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Rare book worth £1,500 found in Strood recycling bin


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A charity shop boss was stunned to find a book worth £1,500 in a recycling bin.

Kim West, manager of Strood Community Project’s shop in the High Street, was sorting books into boxes when she came across a first edition of A Clockwork Orange by Anthony
Burgess.

The cult classic was published in 1962 and follows the story of 15-year-old Alex, who leads his gang on a night of violence before he is put in prison.

The book found in the charity's recycling bin
The book found in the charity's recycling bin

Kim said: “I was sorting through the books for recycling – taking them out of plastic bags and putting them into boxes –when I found it.

“I’m from that era so I opened the cover and saw it said it was a first edition. It was a real surprise. It would have gone to pulp.

“I thought we’d get a couple of hundred for it so it was a shock when I was told that it’s worth between £1,000 and £1,500.”

Kim added it was not the first time she had found something rare when going through donations.

“We had a chair dumped outside the old store,” she said.

VIDEO: Rare book could earn charity £1,500

“It had a metal frame and a leather seat with bits of rust on it. I thought we could sell it for about £15. I thought it looked a bit 70s.

“My colleague went away for the weekend and had seen a home magazine displaying one of these chairs.

"We found three little letters in the fabric – it had been made by an Italian designer. We got £300 for it. I’ve got loads of stories like that.”

The book is now with Forum Auctions in London and is due to be sold in March.

Max Hasler, from the company, said as the copy had a dust jacket it was worth more than other copies.

Max Hasler from Forum Auctions
Max Hasler from Forum Auctions

He said: “With first editions the dust jacket accounts for about 80% of the value.

"We’ve estimated this copy at around £1,500 but we’d expect it to make more on the day given that it is such a good copy.

"This book isn’t particularly rare, but it’s the condition that people will pay a lot for.

"This is very much a collectors’ item, which is why it makes more than an average copy would do.”

“I thought we’d get a couple of hundred for it so it was a shock when I was told that it’s worth between £1,000 and £1,500” - Kim West

Mr Hasler added Forum Auctions takes in a lot of books from charities.

He said: "People bought books like these at the time, read them once and stuck them on shelves. As such we can get them in really good condition.

“People find extraordinary things – a lot of charities now have book specialists who volunteer.”

Strood Community Project provides support to the disadvantage in the community, by giving advice and skills support to those looking to enter work.

It runs adult literacy and numeracy classes, computer skills training, confidence courses and other workshops.

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