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Selina’s Scotts's appeal to buy rare copy of Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol for Malton
WRITER and presenter Selina Scott is appealing for ideas to help raise £30,000 to buy a rare and newly discovered copy of Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol.
Selina, who lives near Malton , said she found out about the book coming up for auction in New York from one of her friends who knows she is keenly interested in Dickens and Malton and felt that this book belongs, not to a private collector, but to the town.
“If an American auction house can put a price tag of up to $60,000 on one book linking Dickens directly with Malton, why isn’t Malton making more of itself,” said Selina.
“The Counting House, the market square, the Christmas Bells which ring out in A Christmas Carol are all still here.
“If Dickens came back today he would readily recognise the town.
“This small piece of history coming up for sale 3,000 miles across the ocean nails one thing – all those doubters who questioned Dickens’s connection with the town. It beggars belief that Malton continues to turn its back on Dickens and one of the most iconic pieces of literature in the world ‘ The book is inscribed to Charles Smithson’s wife upon the unexpected death of her husband, and notes the long-standing tradition that the office of Scrooge was based on Smithson’s office in Chancery Lane.
Ms Scott said: “In last week’s Gazette & Herald I read how Ryedale District Council, which has its headquarters in Malton is spending £100,000 on a new reception area.
“I had no idea the council was so flush but then again, with £5 million about to flow into its coffers from the sale of Wentworth Street car park, I suppose none of us should be surprised.
“If Ryedale District Council has money like this to burn it should stump up to buy this rare book, which would act as a centrepiece for the regeneration of Malton, the inspiration for so many of Dickens characters. It is the least it should do, having voted to wreck the place with an out of scale superstore.”
Ms Scott said the book was due to be sold by Doyles an auction house in New York on Monday, November 5.
“This book belongs in Malton. What a shame if this important literary and cultural treasure disappears into the hands of a private collector,” she added.
Linda McCarthy, secretary of the Charles Dickens (Malton) Society, said they had been notified by the auction house of the sale.
“It is a very special first edition with a personal inscription by Dickens but unfortunately the society just doesn’t have that sort of money,” she said.
“We survive very much on a month to month basis – it would be wonderful to have it here but we are certainly not in a position to put a bid in.”
Mrs McCarthy said: “I just hope that whoever does buy it, puts it on display for others to see.”