Charles Dickens inscribed book offered for £275,000 sale
A signed copy of Charles Dickens' novel A Tale of Two Cities bearing a personal inscription to fellow author George Eliot has gone on sale for £275,000.
Dated December 1859, the dedication expresses "high admiration and regard" for Eliot - real name Mary Ann Evans.
It is being sold by rare book dealer Peter Harrington and is currently on show at its central London bookshop.
If it reaches its asking price, the book will be among the most expensive Dickens works ever purchased.
According to Peter Harrington, the edition of A Tale of Two Cities is "the best Dickens presentation copy to have come to market in a generation".
The most fetched by a Charles Dickens work at auction is believed to be the $290,500 (£174,610) achieved in New York in 2009 when Christie's sold a pre-publication presentation copy of A Christmas Carol.
Dickens was an admirer of Eliot's 1857 short story The Sad Fortunes of Reverend Amos Barton and wrote to its author to express his admiration for the "womanly touches" he detected within it.
Unbeknownst to the author of Oliver Twist and Great Expectations, he and Eliot had originally met in 1852, before Mary Ann Evans began writing under her male pseudonym.
A Tale of Two Cities is believed to be the best-selling novel of all time, having sold more than 200 million copies.
The classic tale first appeared in All the Year Round, a literary periodical to which Dickens was keen to have Evans/Eliot contribute.