Darwin book found on bathroom shelf makes $171,000

LONDON Tue Nov 24, 2009 11:02am EST

LONDON Nov 24 (Reuters Life!) - A first edition of Charles Darwin's "On the Origin of Species", which had been kept in a bathroom bookcase for years, fetched 103,250 pounds ($171,000) at auction on Tuesday, around twice its pre-sale estimate.

Christie's auctioneer offered the book at a sale held on the 150th anniversary of the evolutionary work's original publication.

The copy was bought by the family of the current owners for "a few shillings" over 50 years ago, the auctioneer said.

The vendor's son-in-law recently visited an exhibition on Darwin where he saw another first edition on display. He realised it was the same work as that in his father-in-law's guest bathroom, and it was duly offered for sale.

(Reporting by Mike Collett-White, editing by Paul Casciato) ((London newsroom: tel +44 20 7542 4015)) (To read more about our entertainment news, visit our blog "Fan Fare" online at blogs.reuters.com/fanfare)