Online Catalogue #35

Just in time for the Christmas season, we are pleased to announce our latest online catalogue.

Highlights include a superb Japanese plant nursery catalogue containing 143 hand-coloured plates (1892), and a rare 1543 edition of the Luther Bible, with over 100 woodcut illustrations.

Strong sections include militaria, cartography, Australian exploration, photographically-illustrated books, trade catalogues, South Australiana, and more!

Happy browsing!

Online Auction #3

Welcome to the first sale on our new auction site. We envisage it will be the first of many. Indeed, work is well under way on three separate specialist auctions Military History, Gastronomy, and History of Medicine scheduled for the first few months of the new year. All three are based around single-vendor collections.

The present auction is a mixed-vendor sale, and with many of the 455 lots we have instructions to put very few impediments between you and temptation!

These few highlights should aid the process ...

  • A small archive of seventeen vintage photographs and accompanying correspondence by the contemporary Austrian photographer Renate Graf.
  • Dr Saleh Soubhy’s Pèlerinage à la Mecque et à Médine (Cairo, 1894) is an excellent copy in the original wrappers. This is a very rare account of pilgrimages to Mecca and Medina in 1888 and 1891.
  • Fred Lynde’s Descriptive Illustrated Catalogue of the Sixty-Eight Competitive Designs for the Great Tower for London (London, 1890). All that remains of these competitors to the Eiffel Tower is this rare and delightful picture book.
  • Interesting antiquarian items include Cavendish's New Method to dress Horses (1667), and Charts and Plates to La Pérouse's Voyage (London, 1798).
  • P.G. Wodehouse's Mike. A Public School Story; although the fourth impression of 1919, is complete with the utterly rare dustwrapper.
  • Aleister Crowley’s The Diary of a Drug Fiend (1922) is the first edition of his first published novel.
  • Lynd Ward’s early graphic novel Vertigo. A Novel in Woodcuts (New York, 1937).
  • A Japanese shunga handscroll with 16 hand-painted erotic scenes.

Broad subjects include Australiana, exploration and travel, literature, antiquarian books, natural history, and erotica.

Bidding now open!


The online auction commences at 1pm (ACDT) 4 November 2018

On view at our premises
196 North Terrace, Adelaide
Monday 29 October to Saturday 3 November
 10 am to 5:30 pm daily

Bidding options:

If you need any assistance, please contact us at or on +61 8 8223 1111

Online Catalogue #34

Welcome to our latest catalogue and our revamped website. The ease with which you will be able to navigate your way around it belies (but more than justifies) the time and effort spent on the project.

However, if you remain cartographically challenged, read on. We can offer you a copy of the very rare atlas, Goyder’s Plan of the Southern Portion of the Province of South Australia (1877), and a presumably much rarer linen handkerchief map highlighting the Dardanelles in 1914. We have J.M. Black’s complete set of Brown’s Forest Flora of South Australia (1882-90), with 45 superb chromolithographs. There are eight photobooks by Bird, Everard, Green and Haskins; a vintage photograph of three-times Australian prime minister, Alfred Deakin and his wife; and a very large-format photograph taken at the farewell banquet in London in October 1900 to The Earl of Hopetoun, the first Governor-General of the Commonwealth of Australia.

There are rare and desirable cricket cartoon books by Branson, Glover and Mailey; fine first editions of Idriess’s The Desert Column (1932, with the dustwrapper) and Gold-Dust and Ashes (1933, one of only 200 of the signed deluxe version); Kaleski’s Australian Barkers and Biters (1914, in the original pictorial wrappers) … in short, the tempting eclectic mixture as before!

Online Catalogue #33

Our current catalogue features a collection of approximately 200 books on campanology, offered as one lot. If that doesn’t ring your bell, move on to the literature and illustrated works. We have half a dozen titles from the Cuala Press by W.B. Yeats; a large-paper copy of T.S. Eliot’s Marina (1930), one of 400 signed copies; Ngaio Marsh’s Death and the Dancing Footman (1942), a fine copy with the dustwrapper; and Verve, Numbers 27 and 28 (1952), a double issue containing 29 original lithographs.

Singular or unique items include a photograph of ‘Breaker’ Morant, in a small group of troopers in Adelaide in January 1900; a copy of The Native Tribes of Central Australia (1899), the seminal work on anthropology, signed by both Spencer and Gillen; and a husband-and-wife pair of 1850s South Australian daguerreotypes.

Happy browsing!

Picture Book 8

To coincide with the Melbourne Rare Book Fair we are pleased to announce the latest in our series of Picture Book catalogues. It contains a fine miscellany, from Antarctic photography to scarce modern literature, classic texts of voyages and exploration to unique manuscript material.

Since the catalogue went to the printers we have been busy! New in stock are:

A singular copy of A Child's Garden of Verses, signed and inscribed by Robert Louis Stevenson, together with a signed letter; The Native Tribes of Central Australia signed by both Spencer and Gillen; private press material, including titles from the Cuala Press of W.B. Yeats and his sister Elizabeth; delightful publications from Lucien Pisarro's Eragny Press; D.H. Lawrence's privately printed Pansies (signed); and T.S. Eliot's Marina (also signed); superb examples of Indigenous portraiture.

To view these items (and much besides) visit us at Stand 31 at the Melbourne Rare Book Fair this coming weekend, 6–8 July 2018.

John Kauffmann, Art Photographer — A Retrospective

John Kauffmann (1864-1942) was born in the small village of Truro in country South Australia; he became an internationally recognized pioneering photo-impressionist by the first decade of the twentieth century. His images were awarded medals at major competitions, but, perhaps more significantly, they were sold for high prices at a series of one-man exhibitions in Melbourne and Sydney. His trademark was soft focus — think sombre moods and misty aspects. His work fell out of favour in the last two decades of his life, but his creativity continued to evolve. In the early 1930s, he produced a series of 'portraits of living flowers', some of which must be numbered among his best work.

This retrospective, containing 40 images and other material from the artist's estate, includes vintage prints from all periods of his long working life. All items are for sale, and this exhibition represents a unique opportunity to purchase important artworks with impeccable provenance.

Exhibition 16–28 February 2018
10am–5pm, Monday to Saturday
196 North Terrace, Adelaide, South Australia

Online Catalogue #32

Our latest catalogue commences with about a dozen rare Australian WW1 battalion histories, including a signed copy, in the original wrappers, of Longmore’s Eggs-A-Cook! The Story of the Forty-Fourth. These are followed in quick succession by small sections on a variety of subjects, invariably containing a treasure or three.

There’s aviation (with a copy of the first edition of Flying the Arctic signed by Hubert Wilkins, and a large signed certificate from the Byrd Antarctic Expedition, 1928-30); the Boer War (letters from Lord Baden-Powell to an Australian comrade-in-arms, and an impressive portrait photograph of three South Australian officers in London for Queen Victoria’s Diamond Jubilee); books on bookplates (not least, Gartner’s The Bookplates of William Hunter, one of only 50 copies); Burke and Wills (Foster, Kirby, Norman – even a book from Robert O’Hara Burke’s own shelves); big game hunting (20 items, all pertaining to India) … and we’re still only up to the letter B. We’ll leave the rest of the alphabet to you!

Online Catalogue #31

Our current catalogue contains a number of rarities from a collection we helped build some forty years ago – ouch! That small yelp is for a couple of reasons – where did all those years go? – and another fine collection is being dismantled. But there is more than a degree of satisfaction to be had from what we have coined the ‘pre-deceased estate sale’. Admittedly, it is a different form of satisfaction to that of acquisition and custody, but there is a lot to be said for overseeing the orderly dispersal of a significant aspect of one’s personal life in a considered and professional manner (to say nothing of the capital gains!).

Accordingly, for your delectation, we have eight rare works on Australian cycling and motoring, by the likes of Birtles, Dutton, Murif and Pearson. This does not include five titles by Michael Terry, which we mention in the company of other inland explorers and expeditions: Cadell, the Calvert Expedition, the Horn Expedition, Lindsay, and Winnecke (including a signed book).

Literature is well-represented, with sixteen Brindabella Press-related publications, half a dozen Angry Penguin items, a signed Arthur Rackham (Undine), and the very rare Edwardian illustrated Australian children’s book, Some Childrens' [sic] Songs by Marion Alsop & Dorothy McCrae.

There are rare and important vintage photographs by Frank Hurley, John Kauffmann, and May Moore, to go with, as usual, our unusual miscellany of items that are either unique, quirky, ephemeral or merely worth reading. We wish you profitable browsing!