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Christie's auction lures book lovers to London

Christie's
The private book collection of the late William Foyle, founder of London's famous Foyles bookstore, is expected to fetch more than $9.47 million at a Christie's auction this week  

LONDON (CNN) -- An illustrated medieval manuscript fetched more than $1.3 million in London Tuesday, kicking off the sale of one of the world's most valuable book collections.

The collection of more than 4,000 volumes has drawn the world's bookworms to London to check out the rare writings dating from the 1930s back to the 11th century, 300 years before the birth of printing.

The Christie's auction, which runs through Thursday, offers piles and piles for the bibliophiles, including early editions of Chaucer, Shakespeare, Jane Austen, Charles Dickens and dozens of other literary lights.


Books on the auction block date back before the invention of printing and include some of the most famous titles in history  

The books come from the private library of the late William Foyle, who opened Foyles bookshop on Charing Cross Road in the early 1900s. Christie's describes the collection, which Foyle built up at his country home from the 1940s until his death in 1963, as the largest British book collection in private hands to appear at auction in more than 20 years.

Christie's took in nearly $10 million in the first morning session, more than it expected to get for the whole three-day sale. And that's before a half- century-old leaf from the Gutenberg Bible goes on sale.



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