Robert Burns first edition set for $56,510 Edinburgh auction

One of just 12 Robert Burns first editions in private hands is coming to auction in Edinburgh, Scotland on May 2.

Appearing with a £35,000 high estimate, the 1786 publication is one of just 74 surviving copies, and gathers together works such as To a Mouse and The Twa Dogs.

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

Robert Burns first edition
Scotland’s favourite son? One of just 12 privately owned first editions is up for grabs

The poet, whose birthday is celebrated the world over on January 25, is widely regarded as one of Scotland's finest exports, and ranks alongside whisky, Sir Walter Scott and RL Stevenson, according to Simon Vickers, a book specialist at the auctioneer.

"But whereas Scott and RL Stevenson are famous for a dozen works or more, Burns' reputation the world over rests on a single volume," he explains.

"This slim volume has now become a high spot in the world of books."

Vickers adds that the auction represents an "exceedingly rare opportunity to purchase the most desirable and famous volume of Scottish literature".

The majority of Burns memorabilia is held in museums, which could further heighten interest among private collectors for this piece.

Another of the 74 copies sold for $43,750 at Christie's New York in June 2011.

In 2010 Paul Fraser Collectibles sold the famous 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 artefact from the new owner for 150% of our price.

The new owner refused to sell, no doubt aware of its likely appreciation in value over the coming years.

Take a look at Paul Fraser Collectibles' important books and manuscripts available to buy today.

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