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EDITIONS
Friday, 26 July, 2002, 14:25 GMT 15:25 UK
40,000 Austen sale breaks record
First edition of Pride and Prejudice
The three volumes were found in a Scottish castle
A rare first edition of Pride and Prejudice has broken records for a Jane Austen book after being sold at auction for 40,000.

Its price was described as "incredible" by auctioneers, who had expected the complete three-volume set to fetch about 12,000.


We're absolutely over the moon

Philip Gregory
Lyon and Turnbull
Potential buyers had travelled from as far away as the United States, but it was eventually sold to an anonymous private collector.

The book's owners did not realise they had the full set until they were about to move out of their Scottish castle and found the three volumes in different rooms.

"There was a lot of competition and it was very exciting," said Philip Gregory of auctioneers Lyon and Turnbull.

"We're absolutely over the moon because we didn't think it would sell for quite so much."

Colin Firth as Darcy in an adaptation of Jane Austens Pride and Prejudice
Pride and Prejudice was adapted by the BBC
A lot of people wanted the 1813 set, and items like that do not come up very often, he said.

"I've spoken to the people who were selling it and they are over the moon as well. In fact, they could hardly believe it."

The owners of the castle in Ayrshire, south west of Glasgow, called in Lyon and Turnbull's book expert John Sibbald to identify finds as they were packing to move.

"We initially found volume three in the tower," said Mr Sibbald. "This in itself was a very exciting find.

"Later, my colleague and I were cataloguing some books in the hallway and found volume one. The hunt was then on for volume two. Happily we found it in the library."

Best-loved

The original version of the Austen novel was written in the form of an exchange of letters in 1796-7 under the title First Impressions.

Pride and Prejudice was first published in 1813 and has long been Austen's best-loved novel.

In 2001, a first edition of Pride and Prejudice was auctioned for 23,500 as part of a 60,000 set of five rare Austen books.

The story, which was turned into a popular BBC drama, traces the tempestuous relationship between Elizabeth Bennett and Mr Darcy.

See also:

05 Dec 01 | Arts
30 Oct 01 | England
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