Copies of the first four editions of Wisden, the world famous Bible of Cricket, are for sale at Bonhams Book Sale in Oxford on June 29. They are being sold on behalf of Oxfam, as are many other items in the auction.
Wisden was first published in 1864 by the cricketer John Wisden and a copy of this very first edition (£3,000-5,000) plus those from 1865 (£2,000-3,000), 1866 (£1,500-2,500) and 1867 (£1,500-2,500) feature in the sale.
These editions all carry the title The Cricketer's Almanack. This was altered in 1869 to 'Wisden Cricketers' Almanack' and that is how it has remained to this day.
Wisden has been published without interruption since that first edition in 1864, even during the two world wars.
This makes it the world's longest running sports reference book as well as the most famous. In all that time it has only had 18 editors and has carried articles by all the great names in cricket writing as well as the records of matches.
In contrast to today's editions, which have around 1,500 pages, the first edition was only 112 pages long and also contained non-cricketing information such as the winners of the Oaks and the dates of the battles of the English Civil War.
Bonhams Book specialist at Oxford, David Walker, said, "It's a thrill to be able to offer such wonderful, historic books especially in such a good cause."
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