The importance of books, manuscripts and archives cannot be overstated. You may not have thought too much of it when you bought Trainspotting by Irvine Welsh, or that tattered copy of Lord Jim from a garage sale, but you might want to look again.

There are many valuable first editions hidden away in drawers and library shelves that could be worth a small fortune. Note that the highest prices only tend to be achieved for pristine first-edition hardback copies with their original dustjackets, if applicable.

It may be unsurprising that a collection of William Shakespeare’s plays, William Shakespeare: First Folio, sits at the top of the pile when it comes to rare books.

This 1623 compilation of 36 of the Bard’s works was put together by two friends, seven years after Shakespeare’s death.

The record-breaking final price of £7.7m made this the most expensive printed work of literature ever sold at auction and is believed to be one of only six complete copies privately owned. Rare Book Authentication covers important collectable antiquarian works printed over the preceding four and a half centuries, and modern pieces published from 1900 onwards.

Our specialist valuation team attaches equal importance to manuscripts which have an even longer history and offer specialist valuations of these items.

Among core subjects are Latin and Greek classics, the arts and sciences, English and foreign literature, travel and exploration, and sporting books. Archives and large collections of papers associated with a specific family, estate or a specific person, have a value related to their historical importance.

Doerr Dallas specialists can offer bespoke inventories and asset valuations on a regular basis.

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