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One of the contributors, with three poems, was JRR Tolkien, who was Reader in English Language at Leeds at the time, and at Tennants (18.5% buyer’s premium) on August 2 the copy shown above right was bid to £3000.

Ex-Hull Public Library, it bore blind stamps to the green card wrappers, title and several other pages and a label tipped onto the inside front cover bore a ‘withdrawal’ stamp. These were unwelcome, but only one other copy is recorded at auction, and that was 15 years ago.

First edition shows auction power

Graham Greene’s The Power and the Glory is thought by many to be his finest novel, and a 1940 first was sold at £8600 by Dominic Winter (19.5% buyer’s premium) in a June 19-20 sale.

Printed at a time when wartime restrictions enforced the use of poor quality paper, this was an especially fine example and only a copy inscribed to Anthony Hobson has made more. That one reached $18,000 (then £12,240) as part of the consistently high priced Falktoft Library sale at Christie’s East in 2001.

Last December, Sotheby’s sold a copy of John Le Carré‘s second book, A Murder of Quality of 1962, for a record £7000, but a copy offered in this June South Cerney sale was not far behind at £6600.

Bid to £27,000 in the Dominic Winter sale was a set of all 14 of the original James Bond novels from the years 1953-66 – all first editions in dust jackets – while in a July 27 sale held by Bloomsbury Auctions (22% buyer’s premium), a first issue copy of You Only Live Twice of 1964 reached £6500. The latter was inscribed “To Jonathan Chase, herewith appointed Fixer to Ian Fleming”.

As previously reported on antiquestradegazette.com, a 1997 first of Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone made £38,000 in that same Bloomsbury auction, but the record claimed has to be slightly qualified.

For a straightforward first, it did indeed improve on the previous best of £35,000, set at Bonhams in November of last year. However, at Sotheby’s on December 13 last year another reached £46,000.

Described as near mint, that copy did however have the added attraction of being boldly inscribed by JK Rowling: “To Ella, one of my favourite names. With best wishes…”