CHARITY workers came across a novel find in a box of second hand books donated to a Chesterfield Oxfam shop.
They discovered rare early editions of classic works by comic novelist PG Wodehouse – which are expected to fetch hundreds of pounds at auction later this month.
The books, a century old, are a first edition of Psmith In The City, published in 1910, and a second edition of Psmith, Journalist, published in 1915.
Both novels were among several boxes of books donated by a kind-hearted stranger to the shop in Knifesmithgate – and now they are expected to sell for a total of £400 at an auction at Bonhams in Oxford on Tuesday, June 28.
Shop worker David Lorimer said: “I’m totally surprised that they are worth that much.
“They are certainly the most valuable items brought into the shop in the three years I have been working here.”
He added: “They are not in mint condition, both books have been well read and well used.”
When the books were brought in, Mr Lorimer researched their history and realised that they might be valuable, but not how valuable.
The novels were then sent to the Huddersfield branch of Oxfam so they could decide what to do with them.
The Chesterfield books are among 37 particularly rare and desirable books donated to Oxfam shops all over Britain and which are now expected to sell for around £20,000 at Bonhams’ annual sale.
Oxfam is Europe’s biggest seller of second hand books.
Every month the charity sells around £1.7 million worth of books at its shops and 140 specialist bookshops throughout Britain.
That’s enough to buy 50,000 emergency shelters, build over 1,000 classrooms and provide safe water for over 2.1 million people.