Saturday 18 November 2017

Oxfam book raises record £37,200

Oxfam had its biggest windfall at auction after a book donated to a charity shop sold for £37,200
Oxfam had its biggest windfall at auction after a book donated to a charity shop sold for £37,200

Oxfam had its biggest windfall at auction after a book donated to a charity shop sold for £37,200.

The book, A Trip To The Highlands of Viti Levu, was one of a selection of rare books taken to the Oxfam branch in Teignmouth, Devon, by an anonymous retired man late last year.

The 1882 photo documentary tells of Royal Society of London scientist Gerard Ansdell and his brother's 1881 search for their long-lost brother who was thought to be coffee planting in Fiji.

He was eventually tracked down in the island of Viti Levu and the brothers documented their trip in the book, including 44 portraits of Fijians.

Only a few copies of the self-published book were ever made and only one has ever appeared at auction before, selling for 190 Australian dollars (£114) in 1977.

This copy was sold by Bonhams in London for £37,200 including buyer's premium on Tuesday, the highest price ever paid at auction for an item donated to Oxfam.

The charity said the sum was 23,000 times more than the £1.60 average selling price for a book in an Oxfam shop and would be enough to buy 1,500 goats, feed 5,300 families or provide safe water for 41,000 people.

Suzy Alder, books project manager at Oxfam, said: "Book sales have been helping us in our fight against poverty for more than 50 years, as we've sold everything from the first ever Sherlock Holmes story to the latest Harry Potter novel, and this incredible book will make a significant contribution to changing lives around the world."

Until this week, the most Oxfam had raised from a single book was £18,000 at two sales - a 1601 first edition of Treatise of Commerce by John Wheeler in 2005 and a rare Graham Greene early novel, Rumour at Nightfall, in 2008.

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Press Association

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