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Rare volumes feature in Biggest ever Book Sale

Rare volumes feature in Biggest ever Book Sale

Rare volumes, precious New Zealand non-fiction and old 17th century books will be hotly sought after at Dunedin’s 23rd annual second hand book sale next month.

The 24-hour Regent Theatre book sale opens at noon on May 23 and around 350,000 books will be on offer in the Octagon.

Old New Zealand books, including the History of Muttonbird Islands by Eva Wilson and many other historical New Zealand books feature this year.

First editions of Janet Frame and Ian Fleming, old art books, and leather bound editions going back to 1636 will be hunted down by book lovers.

Organiser Doug Lovell said sports fans could set up their own NZ rugby and cricket libraries with so many of those books on offer.

About 300,000 books are expected to be sold at the sale which is as recognised as the biggest book sale in New Zealand. Last year the sale raised $83,000 for the venerable old theatre.

Mr Lovell said almost all the books sell for just 50 cents as they have for the last 23 years of the sale which will this year have raised over $1 million for the theatre.

``The Regent sale is arguably considered be the biggest sale of its kinds in the Southern Hemisphere. It has become a Dunedin institution,’’ he said.

``The people of Dunedin have taken the sale to their hearts. Books pour in to the Regent Theatre every working day of the year, all of them donated.

``The sale is almost inflation proof. For all its 23 years the majority of books (30 out of the 32 categories) have sold for just 50 cents. Some gems slip passed the volunteer sorters.

``We’re happy when “scarfies” leaves the sale clutching a current textbook worth over a hundred dollars, having just paid 50 cents for it.’’

Organisations from other cities have sent observers to the Regent book sale, including people from Auckland, Kapiti Coast, New Plymouth and Christchurch.

Proceeds from this year’s go to improving the 75 year old theatre ornate auditorium which is ranked one of the finest in New Zealand and holds a top NZ Historic Places Trust listed classification.

Last year, 153 volunteers were rostered on 15 cash tills over the course of the sale bringing the total to 300 Dunedin people who contribute their time and talents to the sale.

The historic Regent is one of New Zealand’s loveliest live theatre venues. Its ornate auditorium has been restored to its full glory by the Otago Theatre Trust.

The trust bought the 1800-seater theatre 30 years ago. The annual book sale attracts buyers from Auckland to the Bluff.

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