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Poe 1st edition 'to fetch record price'

3rd December 2009

An upcoming book auction could see Edgar Allan Poe's first book sell for a record price.

Poe wrote Tamerlane and Other Poems in 1827, when he was just 18 years old, and only 12 known copies survive from its print run of 50.

Experts predict that a copy of the collection will fetch between USD 500,000 (GBP 300,000) and USD 700,000 when it is auctioned by Christie's in New York tomorrow (December 4th).

The 40-page book was published anonymously, with the attribution to 'A Bostonian' thought to be a ploy by Poe to disguise its authorship from his foster-father John Allan.

Francis Wahlgren, head of books and manuscripts at Christie's in New York, told the Associated Press: 'This is known as the black tulip of US literature. This is a rare opportunity, a once-in-a-lifetime chance.'

William Self, the former television executive who is selling the book, added: 'If you're going to collect Poe, the ultimate goal is Tamerlane.'

However, he admitted that he has never read the original copy of the poems, only a facsimile.

On December 17th, rare possessions owned by the Bronte sisters, including Emily's art box and Charlotte's desk, will be auctioned by Sotheby's.

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