Thomson Roddick Callan

Books, Documents & Maps

For over four decades, Thomson Roddick have been one of the UK's leading auctioneers of antiquarian and collectable books, and related ephemera.

Selling, at their Carlisle Saleroom and to a worldwide audience with live internet bidding, some 12,000 books a year in single and multiple volume lots, the book department, headed by John Thomson, hold sales approximately every six weeks throughout the year, ranging from single volume consignments to entire collections and libraries.

The department record for a single lot is the £198,000 hammer price achieved, some years ago, for an incomplete set of Edward S. Curtis's The North American Indian. Whilst nothing else, as yet, has come close to knocking this off the top spot, there have been many notable results in recent years including: £42,000 for a book containing 39 cloth samples collected on one of Captain Cook's voyages to the South Seas islands; £42,000 for a first edition of Charles Darwin's On The Origin of Species; £23,500 for a group of 17th century tracts and pamphlets pertaining to the Civil War, Restoration & English Revolution Period and £22,500 for a first edition in dustwrapper of Ian Fleming's Casino Royale.

Thomson Roddick are happy to be consulted on the potential sale of books from throughout the UK and among most recent consignments from further afield was a library of books on agricultural and rural subjects which was consigned from Warwickshire and sold well. Collection of items from a distance can often be arranged. Inevitably however, the auctioneer's heartland is Scotland and Northern England with the many works on the topography, history and literature of the northern counties of England and all of Scotland and its islands being a mainstay of the business but with strong, across-the-board interest generated for all categories at all levels of value. One of the department's strengths is that interesting but more modest value books can be featured on their own rather than in the large multiple volume lots so beloved of many auctioneers.

If suitable, anything from a single volume through a good collection to a full private library can be professionally handled. As regards the latter, private libraries and collections from country houses have always been a speciality with, of particular note, the dispersal of the library from Invercauld Castle, Braemar which attracted great interest, as did a selection from a private library in Kintyre, an extensive academic and philosophical collection from an Edinburgh residence and the recently-sold antiquarian library of a Newcastle gentleman.

Insurance, probate or inheritance tax valuations of books and libraries in collections throughout Scotland and the north of England are undertaken.

You may have heard of Thomson Roddick from advertisements in publications including the Antiques Trade Gazette, The Scotsman, Scottish Field and various specialist and general publications. If you are social media inclined, and don’t follow us yet, then we are on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook: you can find our social media icons in the footer of the website to start following us. Perhaps you have seen a member of our team on tv recently? We feature regularly on Bargain Hunt, Antiques Road Trip, Dickinson’s Real Deal, Cash in the Attic and the much missed Flog It, or you may have met one of our valuers presenting a talk on antiques to your local group.  Tune in to our new television series, The Edinburgh Auction House, following the Scottish team as they travel around the country searching for exciting lots to sell.  Starting at 9pm on 10th January 2023 on the Really channel, it's sure to be a great watch!

We like jargon and the links it generates, here are some examples that you may find in one of our book auction catalogues:

Volume. Author. Title. Half Title. Imprint. Folio. Quarto. Octavo. Duodecimo. Vellum. Calf. Morocco. Boards. Binding. Map. Plate. Illustration. Engraving. Aquatint. Lithograph. Etching. First Edition. Limited Edition. Set. Frontispiece. Typography. Black Letter. Illumination. Manuscript. Document. Codex. Glossary. Index. Bookplate. Book Label. Annotation. Dedication. Inscribed. Signed. Editor. Publisher. Printer.

John D M Thomson FIA (Scot) is the Head of Department and is happy to advise on books which you are considering selling by auction. John can be contacted by telephone on 01228 535 288 (Carlisle) or by email If e.mailing, a telephone number for us to contact you on is appreciated.

John Thomson

John Thomson FIA (Scot)
Book Specialist & Auctioneer