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Records Tumble for Some of the Most Seminal Works in English Literature at Sotheby's Today
T. S. Eliot, Poems, 1920, inscribed to Virginia Woolf. Estimate: £65,000 - 85,000. Sold for: £91,250 ($144,303). Photo: Sotheby's.
LONDON.- Records for some of the most seminal works in English literature tumbled today at Sotheby’s 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 Brontë’s Wuthering Heights, Jane Austen’s Price and Prejudice, Charles Darwin’s On the Origin of Species, Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein… These and many others (Brighton Rock, Tess of the D’Urbervilles 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 Sotheby’s.”

In addition to those mentioned above, records were also set today for: Graham Greene’s Brighton Rock, Robert Burns’ Poems, 1786, Thomas Hardy’s Tess of the D’Urbervilles, Oscar Wilde’s Happy Prince and Dashiell Hammett’s The Maltese Falcon.

**Estimates do not include buyer's premium**

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