In doing so, it made one Yorkshire cricket lover a very happy man.
The vendor had thought it might add another £50 to the box of books he had sent to the Gloucestershire saleroom to help fund his Wisden purchases. It certainly did – and the rest of his books made around £600.
Just a few weeks ago our Books and Works on Paper section (ATG No 2320) featured Orwell books sold by Sotheby’s in the eighth of its ongoing Library of an English Bibliophile auction series, but the book that launched Orwell’s hugely successful literary career was not one of them.
When Faber declined the manuscript for Down and Out…, Orwell was so depressed that he told a good friend, Mabel Fierz, that she should throw it away (but keep the paper clips).
Fortunately, Mabel persuaded him against such drastic action and initiated the manuscript’s move, via literary agent Leonard Moore, to Victor Gollancz.
He published 1500 copies of Down and Out… and Orwell’s literary path took a different turn. In gratitude he thereafter presented Mabel with signed copies of all his published works.
In 2010 a copy that Orwell inscribed – using his real name, Eric Blair – for Leonard Moore sold for £86,000 at Gorringe’s.
The Dominic Winter sale took place on December 15 and the buyer’s premium was 19.5%.