Highlights of this catalogue include:


In the field of economics, there are works from the age of mercantilism by authors such as Josiah Child, William Petty and Andrew Yarranton. Early 18th century texts preceding Adam Smith’s classical text, are represented by such rare works as David Hume‘s Political Discourses, in which can be found the foundation of classical monetary economics, and Jacob Vanderlint‘s Money Answers All Things, the first scientific study of the question of distribution. Daniel Defoe offers advice on how to trade, warning about the dangers of borrowing – he himself had been a bankrupt – and recommending the involvement of a spouse in business.

Classical works are presented with those of Adam Smith, David Ricardo, Thomas Robert Malthus and John Stuart Mill to mention but a few, including an unpublished autograph letter by Adam Smith in which he amusingly remarks “I once had the vanity to flatter myself that I was the only Adam Smith in the world; but to my unspeakable mortification, there are two or three others of the same name in this town.

Adam Smith, An Inquiry into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations (1776). First edition of “the first and greatest classic of modern economic thought” in two volumes. £150,000. Plus a newly discovered unpublished two and a half page autograph letter by Adam Smith (1783) discussing customs, smuggling and “our future commercial connexions with our thirteen revolted colonies.” £75,000

Continental authors include Turgot, Isnard, whose Traite des richesses offers one of the most important contributions in the history of the development of mathematical economics, and Karl Marx.


Karl Marx, A Critical Analysis of Capitalist Production (1877) – first edition in English, two volumes, very scarce and important printing. £5,250

Modern authors include Hayek, Keynes, Henry Hazlitt, and Ludwig von Mises, whose libertarian views have influenced many of today’s leading figures. There are additionally works on finance and speculation, by such noted authors as Charles Mackay, Edwin Lefevre, John Law and R.N. Elliott, the father of the wave principle.


In Politics, there are works by early authors such as John of Salisbury, whose Policraticus has been described as “the first medieval treatise on political thought.” Thomas Hobbes‘s Leviathan and James Harrington‘s Oceana examine political theory and the foundations of government. Algernon Sidney and James Burgh consider political freedoms, and in the nineteenth century, there are major American works by John Adams, William Harrison and Abraham Lincoln, all signed or inscribed.

Modern politicians and statesmen include Churchill, Gandhi, Martin Luther King, Lloyd George, Enoch Powell and Harry S. Truman.

Mahatma Gandhi, Non-Violence in Peace and War (1942) – a very good copy, first edition owned and inscribed by Martin J Hillenbrand an American diplomat who served as vice consul to India. £2,250

David Lloyd George, The Truth about the Peace Treaties (1938) – first edition of the publisher’s archive two volumes copy which is decidedly uncommon in the dust jackets. £325


The highlight of the philosophy selection comprises a presentation copy of Ludwig Wittgenstein‘s Tractatus Logicus Philosophicus, inscribed by him to Ludwig Hänsel, one of his closest friends. The catalogue includes works by Montaigne, Hobbes, Bentham, Hume, and several other authors of the Scottish Enlightenment. Rousseau, Condorcet and Voltaire are representative of French Enlightenment authors.

Thomas Hobbes, Leviathan (probably c.1695-1702) – definitive edition of one of the most famous books of the 17th century. £6,500

Modern philosophers include Austin, Derrida, Jaspers and Bertrand Russell, with works on mathematics and logic by Jevons, Ramsey and Marquand, early pioneers of computing.

The catalogue is available to download at

Bronze statue worth £40,000 stolen in brazen daytime raid in Mayfair – Crime – UK – The Independent


A bronze statue worth £40,000 has been stolen in a brazen daytime raid on an art gallery in London’s exclusive Mayfair district.

Detectives in Westminster have appealed for information and released a CCTV image of a man they want to trace in connection with the incident.

via Bronze statue worth £40,000 stolen in brazen daytime raid in Mayfair – Crime – UK – The Independent.

PETER HARRINGTON: New Rare Books & Manuscripts Catalogue


Peter Harrington, the UK’s largest rare book seller and one of the leading rare book sellers in the world, are well known for the range and quality of the first edition and rare books they sell. This new catalogue illustrates that range and as Pom Harrington says “This is a selection of our absolute finest books and manuscripts which will interest institutions, serious book collectors as well as those who enjoy collecting for their own enjoyment.”


Highlights of this catalogue include:

  • An album of 29 original pre-publication drawings and a first edition copy of Bleak House by Charles Dickens (£95,000);
  • A presentation copy of The Posthumous Paper of the Pickwick Club by Charles Dickens which is inscribed by Dickens to the editor of the New York Evening Post and was given to him on Dickens’ arrival in America in 1842 (£75,000);​
  • Jane Austen’s signature which was originally attached to a fragment of a letter about dining at Chawton Great House along with a steel engraved portrait of her (£32,500);
  • A first edition, presentation copy of Tales of Space and Time which is inscribed “Henry James from HG. Wells” with another comic drawing this time of a club-wielding cave man (£27,500).
  • A first edition of Rumour at Nightfall by Graham Greene which is in its original dust jacket and as Pom Harrington says is “ one of the great rarities in the Greene canon” (£45,000);
  • An attractive, first edition copy of Robert Burns Poems inscribed “To William Wordsworth Esqre. With the sincere respect & affection of Elizabeth Hume” who was an admirer (£45,000).
    • A copy of the rare Third Folio of Comedies, Histories & Tragedies by William Shakespeare which is regarded as the rarest of the 17th century folio editions (£325,000);
    • A signed, limited edition copy of An Ideal Husband by Oscar Wilde printed on Dutch handmade paper (£15,000).

A Fine Art Perambulation through Mayfair

To Mayfair for an Art Perambulation. Darkest February but not so cold that just going outside is an achievement – although we were wearing hats and gloves as we set off from Oxford Circus with the New Exhibitions brochure in hand. This is mostly very informative, but uses such big dots to mark the galleries that it is sometimes hard to tell which streets they are on. However they are nothing compared to the whoppers we’ve used on the map below.

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Being an indication of the route taken during the Art Perambulation

These refer – going north to south – to the following galleries – Whitfield, Ronchini, Vigo, New Criteria, Halcyon, Alan Cristea, Waddington Custot and Flowers. Although, just to confuse matters, that’s not the order in which we visited them.

Arriving at the south end of Dering Street we first entered Vigo Gallery where Biggs and Collings were showing Living Creature. These two collaborative artists are grounded in art history – the Collings side of things being Matthew Collings, art critic and TV presenter. Their images are large-scale, juxtapositions of small triangles of colour and texture and it is no surprise that Biggs is a mosaic artist. They have a formula and stick to it, their interest in colour, pattern and repetition filling the gallery with expressively rendered opArt. Within each image there is a symmetry but the hang deliberately works against this. One wall was big enough for two images, but only had one, lopsidedly towards one side of the wall. If Biggs and Collings’ reputation continues to grow I recommend investing in masking tape companies – it looks as though their technique uses a lot of it.

Onward to the Ronchini Gallery, just one shop further up Dering Street. Here the walls are heavy with the object-paintings of Italian artist Paolo Scheggi. Influenced by Fontana, Scheggi’s work have a monumentality and solidity, usually featuring several layers of canvas, each cut with geometric shapes to reveal those below. Monochromatic, one small piece is unusually displayed in the centre of the wall text about the artist and his short life.

Almost next door again are the first floor galleries of Whitfield Fine Art, specialists in Old Master paintings. Their current show was Italian Landscapes from Barocci to Poussin and was a small museum of works from – you may have guessed from the name – Barocci to Poussin. Barocci’s Christ expiring on the Cross was a highlight with its detailed recreation of the Urbino Palazzo Ducale in the background. Historically and geographically inaccurate of course, for even on the clearest of days you’d need very good eyesight to see from Golgotha to even Southern Italy, but Barocci has made it clear to the locals that Christ died for them, even if they were Ghibellines.

New Bond Street beckoned. I wanted to see the Sotheby’s Impressionist and Modern Art exhibition, but on the way we stopped at Other Criteria, Damien Hirst’s boutique art shop. Amongst the butterfly paintings named after world cathedrals a Harland Miller silkscreen jumped out – a Penguin Plays edition claiming the title I am the one I’ve been waiting for. Are you really, Harland? Other Criteria gets full marks for having helpful assistants, but we spent too long looking at the work and were too late for the Sotheby’s show just down the road. Instead we visited the Halcyon gallery at No.29 where Andy Warhol’s print of shoes sparkling with diamond dust compared with Hirst’s diamond encrusted skull we’d seen images of earlier. There’s little new – it’s just laid on thicker. With Bob Dylan images and Warhol-and-lover illustrated doggerel it was a popular show with more people in the gallery than any of those we’d previously visited.

Alan Cristea on the corner of Cork Street was showing a selection of works from big names, including Sol Le Witts with strong diagonals that complemented the Biggs and Collings works at the Vigo. Julian Opie horses and Martin Craig-Martin light boxes demonstrated the fashion for harsh, linear images but it was the soft photogravures of Christine Baumgarten that stood out.

Photographer Michael Wolf’s show at Flowers was the highlight of the whole art perambulation. From his series Architecture of Density the large-scale images again reveal patterns and repetition – here in the horrendously high-rise, high-density buildings of Hong Kong. Patterns and repetition aren’t all that artists are interested in though, as was proved at the final stop of the day, Waddington Custot. Here was the familiar Robert Indiana LOVE sculpture, as seen in JFK Plaza, Philadelphia. It might be much parodied but the original is still worth seeing to experience its youthful enthusiasm.

And so to bed. Or rather, to Oxford Circus.