The leaf from the original manuscript of The Hound of the Baskervilles that was sold for $415,000 (£307,410) by Heritage.

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A single leaf from Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s The Hound of the Baskervilles of 1902 which forms a rare and particularly appealing survivor from an unusual promotional exercise was very much the star turn in a US sale.

Part of Chapter XIII in which Holmes and Watson discuss recent events as they walk together across the moor – and with Holmes, brought back to life by his creator after supposedly being killed off eight years earlier – it sold for $415,000 (£307,410) at Heritage (25/20/15% buyer’s premium) on November 6.

To promote the book and the return of Holmes, the US publishers, McClure, Phillips & Co, asked Doyle for the original manuscript and mounted an elaborate publicity campaign for it by breaking it up and offering individual pages to book-sellers and dealers who purchased copies.

Unfortunately, the manuscript had been written on highly acidic paper and those pages were then mounted using equally acidic backing material. As a result, most of those used in the promotion have not survived and only very few as well as this one.

Even better is the fact that this is a page in which Holmes, who appears in only about a third of a tale in which Watson is very much to the fore, is not only present but, as ever, doing most of the talking about the mysterious murder on the moor and explaining things to Watson.

Twain inscription

Estimated at just $1400-2100 but bid to $55,000 (£40,740) was a copy of Mark Twain’s A Yankee at the Court of King Arthur.

The red spine and boards of the binding of this 1903 Harper Bros edition were faded and rubbed, but this was a copy that in 1906 had been signed and inscribed by its author: “Taking the pledge will not make liquor good, but it will improve it…”