Illustrated by Peggy Fortnum, this inscribed presentation first of A Bear Called Paddington was sold for £6000 by Bellmans.

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However, that would be unfair on Bellmans (25% buyer’s premium), with whom he also had a very successful if less widely broadcast meeting on December 8.

Some 35 million Paddington books are estimated to have sold around the world since his creator, the late Michael Bond (1926-2017), introduced him in A Bear Called Paddington in 1958.

A great many other tales followed, along with numerous TV programmes and a couple of feature films, but the copy of that very first book seen in the Wisborough Green, West Sussex saleroom was a presentation copy of that first book inscribed on the front free endpaper “To Nina, with best wishes, Michael Bond”. The recipient was a close friend who worked at the author’s literary agency.

Originally priced at eight shillings and sixpence, this copy in its unclipped but slightly chipped and torn jacket, part of a collection of Paddington and other books by Bond, went to an American bidder at £6000.

Another first edition, signed by the author and dated October 1958, is on offer in Forum’s January 26 auction, estimated at £4000-6000.

Gandhi’s advice


The copy of Mulk Raj Anand’s Untouchable that made £1700 at Bellmans. The jacket is in better condition than it looks, the saleroom having decided not to remove the transparent outer wrapper for fear of damaging it.

Sold at £1700 by Bellmans was an inscribed, presentation first of Untouchable by Mulk Raj Anand.

Published in 1935 with a preface by EM Forster, the book recounts a day in the life of a street sweeper who is roused to hopes of a classless and casteless society by Gandhi, who had actually offered Anand advice while he was still working on the manuscript.