Sherlock Holmes sale makes online record

AN early edition of The Hound of the Baskervilles, signed by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, has achieved nearly 10 times its guide price at auction in Essex.

The book, which was part of a personal collection of items relating to the author, sold for �3,900 by Sworders Fine Art Auctioneers.

The book, published in New York in 1902, formed part of a collection owned by Mary Jakeman, who worked as a maid to the Conan Doyle family at their home in Crowborough, Sussex from 1909. During this time Conan Doyle was said to be the most highly paid writer in the world and Mary is mentioned in the writer’s memoirs when she accompanied them on trips to the US and Australia.

The collection also included letters, articles and photographs connected to the Conan Doyle family. They were sold as 11 lots totalling more than �8,600.

The items attracted worldwide interest and generated more online bidders than the auctioneers have ever previously seen.

Sworders’ managing director Guy Schooling, said: “The sale price of the book was a genuine surprise. It’s early, but not a first edition, and it’s not in perfect condition.

“However, what makes it so attractive is that it has come directly from Mary Jakeman - so it’s just one step from Conan Doyle himself.

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“This auction shows that memorabilia linked to Sherlock Holmes is more popular as ever.

“But what might surprise Holmes himself is the unprecedented level of online interest. It goes to show that his appeal really does stand the test of time!”