Rare Darwin book found on toilet bookcase
By Vicky Shaw, Press Association
Monday, 23 November 2009 - The Times
The first edition of Darwin's book
A first edition of Charles Darwin's groundbreaking Origin Of Species, which languished for years in a toilet, will go under the hammer this week, on the 150th anniversary of the book's publication.
Christie's auction house said the book, estimated to reach £60,000, was bought by a family for just a few shillings in a shop in the West Country about 40 years ago. It has since been kept on a bookcase in the guest lavatory at their home in the Oxford area.
Christie's said the son-in-law of the current owners was at an exhibition on Darwin and spotted a picture of the spine of the work. He realised his in-laws' book was something special, matching the binding in the picture.
"The book is incredibly important," said, Margaret Ford, head of books and manuscripts at Christie's, adding of the current owner: "He knew it (the book) was textually important. He maybe did not know how much of a bargain he was getting."
Why do these things never happen to us? Do we have the wrong calibre of books for loo reading? Should it be less if the Footrot Flats and more of the literature?
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