The first edition of George Orwell's Down and Out in Paris and London that sold for £86,000 at Gorringes.

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And among the Graham Greenes, Evelyn Waughs and William Goldings for the March 24 sale was a selection of George Orwell firsts, the highlight of which was this signed and inscribed (to his agent) first edition of Down and Out in Paris and London, which he duly estimated at £2500-3500.

The inscription reads: "With the author's kindest regards to Mr L. P. Moore, without whose kind assistance this book would never have been published." The copy is signed in the author's real name, Eric A. Blair, and dated 24.12.32.

"There was a lot of interest before the sale," Mr Dean told ATG, "but it was only on the day itself that I discovered that this was the first signed copy in a dust jacket to come onto the market for 27 years."

In the event, ten phone lines were booked and there were bidders in the room. With £5000 on the book to start, a single bid took the competition to £15,000, before competition between the phones saw the price rise to £50,000. From thereon it was a two-way battle between a phone and UK dealer Christiaan Jonkers in the room. The hammer finally fell at a 25-times-estimate £86,000 (17.5% buyer's premium) to the latter.

"The closest price I could find for another copy was the £13,200 taken at Bonhams last year, but that was without a jacket and there was bubbling to the cover," said a delighted Mr Dean.