A 1949 edition of The Negro Motorist Green Book which sold for $40,000 (£32,260) at Swann Galleries.

Enjoy unlimited access: just £1 for 12 weeks

Subscribe now

When finding a friendly petrol station, accommodation or restaurant could be a source of apprehension, this state-by-state guide was an indispensable help to avoiding problems.

Edited by Victor H Green, the introduction states: “There will be a day sometime in the near future when this guide will not have to be published. That is when we as a race will have equal opportunities and privileges in the United States.

“It will be a great day for us to suspend this publication, for then we can go wherever we please, and without embarrassment.”

It ended its run in 1966 after the Civil Rights Act came into force in 1964. The book inspired the film Green Book.

On March 30 in its Printed and Manuscript African Americana auction, Swann Galleries (25/20/12% buyer’s premium) of New York sold a 1949 edition of the guide in the original green and printed wrappers with minimal wear for $40,000 (£32,260).

The price is over three times the estimate and set a new auction record, surpassing the previous high of $22,000 paid in the same rooms in 2019 for a 1958 edition.