'A Handbag!' Oxfam Finds Oscar; Wilde about Oscar: Oxfam Is Delighted

Daily Mail (London), October 20, 2007 | Go to article overview

'A Handbag!' Oxfam Finds Oscar; Wilde about Oscar: Oxfam Is Delighted


Byline: HELEN BRUCE

A RARE first edition of Oscar Wilde'sThe Importance of Being Earnest has been handed into a charity shop.

The book, which dates back to 1898, was discovered at a branch of Oxfam inSouth Cheshire in England - appropriately enough inside a handbag.

One of the lead characters in the play, Jack, is said to have been found in ahandbag at London's Victoria railway station.

The terrifying Lady Bracknell is horrified when she learns that Jack wasadopted as a baby after being discovered in the handbag.

'Ahandbag!',shescreeches, appalled that her daughter Gwendolen is planning to 'marry into acloakroom and form an alliance with a parcel'.

But Oxfam was delighted to receive the book, despite its previously dubiousresting place.

It came as part of a pile of old books handed into the shop, and staff theresaid they don't know who donated the items.

The book has a mark on the front cover saying it was number 349 out of a totalof 1,000 printed copies.

The shop's manager Julie Whit-tingham said: 'We have absolutely no idea whobrought it in.

'That sort of thing is a one-in-a-million chance for a shop like this - it'svery exciting.

'Someonecouldhaveeasily come across it and just put it out in the shop, thinking it was a bitbattered and probably just worth a few quid.

'We've had it checked and verified and it's fantastic for us.' Theshop is now selling the antique for E975. …

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