Rare first-edition of Jane Eyre is up for auction

George Tretton, three, in clothing from the  Parsonage Museum

George Tretton, three, in clothing from the Parsonage Museum

First published in News

A rare first-edition copy of Charlotte Bronte’s Jane Eyre goes under the hammer this month.

The work, the first published novel penned by Haworth’s legendary literary sister, has been given an auction estimate of between £30,000 and £50,000.

The Bronte Society, which runs the Parsonage Museum at Haworth, said the three-volume book – put up for auction by an anonymous seller – was something it would be interested in.

But museum collections manager Ann Dinsdale told us: “At the moment we can’t say if we will be bidding. We do already have a Jane Eyre first edition in our collection.

“They are incredibly sought after. The print run was small and they sold out within a short space of time.

“Prices seem to be rising and it is the bicentenary of Charlotte’s birth in 2016 so they are likely to continue to rise.”

The latest copy to be offered for sale will be among the lots at Bonhams in London on Wednesday, June 19.

Luke Batterham, senior valuer in the company’s book, map and manuscript department, said: “The value lies in this being the first edition of one of the most enduring classics of English literature.

“This particular copy is in wonderfully authentic condition. It is not elaborately rebound in calf or the more usual publishers’ cloth binding, but still untrimmed in rather drab cloth-backed grey boards – presumably the cheapest way to buy it at the time of publication and a rare survivor as such.”

The book – published in 1847 using Charlotte’s pseudonym Currer Bell – is marked in pencil with its original price, 31 shillings and sixpence.

In July last year another first-edition copy of Jane Eyre sold at Sotheby’s in London for £67,250.

And earlier this year a 16-line poem by Charlotte fetched a staggering £92,450 – more than twice the estimate – when it went under the hammer at Bonhams.

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