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A rare presentation album containing 42 sepia toned salt and albumen prints of Persia in 1860 by pioneering photographer Luigi Pesce fetched an impressive £39,000 (or £44,850 including premium) - more than double the estimate - at a Norfolk auction house last week. It drew bidders from afar, including France and the United States, before the hammer came down to a London dealer.

The images showed buildings such as mosques and palaces along with desert scenes, in a book inscribed to Sir Henry Rawlinson who was in Persia training the Shah’s troops. According to the Keys Aylsham sale room, only two similar books have ever come up for sale in the past - one given to William I of Prussia and the other to an Italian Count. Hence it was easy to see why bidding was tense with seven phone bidders and two in the room for this rare Middle Eastern album.

The Lot details can be found here.




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