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Thursday, 10 December, 1998, 10:07 GMT
Rare Alice edition raises $1.5m
Sale of the first edition could break records
A rare first edition of Alice's Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll has raised $1.5m at auction in New York. Only 22 copies of the 1865 first edition are known to exist.

The book had been expected to fetch between $1.5m and $2m but Lewis Carroll's cherished novel about Alice and her unusual friends still broke the record for children's books, the most expensive to date having been sold for $1.2m.

Original illustration for the Cheshire Cat
Original illustration for the Cheshire Cat
The book, which was bought by an American collector who wants to remain anonymous, is Carroll's own working copy that he used to prepare the text for a simplified version for younger children.

The text is marked to indicate which characters and episodes should appear in the new version.

The volume also contains 10 original John Tenniel drawings of familiar characters, such as the Cheshire Cat, the Mad Hatter, the Blue Caterpillar, and Alice herself.

Photograph of Alice Liddell
Alice Liddell: Inspired the children's classic
The sale coincided with the 100th anniversary of the death of Lewis Carroll and also included a famous photograph of Alice Liddell, the inspiration for Alice in Wonderland.

Only 22 copies of the 1865 first edition are known to exist today - 17 are in libraries and just five, including the copy just sold, are in private hands.

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Eileen Whelan reports from New York
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