Agatha Christie collection on sale for thousands at York book store
Updated 10:24am Thursday 15th May 2014 in News
A COLLECTION of correspondence from world famous playwright Agatha Christie and a one of it's kind George Orwell script is being sold by a York book dealer.
With a price tag of £50,000 Lucius Books, in Fossgate, is selling the only copy in existence of King Charles II, a play written by George Orwell while he was a school teacher in the 1930's.
The unpublished script, which features the renowned author's signature and staging notes under his real name Arthur Blair, was performed by Hawthorns High School for Boys in Middlesex for their Christmas play in 1932.
As well as the George Orwell script, which is accompanied by a photograph of the Animal Farm author with the school children, Lucius Books is selling a collection of correspondence between Agatha Christie and those who staged her plays.
Available to buy for £16,000, the collection features typescripts, rehearsal notes, and letters previously belonging to director Hubert Gregg, who directed five of Agatha Christie's plays.
The archive contains correspondence between Agatha and Mr Gregg, including early annotated scripts for The Hollow (1951), The Unexpected Guest (1959), and Rule of Three (1961), as well as Mr Gregg's own copy of The Mousetrap, the longest running play in history, which is inscribed for him by Agatha on the occasion of "our sixth birthday".
Also featuring Agatha's own manuscript for the ending of The Patient, the archive includes letter's between Mr Gregg and producer Peter Saunders, in which they criticise some of Agatha's final scenes for being "too long and wordy".
James Hallgate, who has had a shop in Fossgate for ten years, specialising in rare books and manuscripts, said: "We bought the collection at auction a while ago.
"We have had to go through all the material and ascertain what we actually had and how important it is.
"The real dynamite is the type scripts because if shows every stage from the earliest drafts to the curtain going up.
"You see names of actors who have gone for minor roles and have been rejected who later went on to have big careers.
"I actually started in this trade about 20 years ago selling Agatha Christie first editions. To have first hand material of hers and quite a lot of it personal, that shows how she was feeling and how her mind worked, has been a real pleasure.
"I would love it to go to an institution. It offers so much information into what I think is one of our greatest detective fiction writers. A lot can be learnt from it."
Lucius Books is selling both collections at the London International Antiquarian Book Fair, which runs from May 22 to 24.
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