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Today's date: February 11, 2016

Rare Books Up For Auction at the Trinity Secondhand Booksale

News feed for Trinity College Dublin.

Mar 07, 2013

Over 30,000 novels, academic books, journals, pamphlets, guides and reference books will go on sale at the annual Trinity Secondhand Booksale which will take place from Thursday 7th – Saturday 9th March.  Now in its 24th year, the event is the largest charity booksale in Ireland with books generously donated throughout the year to the Booksale Office by staff, students, alumni and friends of Trinity College Dublin.

Each year the Booksale features an auction of rare items on the first evening. Among the 80 lots that are due to go under the hammer on Thursday are Dublin Civic Week 1927 Official Handbook with illustrations by Harry Kernoff, Flora Mitchell, etc. A rare copy of Devenish, Lough Erne: its History, Antiquities and Traditions (Dublin 1897) will excite the collectors. A more unusual item is TE IKA A MAUI or New Zealand and its Inhabitants, illustrating the Origin, Manners, Customs, Mythology, Religion, Rites, Songs, Proverbs, Fables and Language of the Maori and Polynesian Races in General, by Richard Taylor and William MacIntosh (London 1870).

Some books come from the library of the late Professor R.B. McDowell including Clarendon’s History of the Rebellion and Civil Wars in England (Oxford 1826), Gibbon’s History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire (London 1816), and A Philosophical Survey of the South of Ireland (Dublin 1778). No Trinity Booksale would be complete without a first edition of the classic Fishing and Thinking by A.A. Luce (London 1959). Dublin University Football Club 1866-1972 (Dublin 1973) may generate some keen bidding.

Literature in the auction includes Heaney’s translation of The Burial at Thebes: Sophocles’ Antigone (London 2004), fourteen volumes of The Works of Robert Louis Stevenson, Lothian edition (London nd), a beautiful prize-binding of The Stones of Venice by John Ruskin (London 1911), illustrated by the author, and a very rare The Collected (or Complete) Works of Pádraic H. Pearse in three volumes compiled by his pupil Desmond Ryan (Dublin 1917-22).

There are some beautifully illustrated books, including Gardening Illustrated, for town and country: a weekly journal for amateurs and gardeners, by William Robinson, (London 1879/80-1883/4); Pictures from Punch, edited by F.C. Burnand (London 1904); there are many hand-coloured fashion plates and portraits in La Belle Assemblée or Court and Fashionable Magazine (1830-1831); and there is remarkable coverage of the Franco-Prussian War in two volumes of Illustrated London News (1870-1871). An unusual item is the heavily illustrated Get it at Harrods! The Harrods General Catalogue, 1929. There are also a number of atlases in the auction including the first edition of The Times Atlas (London 1895), and The Harmsworth Atlas and Gazeteer (London c.1907). Kenny on Lunatic Asylums is not a modern political commentary on the state of Ireland, it is subtitled Short Hints and Observations on the Arrangement and Management of Lunatic Asylums by Eyre C. Kenny, Superintendent of the Lunatic Asylum, Island Bridge (Dublin 1848).

A full catalogue of all 80 auction items can be viewed or downloaded here.  

The Trinity Secondhand Booksale will take place in the Examination Hall, Front Square, TCD, and will commence at 5.30pm on Thursday March 7th.  An admission charge for this night only is €3. The auction of rare books will begin at 7pm and an illustrated catalogue is available here, viewing up to 7pm.

The sale continues on ‘Restocked Friday’ from 10am-6pm when even more books will be out on sale (admission free), and will conclude on ‘Half Price Saturday’ between 10am-2pm when all remaining books will be sold at half the marked price.  A clearance auction is scheduled for 2.15pm on Saturday 9th for any items that might be left.

Each year volunteers, students and staff assist in the organisation and running of the Booksale. Funds raised support the purchase of research material in the College Library and in specialist departmental libraries. Information on last year’s grants is available here. Contact the Booksale at and Tel. 896-2276.



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| | Last updated: March 7, 2013