Auction in action for rare books

While the Internet is a treasure trove of information, nothing captures India’s history of art and culture as well as the magazines and books of the time.

Published: 19th August 2021 06:47 AM  |   Last Updated: 19th August 2021 06:47 AM   |  A+A-

Express News Service

CHENNAI:  While the Internet is a treasure trove of information, nothing captures India’s history of art and culture as well as the magazines and books of the time. These literary instruments now hold significance of their own, making them coveted possessions. Those who are looking to collect the original editions of old books and magazines are in luck as Ashvita’s, a fine arts collectables store, is hosting an online auction of rare books on Indian art and culture. 

The auction will feature 32 lots of books of artistic and historic significance to India. “It’s a very diverse auction. We have books about topics ranging from Bharatanatyam to jewellery. There are really nice books on the history and archaeology of Gujarat, a 1920s account of India during the British Raj, literary volumes of the Cambridge History of India and more,” elaborates Ashvin E Rajagopalan, the co-founder of the site. The selection is representative of various genres, including politics, environment, archaeology, fine arts, and history. 

Of these 32 lots, there are three standouts on showcase. First is a set of 72 issues of the Modern Review magazine founded by Ramananda Chaterjee in 1907, bound in volumes of 12. The magazine emerged as an important instrument for the nationalists of the nation, publishing poems, stories, and art, along with essays about politics, economics and societies. It featured several leaders of change such as Radhakamal Mukerjee, Verrier Elwin and Jawaharlal Nehru (under a pseudonym). The second is a set of five magazines of the Times of India Annuals, including a rare edition from 1926, and one edition of The Times of Ceylon Annual from 1953. Lastly is the set of three volumes of The Cambridge History of India. Published between 1922 and 1937, this was a major work of historical scholarship.

Apart from these three lots are several other rare editions, including a 1948 book War in Ancient India by VR Ramachandran Dikshitar, a first-edition of The Provincial Government of Mughals 1526- 1658 by Dr P Saran, The Excavation at Maheshwar and Navdatoli 1952-53, a 1954 edition of Parry’s of Madras: A Story of British Enterprise in India by Hilton Brown, and Indian Sculpture and Painting by EB Havell. All the items up for auction are estimated between `1,000 to `90,000. Ashvita’s was founded in 2002 by Ashvin and Sruti Harihara Subramanian and has conducted over 30 auctions, striving to create an accessible platform for arts and collectables.

The auction will be held from today (10 am) till tomorrow (7 pm)

To bid on the books, visit:


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