A little spotted and browned internally, the residue of a pressed flower present on one spread, and with some fraying at the jacket edges, the dedication copy of Sylvia Plath’s The Colossus… was bid to £75,000 at Sotheby’s.

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The inscription, in which she describes Hughes as the “source of my birthdays”, evidently had a meaning that was deeply personal.

Hughes was a student of astrology and the couple took seriously the meaning of dates and signs, so will undoubtedly have found significance in the appearance of Plath’s first volume so close to her birthday, said Sotheby’s.

As many as 18 copies of the first edition of 500 copies, issued by Heinemann in October 1960, were given by Plath to family members and friends, but none compare in significance or resonance with this, the dedication copy.

The Sotheby's sale took place on July 12-19.