A little piece of Jane Austen

I must admit that I rolled my eyes a bit while listening to the local news this morning. Two newscasters were discussing an upcoming sports auction and debating: Would they rather own a historic Red Sox trophy or a shirt connected to the Celtics?

Then I got to work and saw this little item in the Guardian: a first edition of Jane Austen's "Emma" was just purchased at auction for a record 180,000 pounds.

The book was a "triple decker" (ie, a work printed in three volumes) and was personally inscribed by Jane herself. Apparently it was a gift given to a friend, a governess named Anna Sharp. The article in the Guardian goes on to explain that Anna Sharp was someone whose opinion Jane Austen greatly valued and some believe that the author drew on her friend's experiences in creating the character of Miss Taylor, the governess in Emma.

The identity of the buyer is unknown.  But to my mind, that was money well spent. (It was an amount, the Guardian notes, "comfortably ahead" of the 114,000 pounds spent last November for a first edition of "Wuthering Heights.")

I may live in Boston and I must admit – the description of that 1912 trophy was not without appeal to me. But I would any day trade that for a chance to sit that "Emma" on my shelf.

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