An unexpected treasure, discovered by two sharp-eyed volunteers in the National Trust's second-hand bookshop at Mottisfont, is being sold in Woolley and Wallis's next book auction.
Christine and Robert Williams are keen amateur antiquarians who run the shop, came across a small, hardback book, complete with beautifully illustrated dust jacket, when sorting through the latest box of donations. What they had uncovered was a rare 1956 first edition of the children's novel, The Last Battle, by C.S. Lewis. Featuring some of C.S. Lewis's best-loved characters, this book is the last of the famous Narnia chronicles and won the author the Carnegie Medal. It is illustrated by Pauline Baynes, who was also J.R.R. Tolkien's chosen illustrator.
"I think we knew we had something special as soon as we picked the book up," says Christine. "It was in excellent condition, though obviously quite old, with the most beautiful images on the jacket and inside. When we realized it was not a re-print, we were pretty excited!"
Founding members of Mottisfont's thriving second-hand bookshop, Christine and Robert are self-taught book valuers, but sought professional verification of their find from Woolley and Wallis, who are now selling the volume on 17th June (lot 33)
with an estimate of £700 - £1,000. The book is being sold to raise money for Mottisfont's ongoing programme of conservation.