CS Lewis 'Wardrobe' world record up 76.4% following $47,100 sale

A new record has been set for a CS Lewis book at auction, after a signed first edition presentation copy of The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe sold for £30,000 in London yesterday (July 19).

In doing so the 1950 book beat the previous record of £17,000, set in October 2010 by another signed first edition, by 76.4%.

CS Lewis Jack signature
The 'Jack' Lewis signature helped the book to a record sum

It more than doubled its £12,000 high estimate, thanks in large part to the rare inscription it contained.

"Nicholas Hardie, with love from Jack Lewis," it read.

It is the first copy of the book signed with the author's nickname to ever come to auction.

The book was a 1950 Christmas present from Lewis to Nicholas Hardie, son of Colin Hardie, one of Lewis' closest friends and a fellow member of the Inklings writing club.

Modern first editions expert, Max Hasler, told the UK's Daily Mail newspaper: "Only a few books signed by CS Lewis have ever come to auction, and none of them have been signed 'Jack'.

"CS Lewis was a very private man. He kept his friends and family close and he would only use this name with people he knew really well."

The result is all the more impressive considering the tome was missing its original dust jacket. The presence of dust jackets can substantially increase the value of rare books, particularly children's publications, whose jackets are most prone to damage and loss.

Take a look at our collection of rare children's books available for sale today.

The auction also featured the first English edition of Sir Isaac Newton's Mathematical Principles of Natural Philosophy, printed in 1729. It sold for £6,000 against a £4,000 high estimate.

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