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A first-edition copy of the Canadian classic Anne of Green Gables was sold by Sotheby's New York Friday afternoon for $37,500 (U.S.) - a live auction record for the famous debut novel by Lucy Maud Montgomery that originally retailed for $1.50.

Pre-auction, Sotheby's estimated the copy, with a date of April, 1908, on its copyright page, to be worth $20,000-$25,000. The hammer price was $30,000 - $37,500 including the 25 per cent premium Sotheby's requires a buyer to pay. Sotheby's set the previous record, $24,000, in June, 2005, with a copy whose ribbed cloth cover with gilt lettering and profile illustration had the same pale sea-green colour as Friday's record-breaker.

No details were released as to the identity of the winning bidder. The work had been consigned by a U.S. collector. According to Sotheby's, only eight copies of the so-called "first impression" by Ms. Montgomery's publisher, Louis C. Page of Boston, have been auctioned since the mid-1970s. It's known Mr. Page wrapped the cloth edition - which was produced in three colours: green, tan and chocolate - in a paper dust jacket but no copies in their original jackets have ever come to auction. Such a copy could fetch more than $100,000, depending on condition, experts say.

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