A rare inscribed first edition of C.S. Lewis’s The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe will be auctioned in London this Thursday, July 19. This copy is especially rare because the author inscribed it with his nickname, Jack, which only close friends and family called him. No other copy of the book with an inscription of Lewis’s nickname has ever gone on sale.
The inscription reads, “Nicholas Hardie, with love from Jack Lewis”, and was given to the son of Colin Graham Hardie, one of Lewis’s best friends. Lewis would often visit the Hardie household, Nicholas Hardie, now 66, remembers, and spent many evenings reading Dante aloud with his father. “He was a distinguished old man,” Mr. Hardie said. “I remember being eight years old and my mother telling me I had to be on my best behavior because C.S. Lewis was coming around.” It was on a Christmas visit for tea in 1950 when Lewis gave Mr. Hardie the copy of The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe.
Max Hasler, a modern first editions expert at Bloomsbury Auctions, said the book is “an exciting find” because “only a few books signed by C.S. Lewis have ever come to auction, and none of them have been signed ‘Jack’”. The book is valued to be worth up to almost $19,000.