The signed and illustrated leaf from a copy of Tove Jansson’s 'Moominvalley in November' sold for £1600 at Gorringe’s.

Enjoy unlimited access: just £1 for 12 weeks

Subscribe now

Nevertheless, one of her works proved a star turn as the very first of the 150 or so book lots that opened a recent Sussex sale.

At Gorringe’s (21% buyer’s premium) of Lewes on April 20 a 1971, first UK edition in dust jacket of Moominvalley in November, inscribed and bearing an original illustration of her much loved creation, sold on at a record £1600 – more than ten times the high estimate.

The consignor had in the 1970s worked for the publisher, Benn Brothers, and occasionally arranged cocktail parties for book launches, where Jansson probably signed and decorated this copy.

Signed Winnie-the-Pooh

One of 350 large paper, quarto copies of the 1926 first edition of Winnie- The-Pooh, signed by both Milne and Shepard on the limitation leaf but lacking the jacket, took £1900 from an online bidder.

Other copies have made as much as £4000 or so, but in 2008, at Bonhams New York, a copy containing a full page and exact, signed copy by Shepard of an illustration in the book that shows Christopher Robin and Pooh in the bath was sold at $65,000 (then £42,485)

A 1930, Milan first in paper wrappers of Basil Bunting’s Redimiliculum Matellarum, the author’s first, privately published collection of poetry, realised £750.

Mesmerising result


The three-volume set of Great Expectations which made £3200 at Gorringe’s.

The books in this Lewes auction were led at £3200 by a copy of Dickens’ Great Expectations that contained an added engraved portrait of the dedicatee, Chauncy Hare Townshend – someone with whom Dickens shared an interest in mesmerism.

It was an early, three-volume issue of 1861 but the binding was a later 19th century one by Samuel Tout.

Copies in the original purple cloth gilt binding are famously rare and have made as much at £140,000 at auction – that in the Lawrence Drizen collection, sold at Sotheby’s in 2014.