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'Magnificent' literature collection set for auction

3rd June 2010

A collection of rare first-edition books is to be auctioned in London later this year - and could fetch up to GBP 15 million.

Sotheby's will start a series of sales on October 28th to auction off the 3,000 books, said to be one of the strongest private collections of 19th century English literature in existence.

Titles found in the collection, which was compiled by an unnamed British enthusiast, include James Joyce's Ulysses, A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens, Mary Shelley's Frankenstein and a first collection of T.S. Eliot poems. Several of the books have been inscribed by their authors with messages to friends.

Peter Selley, an English literature specialist at Sotheby's, told the BBC: 'You feel rather punch drunk looking at [the collection]. There is not just one highlight - there is one highlight after another. It is the finest collection I am ever likely to see in my lifetime.'

On July 15th, the auction house will put Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's debut novel A Study In Scarlet up for sale. The title is expected to fetch up to GBP 400,000.

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