£1 book from car boot sale valued at £1,500

The inscription

A book bought for just £1 at a car boot sale seven years ago is set to sell for up to £1,500 today.

Hairdresser Eddie Davies, 67, found the copy of Livingstone's Missionary Travels in South Africa at his local car boot sale in Carmarthen, West Wales.

He realised it was special immediately, when he spotted the inscription inside, which showed that the book had been a gift from the great explorer himself to a friend, Major General Charles Murray May.

Dated London, 29 October, 1857, it read: "With the kindest remembrances of his much obliged and attached friend David Livingstone".

But, Mr Davies tells the Mirror, it was a while before he realised just how much the book was worth. "It was only when I went on the internet later that I discovered these books were being sold for thousands of pounds," he says.

And he suspects he may have missed out on more bargains: "It was just in a bunch of books thrown in a box and I am only sorry I didn't rummage around and see if there were any more treasures in there," he says. "I check all the books at sales now."

The book, which goes under the hammer through auctioneers Rogers Jones & Co today, describes Livingstone's journeys through uncharted territory between 1841 and 1856. He travelled from the Cape of Good Hope through present-day Luanda and Angola, crossing the Kalahari and naming the Victoria Falls.

He published the book a year after his return.

Thanks perhaps to the popularity of programmes such as Cash in the Attic and French Collection, people are getting much better than ever before at unearthing hidden treasures.

Recently, for example, auction house Bonhams sold a dusty piece of jewellery that had been bought for £1.50 in a charity shop. It was identified as a valuable Cartier ruby brooch - and sold for £2,400.

However, sellers are getting cannier too. Charity shop staff, for example, are now trained to spot potential treasures and pass them on to experts, making bargains harder to find.

Your best bet, indeed, may be to check your own cupboards and attic: Bonhams recently estimated that there here could be as much as £60 million worth of jewellery alone lying forgotten around the UK's homes.

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£1 book from car boot sale valued at £1,500

The most expensive watch ever sold at auction fetched just under $24 million in November 2014. The gold pocket watch was made by Patek Philippe, and is the most complex ever made without the use of computer technology.

The Henry Graves Supercomplication was commissioned in 1925, and took eight years to make.

The world's most expensive stamp sold at auction in 2014 for over $9 million.

The British Guiana One-Cent Magenta is as rare as a stamp can get. British Guiana was one of the first countries in the New World to start issuing stamps, but in 1856, they ran out, and asked the local newspaper printer to produce extras.

There were two denominations: the four-cent, which is very rare, and the one-cent - of which only one has ever been discovered.

In May 2015, an anonymous London businesswoman snapped up the licence plate KR15 HNA for £233,000, making it the most expensive standard number plate ever to be sold in the UK.

Queen Victoria's bloomers sold at auction for £6,200, along with a pair of her silk stockings.

They have a 52-inch waist, and belonged to the monarch in the 1890s - "towards the end of her life when she had eaten a lot more than most people could afford to," said auctioneer Michael Hogben. In today's sizing, they'd be a size 26.

In 2014, a three-year-old slice of cake sold at auction for $7,500 (£4,800). The reason the stale cake was in such demand was that it was from the marriage of Prince William to Kate Middleton in 2011.

The buyer said he intended to give it away as part of promoting his Silicon Valley start-up.

A British coin sold at auction for a record-breaking £430,000 in 2014. After fees, the buyer paid £516,000 - making it the most expensive modern British coin ever to be sold.

The coin is only one of two in existence. It was a 'proof' for a gold sovereign which was meant to be produced to commemorate the coronation of Edward VIII in 1937. However, Edward abdicated in 1936, so the coronation never happened and the coins were never made


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