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Last Updated: Friday, 19 October 2007, 11:10 GMT 12:10 UK
Rare book found in charity shop
Jill Whittingham with the book
Manager Jill Whittingham said they had no idea who donated the book
A rare first edition of Oscar Wilde's The Importance of Being Earnest has been handed in to a charity shop.

The book, which dates back to 1898, was discovered at the branch of Oxfam in Nantwich, South Cheshire - appropriately inside a handbag.

Staff at the shop said they had no idea who donated the items, and have put the book on sale for 650.

The book has a mark in the front cover saying it was number 349 out of a total of 1,000 printed copies.

The shop's manager Julie Whittingham said: "We have absolutely no idea who brought it in.

"That sort of thing is a one-in-a-million chance for shop like this - it's very exciting.

"Someone could have easily come across it and just put it out in the shop, thinking it was a bit battered and probably just worth about 4.99. We've had it checked and verified and it's fantastic for us."

One of the lead characters in the play is said to have been found in a handbag at Victoria railway station.

The rare first edition of the Oscar Wilde book

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