Peter Pan first edition sells for $5,500

A first edition of JM Barrie's Peter Pan in Kensington Gardens, signed by the book's illustrator, Arthur Rackham, has sold for £3,500 ($5,508), £500 above estimate.

The 1906 work, one of 500 signed by Rackham, was the top lot of Bonhams' Books, Maps and Photographs auction in Oxford, UK on November 25.

Peter Pan Kensington
One of just 500 copies signed by illustrator Arthur Rackham

Peter Pan in Kensington Gardens is one of the four Peter Pan works Barrie wrote. Yet it's not the one that made the flying boy famous. That accolade went to 1911's Peter Pan; or, the Boy Who Wouldn't Grow Up. However, it is "Kensington Gardens" that is more popular with collectors, due to its pioneering status.

The present piece's strong showing is also evidence of the allure of Rackham's signature. The illustrator is hugely popular with collectors. The auction also featured a 1909 edition of The Fairly Tales of the Brothers Grimm signed by Rackham. One of 750, it sold for £2,250 ($3,541).

A seldom seen first edition of Terry Pratchett's The Colour of Magic also performed well. It sold for £2,375 ($3,737) against a £1,500 high estimate.

The book is both rare and the first in Pratchett's hugely popular Discworld series - a potent combination.

"The first printing is said to have comprised 500 copies, but 400 of these were seemingly issued to libraries making fine copies difficult to come by," explained Bonhams of the book's scarcity.

Pratchett's enduring popularity suggests he is an author to consider as potential investment material.

An incomplete first edition of Charles Darwin's On the Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection made £2,750 ($4,325).

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