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Holmes under the hammer

By DarrylWebber  |  Posted: July 03, 2012

  • The early edition of The Hound of the Baskervilles, signed by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

  • Photo of the Conan Doyle family with Mary Jakeman

  • Letter of appointment from Conan Doyle to Mary Jakeman

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The game's afoot for Sherlock Holmes fans in Essex next week as a collection of letters and books signed by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle is being sold at auction on Tuesday, July 10.

The letters, articles, photographs and books are from the personal collection of Mary Jakeman, who worked as a maid to the Conan Doyle family at their home in Crowborough, Sussex from 1909.

During this time, Conan Doyle is thought to have been the world's most highly paid writer, mainly because of his fictional detective Sherlock Holmes.

Mary is mentioned Conan Doyle's memoirs as he accompanied him on trips to the US and Australia. After Conan Doyle's death, Mary went on to work for the famous spiritualist Arthur Finlay at Stansted Hall.

The Jakeman collection includes an 1902 edition of Conan Doyle's most famous work, The Hound of the Baskervilles, signed by the author. The collection also features Mary's letter of appointment, handwritten and signed by Conan Doyle, where the writer notes: "The wages begin at £26. The servants find their own beer and wine."

The signed, early edition of The Hound of the Baskervilles has a guide price of £400-£800 while the letter of appointment is expected to make between £300-£500.

George Schooling of Sworders Fine Art Auctioneers of Stansted Mountfitchet, who are selling the items, said: "We have had a significant interest in these items already, not only from private collectors in the UK, but also from Conan Doyle fan clubs all over the world, particularly in Canada, the US and Australia."

To find out more about the sale at the Stansted Auction Rooms, go to www.sworder.co.uk

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