Monty Python fans eye signed classic at Christian Aid sale

THE Monty Python fan who gets their hands on it will surely feel like the Messiah.

A signed screenplay of the comedy collective’s classic Life of Brian is the prized item going on sale at the Capital’s biggest annual book fair.

The 39th Christian Aid sale opens on Saturday, certain to add to the £2 million raised since it was first held in 1974.

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Bibliophiles are set to flock from across the country to St Andrew’s and St George’s West Church in George Street, each with the hope of picking up a rare bargain amongst the 100,000 donated books.

The screenplay, which comes with a scrapbook and is signed by Michael Palin and Terry Jones, is expected to bring in a four-figure sum, while a first edition of a classic knitting book from 1846 is also expected to attract big spenders.

The Knitter’s Friend by Jane Gaugain, a New Town haberdasher, is expected to fetch several hundred pounds.

Among the other star attractions is a rare five-inch square book by William Morris from 1894 entitled The Tale Of The Emperor Coustans And Of Over Sea, one of 525 copies produced by an author who is recognised as the most influential designers of the 19th century.

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Dr Reid Zulager, 47, who has a PhD in Scottish literature and history from Edinburgh University, travels from his Washington DC home every year to help with the sale.

He said: “Each year I’m left speechless by the standard and rarity of the books that are handed in. As a book lover myself, it’s a great place to be.

“The William Morris book is translated from an old French legend and is especially gorgeous for something so tiny and innocuous and there’s still a lot of interest in Monty Python so we expect the screenplay and scrapbook to go pretty quickly.”

In her role as patron of the 2012 sale, Julia Donaldson, Children’s Laureate and author of The Gruffalo, has donated more than 200 of her own books in 27 languages.

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Artworks are also on offer to bargain hunters, as well as old maps, pictures, vintage newspapers and magazines, letters and postcards dating back to both world wars, and some collectable 1960s and 70s film, theatre and exhibition posters.

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The sale runs 10am-4pm on Saturday and 10am-3.30pm from Monday to Friday, May 18, with late-night opening until 7pm on Thursday.

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