Antiquarian Auctions

Auction #63 begins on
23 Nov 2017 16:30 GMT


[Fly Wallet] The Unique Fly Book [with:] The Angler's Complete Guide and Companion

a very rare fly wallet + over 300 early actual flies + book

Published: for the Author, London, [c.1881]

Edition: First editions

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Offered, possibly for the first time since publication, with: a copy of Little's The Angler's Complete Guide and Companion (see below).

G[iles] LITTLE (publisher / retailer).  [Fly Wallet, with text, illustrations and drophead title:] The Unique Fly Book (Registered).

[London: G. Little & Co., 15 Fetter Lane, no date but circa 1882], small 8vo (6 1/2 x 3 1/2 inches), on vellum throughout, 44 pages (including drophead title and introduction on the first page, letterpress printed descriptions on 20 pages of 76 flies, the description of each fly accompanied by a FINE HAND-COLOURED  ILLUSTRATION of the fly described, the text with 20 facing pages offering a total of 80 pockets in which there are approximately 190 ACTUAL FLIES loosely inserted, at the centre are 2 felt leaves for mounting in centre, displaying a total of approx. 112 ACTUAL FLIES, in addition there are two inserted felt leaves, one displaying 4 larger actual flies.

All within a folding original leather wallet binding, with a strap.

Condition: contents with some old surface soiling, flies with damage and rusting consistent with age; binding well used, with soiling, tears and repairs, some insect damage, neat repairs using old materials, the strap a replacement.

VERY RARE: just two copies are listed as having sold (one for for £1,062 and a second for £4,000); in addition one copy is recorded by OCLC at Harvard. This example was clearly appreciated, as the wear and unusually large number of flies attest. The presence of the actual flies can lead to the quality of the 76 hand-coloured images of flies being overlooked: they are exceptional. 

As the publisher notes "In introducing to your notice my Unique Fly Book, as notified (in 'The Angler's Complete Guide and Compendium'), I do so with confidence that it will be appreciated by both experience and inexperienced Fly Fishers; the advantage here is manifest ... It will be noticed that by having a coloured imitation immediately opposite the pocket containing the artificial flies it will be impossible to misplace a fly with ordinary care". OCLC 78023642 (1 copy, at Harvard); not in Westwood & Satchell, but see p.xx for entry re. Little's 'Angler's Complete Guide' [L: 1881]).

[sold with:]G. LITTLE.  The Angler's Complete Guide and Companion : being a Practical Treatise on Angling and its requirements.

London: published by the Author, [no date but press extracts dated 1881]. Small octavo. Pp. [1-]203[-4] + 2pp. advertisements. 12 hand-coloured lithographic plates picturing 76 different flies, numerous uncoloured illustrations, some full-page. Original green cloth, blocked in black, silver and gilt, green glazed endpapers.

Condition: the tenth plate with some marginal chipping and small tears, edges of five plates rubbed; some soiling and old dampstaining to binding, lower joint split, corners rubbed, stitching weak.

The author notes on p. 35: 'I am now making arrangements for the production of a fly-book of an entirely new and novel character. It consists of an interleaved book with pockets to contain flies of the months, names, etc. Printed on parchment [i.e. vellum], immediately near and on the opposite page, exactly corresponding to each kind are shown illustrations in colours of the artificial flies in the pockets'. Westwood & Satchell p.xx

  • Jacket Condition: Not applicable
  • Binding Condition: acceptable
  • Overall Condition: acceptable
  • Sold By: Shadowrock Rare Books
  • Contact Person: Adam Langlands
  • Country: United States
  • Email:
  • Telephone: 001-860-248-1547
  • Preferred Payment Methods: Paypal, US$ checks and wire transfers, major credit cards through paypal
  • Trade Associations: AA Approved

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