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In Pictures

Banned 'Aristotle' sex manual to sell for up to £400

The 1766 book contained more wives tales than actual Aristotle.

A 1766 COPY of a book banned in Britain until the 1960s is to go under the hammer later this month.

Although it is entitled ‘Aristotle’s compleat master-piece’, the manual contains little of the philosopher’s work. In fact, it draws on the writings of various authors, as well as its share of wives tales.

“It is pretty much all about sex, pregnancy and childbirth,” Cathy Marsden, a rare book specialist at Scottish auction house Lyon & Turnbull, told

“We’re not sure why it was attributed to Aristotle – maybe to lend more weight to it, give it more credibility, make it sound better.”

The experts are also not certain on the reasons for its banned status in the mid-18th century. “But it probably has something to do with the images,” said Marsden. “We wouldn’t find any of them particularly offensive or shocking. There are some drawings of babies in the womb or deformed children. As it was a ‘vernacular book’, it may have been considered lewd.”

The book is expected to fetch up to £400 at the 16 January auction.

Banned 'Aristotle' sex manual to sell for up to £400
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  • Inside Pages

  • Sex and Pregnancy Manual

  • Sex and Pregnancy Manual

  • Sex and Pregnancy Manual

  • Sex and Pregnancy Manual

  • Front Cover

However, there are far more valuable lots available during the sale. A hand-coloured history of Europe’s birds by Henry Dresser is expected to bring in up to £5,000.

There also a number of maps, manuscripts and photographs being auctioned.

Photos: Versace mansion put up for sale for €49 million

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