Page last updated at 05:35 GMT, Wednesday, 2 April 2008 06:35 UK

Dickens works to go under hammer

A page from the original manuscript of "The Pickwick Papers," Charles Dickens' first novel
The collection contains 208 items, including some hand-written work

The largest auction of Charles Dickens' works for more than three decades is expected to fetch around $2 million at Christies in New York.

The collection includes a special edition inscribed to novelist George Eliot and a page of the original manuscript of the Pickwick Papers.

Some 200 items owned by Hollywood TV mogul William Self are being auctioned.

Tom Lecky, head of books and manuscripts at Christies New York, described the collection as "amazing".

"These are books that would have passed through the great novelist's hands and into the hands of his fellow actors and artists," Mr Lecky told the BBC.

The collection includes 13 presentation copies, inscribed by the author to another person.

One of these, an edition of Oliver Twist dedicated by Dickens to his close friend William Harrison Ainsworth, is expected to fetch as much as $300,000.

The 208 items going under the hammer come from The William Self Library Part I: The Kenyan Starling Library of Charles Dickens.


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