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First-edition On the Origin of Species kept in toilet

23rd November 2009

A rare copy of Charles Darwin's On the Origin of Species is to be sold - after spending the past few years on a toilet bookshelf.

The book, which was bought for a few shillings, is expected to attract a price of GBP 60,000 when it is sold at Christie's auction house tomorrow (November 24th).

Since being purchased around 40 years ago, the book has been kept on the bookcase of a guest lavatory in an Oxfordshire home.

Margaret Ford, head of books and manuscripts at Christie's, said the owner knew the cultural value of the book when he bought it, but may have been unware of its monetary value.

'It's incredibly important. He knew it [the book] was textually important. He maybe did not know how much of a bargain he was getting,' she commented.

Only 1,250 copies of the book were printed on its first run in 1859, with one selling for GBP 35,000 when auctioned in April this year.

Last week, an early edition of C.S. Lewis' The Lion, The Witch And The Wardrobe, worth around GBP 180, was donated to a charity shop in Hereford.

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