The Oxfam bookshop in Morningside in Edinburgh has received an anonymous donation of the earliest book on television, signed by the inventor of television himself, John Logie Baird.
The book, entitled ‘Television’, was published in 1926. It gives a brief history of TV up to that date, and ends with a detailed explanation of Baird’s work and inventions, including an account of the first public demonstration of moving silhouettes he gave at Selfridges in March 1925.
How it came to be signed by Baird is unclear, although the location of the signature (on the blank half-title, rather than the title page or frontispiece) suggests it was his own personal copy.
The book has been valued at between £800 and £1000 and will be auctioned by Bonhams on November 23. Proceeds from the sale of the book will go to Oxfam.
Andy Crosby, Manager of Oxfam’s Morningside bookshop, said:
“One of our volunteers found the book and when I saw the signature inside it, it was one of those moments where I had to check that my eyes weren’t playing tricks on me.
“We thought at first it was just a regular sort of signed copy but, when we took the book to Bonhams, they said it was more likely to have belonged to Baird himself because of the location of the inscription, so that makes it a pretty special donation.
“I don’t know whether the person who brought this book in was aware that there was a signature inside it, but I’d like to say a really big thank you to them for donating it to Oxfam.”