Records for some of the most seminal works in English literature tumbled today at Sothebys
in London . In the first of a series of sales from The Library of an English Bibliophile - one of the finest collections of first edition books assembled in recent times - competition was fierce for fine copies of the greats, many of them inscribed by the authors to people who played a major part in their lives and their oeuvre.
Emily Brontës Wuthering Heights, Jane Austens Price and Prejudice, Charles Darwins On the Origin of Species, Mary Shelleys Frankenstein
These and many others (Brighton Rock, Tess of the DUrbervilles and The Maltese Falcon among them) today realised the highest prices ever made by those works at auction.
The sale realised £3,160,257 (US$4,997,659) comfortably above the top estimate for the sale (£2,185,500-2,943,500), which was 90.4% sold by value and 83.1% sold by lot.
Peter Selley, Specialist in charge of the sale, said: This exceptional library is attracting exceptional interest. Many significant records* were set in Part I today - testimony to the great discrimination with which this extraordinary collection was put together. The quality of the works on offer drew bids today from collectors around the world, all of which bodes well for the forthcoming sales from this same source, to be held over the next few years at Sothebys.
In addition to those mentioned above, records were also set today for: Graham Greenes Brighton Rock, Robert Burns Poems, 1786, Thomas Hardys Tess of the DUrbervilles, Oscar Wildes Happy Prince and Dashiell Hammetts The Maltese Falcon.
**Estimates do not include buyer's premium**