A rare presentation album containing 42 sepia toned salt and albumen prints of Persia in 1860 by pioneering photographer Luigi Pesce fetched an impressive £44,850 including premium, or over $70,000, more than double the estimate, at a Norfolk auction house. It drew international interest, including bidders from 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. Bidding was intense with seven phone bidders and two in the room for this rare early Middle Eastern album.