First World War Centenary. German aerial reconnaissance photographs sold at Dreweatts & Bloomsbury

First World War Centenary. German aerial reconnaissance photographs sold at Dreweatts & Bloomsbury
Yareah Magazine

First World War Centenary. German aerial reconnaissance photographs sold at Dreweatts & Bloomsbury

In the year that marks the First World War Centenary, over 100 sheets of German WWI aerial reconnaissance photographs sold for £1,220 at Dreweatts & Bloomsbury Auctions Bibliophile sale in Surrey.

Aerial photography was first developed by famous French Photographer and balloonist Nadar in the mid-19thcentury and made dramatic advances during the First World War. It was the German Forces, however, not the French, who recognised the capabilities of aerial photography by developing the first aerial camera in 1913.

Aerial reconnaissance was considered the only useful role for the aeroplane during WWI and a pivotal role it was. Aerial photography such as this creates a birds-eye mosaic of a country and its changing landscape during war time.

The photobook titled “Fliegerbilder” of German WWI aerial photography sold to a telephone bidder for £1,220. Interestingly each of the pages in this photobook was annotated in manuscript with details of the pilot, observer & altitude of the flight. [Lot 23]

Elsewhere in the sale, a topographical map of the Isle of Wight in Hampshire dwarfed its pre-sale estimate of £800-1,200, selling for £4,636. The map by John Andrews was hand-coloured and with an inset of the subscribers’ list and a plan of Newport. [Lot 92]

The Library of BAFTA and Emmy nominated Patrick Garland attracted much attention; all the lots were sold with a number selling well over estimate. Of particular interest from his collection was a ‘Bombay Edition’ of The Works of Rudyard Kipling that achieved £2,196. Printed by R & R Clark from the Florence Press Type this was a limited edition printed on hand-made paper with volume 1 signed by the author. [Lot 516]

Another highlight was The Gentleman and Gardeners Kalendar by Richard Bradley that achieved £2,318 against an estimate of £350-450. This first edition led a quantity of others including Philosophical letters between the late Mr. Ray and several…Correspondents…, James Lee’s An Introduction to Botany and other Botanical and Agricultural works. [Lot 135]

All the sale results are available to view at The next sale of Printed Books & Manuscripts sale will be held at Dreweatts & Bloomsbury Auctions’ Maddox Street saleroom in London, the catalogue is available to view online at


Dreweatts & Bloomsbury Auctions are a UK ‘top 5’ auctioneer of fine art and collectibles. As part of The Stanley Gibbons Group plc we are the only UK stock-exchange listed firm of auctioneers and occupy the same stable as coin specialists Baldwin’s, and Apex Philatelics. Established in 1759, we have the broadest and most regular calendar of specialist catalogued sales in the industry, numbering over 150 per annum, and provide vendors and buyers alike access to market-leading specialist advice in any number of collecting fields. We operate from salerooms in Donnington Priory (near Newbury), London’s Mayfair, Bristol and Godalming.

Established in 1856, The Stanley Gibbons Group plc is the world’s leading rare stamp and prestige collectibles merchant with offices in the UK, Hong Kong, Singapore and the Channel Islands.

Holders of the Royal Warrant as philatelists since 1914 and AIM-listed in London, the Group is debt-free and has shown consistent double-digit EBIT growth through the recent economic downturn in the UK and Europe.

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