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Last Updated: Thursday, 19 October 2006, 10:36 GMT 11:36 UK
Rare book donated to charity shop
Discovered book: Picture Bernard Quaritch and Company
A similar book sold for 5,000 earlier this year at auction
A rare 19th century book worth several thousands of pounds has been donated to a charity bookshop in Devon.

The anonymous donation was made to an Exeter Oxfam shop in July, but has only just been valued at 4,500.

"Sinai & Palestine" by Francis Frith is a collection of 37 photographic prints of the Holy Land taken by the photographer in 1862.

The book is now being sold by a specialist book dealer in London and all proceeds will go to Oxfam.

Craig Almond, the deputy manager of the Exeter Oxfam shop, said the book's possible value was noticed by volunteer book-pricer Peter Betts.

He recognised the photographer's name and noticed the pictures were printed separately and mounted onto the book.

"I don't think he realised just how valuable it was- I think he thought it might have been worth a couple of hundred but not thousands," Mr Almond said.

Picture showing mosque of Omar in Jerusalem
Francis Frith was famous for taking street photography

Research carried out by Mr Betts found a similar book had sold at auction in London for 5,000 earlier this year.

Mr Almond said the shop does not know the name of the person who donated the book, but it is thought to have come from a book bank at the local Sainsbury's or Tesco's.

Photographer Francis Frith specialised in street scenes. The book contains photographs of social life in Palestine and Sinai.

"To have survived 150 years and remain in a good condition makes it very saleable and a real opportunity for any collectors," said Brian Harley from the valuation team at Oxfam.

"We're extremely pleased that we've got it and are pleased with the shop for identifying its value."


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