The Collectors Auctioneer  


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"Beatus homo qui invenit sapientiam”






Proverbs, Maxims, Aphorisms

The Stirling-Maxwell, De Guinzbourg, and Easton collection 




By far, the collection of proverbs, maxims, and aphorisms were the jewel of the Robert Easton collection. 


Many languages and cultures are represented in this extraordinary collection of proverbs.  Approximately 125 books dealing with proverbs and aphorisms will be offered which represent the best of the Easton library.   These are items of great scarcity.  Many of them have never appeared at auction until now, and many are not even to be found among institutional holdings.


A large portion of the proverbs books were owned by William Stirling-Maxwell (1818 - 1878), the Scottish writer, historian and politician.  Stirling-Maxwell’s collection of proverbs has been well-known.  Many books contain his engraved bookplates and many bindings are embossed with his coat of arms and/or monogram.


Stirling-Maxwell succeeded the Keir estate (Keir House, located in central Scotland), and many of the proverbs books originated there as “Keir, Proverbs” bookplates are affixed to the rear pastedowns. 


The books eventually found their way to Colonel Victor De Guinzbourg who assembled a large collection of proverbs and published books on the subject.  Victor de Guinzbourg worked in counterintelligence prior to WWII and, according to his family, was known by more than one name during the time.  Little is known about him until after the war when he began work for the UN. 


Upon de Guinzbourg’s death, Mr. Easton acquired a large portion of this collection of proverbs.  Now the time has come for the volumes to be dispersed once again, and we are glad that our bidders will have the opportunity to acquire these scarce works. 


While the Summer auction featured the bulk of the collection, the November 7th auction represents the choice material including works by Erasmus, Incunabula, and other gems.  The quality is high and the starting bids are low, so enjoy!