Robert Burns first edition bought as $52,590 investment at auction

One of just 12 Robert Burns first editions in private hands has been bought as an investment by a Scottish company for £32,500 ($52,590).

An anonymous Edinburgh-based business purchased the first collection of works by the Scottish poet at the May 2 auction, and plans to display the piece at a later date.

"This book is the most important work in Scottish literature," a company spokesperson commented following the sale in Edinburgh.

"We have bought it not only as an investment for the future, but will make it available to any organisation or person who may wish to see it. I am happy it will be staying in Scotland and in particular it shall remain in our offices in Edinburgh."

Robert Burns first edition
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The 1786 publication is one of just 74 surviving copies of the collection of Burns poems, which includes pieces such as To a Mouse and The Twa Dogs.

612 copies of Poems, Chiefly in the Scottish Dialect were produced in the first run in July 1786 to finance Burns' planned trip to Jamaica. The three shilling books sold out within the first month.

Another of the rare first editions sold for $43,750 at Christie's New York in June 2011, which represents a 20.2% rise in value for the books in less than a year.

The idea of Robert Burns as an investment is not a new one.

In 2010 Paul Fraser Collectibles sold the Burns bible, read by the poet in the days prior to his death. Just a week after the sale, a second collector offered to purchase the bible from the new owner for 150% of our price.

The new owner would not sell, confident of its likely appreciation in value over the coming years.

Those wishing to invest in rare books must take a look at the books and manuscripts we have available today.

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