Signed Conan Doyle book donated to Thame Oxfam shop
- 18 January 2012
- From the section Hampshire & Isle of Wight
A limited edition novel by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle signed by the author has turned up at a charity shop in Oxfordshire.
The 109-year-old limited edition of White Company was among a pile of books donated to the Oxfam Bookshop in Thame.
Along with it were a further eight volumes from a set of 13 by the Sherlock Holmes author.
Manager Dick Jennens, who has been in the book trade for 45 years, said he was "really excited" about the find.
"We had a lot of donations just before Christmas but these were particularly noticeable because the volumes we received were bound in a red cloth with gilt lettering so they stood out," said Mr Jennens, who has run the bookshop since it opened nearly 11 years ago.
"Then we realised the author was Arthur Conan Doyle so we were a little bit more interested at that point."
Mr Jennens handed the books to one of the shop's volunteer experts, who found the books were part of a 13 volume limited edition of 1,000 copies published in 1903, which the White Company issued as a signed copy.
He said: "The disappointing bit about it was that the full set was 13 volumes but we only have nine."
It is not known who donated the books.
The signed volume, which is numbered 95 of 1,000, has been put up for sale for £750, while the other eight books are being offered at £75 each.
"We may well auction it," said Mr Jennens. "We have put a price tag on it at the moment which we believe is fair. If it does not sell we will put it on an auction."
It is not the first time that an unusual or valuable book has been brought to the store.
'Full of gems'
Mr Jennens, said: "The most unusual was a book of autographs from the mid 19th century that had autographs from the president of the USA at the time as well as Charles Darwin and Charles Dickens.
"The person who donated it was going to throw it in the skip. That raised £11,000 and we came to an agreement with the donor about that one."
Other donations have included a first edition of George Orwell's Animal Farm and a Bible and prayer book from 1657 that were sold to Oxford's Bodleian Library.
The 500 sq ft charity shops stocks more than 9,000 titles and stores a further 2,000 which are for sale online.
Mr Jennens said: "It's fantastic - Thame is a small market town but we have got a wonderful little shop full of gems."