A first edition of Jane Austen's novel Emma, published in 1816, was recently sold for the record-breaking sum of £180,000 (approximately $354,095) at a London auction. The three-volume set, one of twelve special copies printed by the publisher and inscribed by the author to her friend and governess Anne Sharp, was sold to a telephone bidder who wishes to remain anonymous. The seller, who also wishes to remain anonymous, told the Times in London that the novel "had been sitting in my family library for at least three generations."
Earlier this month, in Gloucestershire, England, a first edition of Austen's first published novel, Sense and Sensibility, sold for £30,000 (approximately $59,000). At the same auction, another, even rarer piece of Jane Austen memorabilia was sold: a lock of the author's hair. Framed in a display case made of lambskin, the lock of Austen's hair had been fashioned into the shape of a weeping willow. The anonymous buyer paid approximately $11,095.