This HG Wells novel 'Ann Veronica' was the top lot in the April 20-21 Charterhouse sale.

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It was not one of his well-known works, but a copy of Ann Veronica, a ‘modern love story’ in which his heroine defies social conventions and proposes to her college teacher that she should become his mistress.

Wells’ publisher, Frederick Macmillan, was so worried about the scandal that the book might cause that he declined to publish it, so Wells offered it instead to T Fisher Unwin, for “a firm offer of £1500”.

The record bid of £5000 that this 1909 first attracted was thanks to its presentation inscription to his friend and fellow writer Henry James, “… with Salutations from HG Wells, 17 Church Road Hampstead”, and the presence of of the recipient’s signature.

A copy that Wells inscribed for Arnold Bennett was sold for £1100 at Bonhams in 2009 and in 2015 it resurfaced at Sotheby’s to fetch exactly the same sum.