Sunday 18 March 2018

Tourist sells €3 first edition of Wuthering Heights for €8,000

Jason Ludlow with his rare US first edition of 'Wuthering Heights' by Emily Bronte
Jason Ludlow with his rare US first edition of 'Wuthering Heights' by Emily Bronte

Kevin Keane

IT is one of the best-selling novels of all time. But a sharp-eyed bargain hunter has managed to turn a €8,000 profit on a copy of a book that is found in homes up and down the country.

The tourist spotted the first edition copy of 'Wuthering Heights' by Emily Bronte (left) at a flea market in Limerick and quickly snapped it up for just €3.

Jason Ludlow then brought the book to his native South Africa where he was paid 77,000 rand for the copy -- the equivalent of more than €8,000.

Mr Ludlow is keenly interested in antiques and rare books, and couldn't contain his excitement at what he found during this trip to Ireland.

"I was in Ireland and Limerick in March and April, and was very lucky to have found such a great old book at the flea market," he said.

"It was a rare copy of Wuthering Heights printed in 1848 that I've subsequently sold for a substantial amount."

The 34-year-old aero engineer, who is currently living in Angola, found the book at Limerick's newly developed Milk Market earlier this year.

Coincidentally, a photograph of Mr Ludlow buying the book was snapped by a local photographer who had been taking pictures there on April 7.

Experts have expressed amazement that the rare American first edition turned up in Ireland.

David Cunningham of antique book dealers Cathach Books said it may have been the only such copy in the country.

"You just don't know how books turn up and how it arrived in this country, but that's the nature of books -- you can find almost anything anywhere."

Local efforts to track down the original seller of the book have been unsuccessful.

Siobhan Downey, who runs the flea market, said: "We get thousands of people coming through,-- and we also have traders that come for a day and go again, as well as our core traders, so it is not beyond the bounds of possibility".

The manager of the Milk Market, David O'Brien, described the rare book find as "an incredible windfall.This is one in a million, I don't know what else to say."

Nick Nicholson, Consultant Valuer with Adam's auctioneers in Dublinexpressed surprise that the book had not been spotted by local book sellers.

"Books by the Brontes are very sought after, they are sort of hot property," he said.

Mr Nicholson predicted that the book might find its way back to America, where it could fetch an even higher price.

"That's why people still go to auctions and keep hunting because not everything is kept track of and this chap obviously had a bit of luck," he told the Irish Independent.

"Things turn up, so the public should keep looking, they should go to auctions. It's not an exact science, even with computerisation and everything, these things still happen."

Irish Independent

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