Inherited by the current owners, several first and numerous early editions helped achieve a hammer total of £15,825 at West Midlands auctioneers Cuttlestones' sale on May 6. The lots attracted bids from the room, on commission and the internet, although the majority sold via the phone lines.
The three-volume edition of Great Expectations, published by Chapman & Hall in 1861, was the top seller, achieving a very respectable £5000.
A rare first edition copy entitled A Christmas Carol in Prose being A Ghost Story of Christmas, featuring illustrations by John Leech and published by Chapman & Hall in 1843, fetched £3000. Carrying four hand-coloured plates, it was bound in its original brown cloth and bore the classic first edition hallmarks of blue & red printing to the title page.
A first edition in book form of The Personal History of David Copperfield, with illustrations by HK Browne, Bradbury & Evans, 1850, sold for £1400.
A three-volume first edition copy of Oliver Twist; Or, The Parish Boy’s Progress by ‘Boz’, published by Richard Bentley in 1838, fetched £1500 after an estimate of £800-1200. The copy included the infamous (later replaced) 'fireside plate' in Vol III (3) and was attributed to the author’s earlier moniker 'Boz' rather than Dickens.
Other non-Dickens highlights include a first edition (Rex Collings, 1972, ex-library book copy) of Richard Adam’s Watership Down that achieved £240, and a rare first edition copy of Elizabeth Anne Allom’s The Seaweed Collector, printed by TH Keble 1841, sold for £320.
A first edition, 10-volume copy of Victor Hugo’s Les Miserables in French and published in Brussels by A Lacroix, Verboeckhoven & Co Editeurs in 1862, sold for £550.
Cuttlestones' managing director and auctioneer Ben Gamble says: “There was major pre-sale interest due to the quality and the fact that the rarer books were sourced privately on one of our specialist valuation days. They were consigned by a local resident who was present in the room and, not surprisingly, were absolutely over the moon with the results.”