Charity’s novel discovery

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At first glance the books found in a box at a Chesterfield charity shop did not look that remarkable.

But on closer inspection they turned out to be rare and early P.G.Wodehouse novels that are nearly 100 years old.

The books, a first edition copy of Psmith In The City, published in 1910; and a second edition copy of Psmith, Journalist, published in 1915 proved an unexpected boost for charity coffers.

Both novels were among several boxes of books donated by a kind-hearted stranger to the Oxfam shop in Knifesmithgate, Chesterfield, and now they are expected to sell for a total of £400 at an auction at Bonhams, in Oxford, on June 28.

David Lorimer,who works at Oxfam in Knifesmithgate, said : “I’m totally surprised that they are worth that much.

“They are certainly the most valuable brought into the shop in the three years I have been working here.

“They are not in mint condition, both books have been well read and well used.”

When the books were brought in, Mr Lorimer researched them and realised that they might be valuable, but not how valuable.

The novels were then sent to the Huddersfield branch of Oxfam so that they could decide what to do with them.

The Chesterfield books are among 37 particularly rare and desirable books donated to Oxfam shops all over Britain and which are now expected to sell for around £20,000 at Bonhams’ annual Oxfam sale.

Oxfam is Europe’s biggest seller of second hand books.

Every month the charity sells around £1.7 million worth of books at its shops and 140 specialist bookshops throughout Britain. That’s enough to buy 50,000 emergency shelters, build over 1,000 classrooms and provide safe water for over 2.1 million people.

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