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National Trust Cymru volunteer discovers rare first edition of George Orwell classic

Dyffryn Gardens

National Trust Cymru volunteer discovers rare first edition of George Orwell classic in second-hand bookshop at Dyffryn Gardens

From modern fiction and crime to natural history and children’s favourites, thousands of books are donated to National Trust Cymru’s second-hand bookshops each year.

In November 2021 a second-hand bookshop volunteer at Dyffryn Gardens, near Cardiff, made an exciting discovery when routinely sorting through donations – a first edition copy of George Orwell’s 1945 classic ‘Animal Farm’.

Orwell book. Credit: National Trust

The book was recently found a new home by local auctioneers, Rodger Jones and the £2800 made from the sale will remain at Dyffryn Gardens, helping to care for the special place for everyone, for ever.

This was not the first discovery made in Dyffryn Gardens’ second-hand bookshop. In 2019 a book entitled The Ascent of Everest was found to contain seven autographs from the first climbers to reach the top of Mount Everest, including Sir Edmund Hillary.

The book, which would ordinarily have gone on sale for a couple of pounds, later sold at auction for almost £500.

Lhosa Daly, Assistant Director for Operations, National Trust Cymru says:

‘Our second-hand bookshops support vital work at the historic homes, gardens, and countryside and coast sites we care for across Wales.

‘The discovery of a George Orwell first edition is very exciting and the proceeds from its sale will help us achieve so much at Dyffryn Gardens. This World Book Day, we want to say a big thank you to everyone who supports our second-hand book shops, through buying or donating, and to our remarkable book shop volunteers.”