Ian Rankin makes generous donation of rare books to Edinburgh's Christian Aid book sale

Crime writer Ian Rankin has donated rare editions of three of his books to this year’s Christian Aid book sale at St Andrew’s and St George’s West Church in Edinburgh’s George Street.

By Ian Swanson
Thursday, 12th May 2022, 4:55 am

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The Capital-based author dropped into the church to hand over the books – a very limited edition of The Flood, his first novel, with an estimated value of £850, and limited editions of The Hanging Garden and Fleshmarket Close, each valued at £500.

He has given the sale valuable books before and organisers were thrilled with his latest generous donation, which is expected to attract a lot of attention from collectors and dealers.

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The sale, which will be opened on Saturday by former Archbishop of York and chair of Christian Aid, Dr John Sentamu, is one of the largest charity book sales in the world and has raised over £1 million in the past decade for Christian Aid’s international development work.

This year’s is the 50th sale and sees a return to normal service after two years’ disruption due to Covid – although masks are still encouraged.

Sale convener Mary Davidson said: "It’s amazing to think the sale started with just one table in 1973 and this year there will be hundreds. We know the book sale has been greatly missed and this year we have a vast assortment of books for sale, from popular paperbacks to collectable first editions – plus records, toys, stamps, postcards, antiques and other collectables. For 50 years we have raised money for Christian Aid, a charity which works to help those where the need is greatest, whether that be in Ukraine, Afghanistan, South Sudan or Ethiopia.

"Outstanding this year is the valuable gift from Ian Rankin of three special and cherished limited editions of his early books in beautiful bindings.”

This year's sale is the 50th and marks a return to full operation after two years' disruption due to Covid. Picture Toby Williams.

This year’s sale has also received the entire library of the late James Henderson, an Edinburgh solicitor and Writer to the Signet, who died last year. All his books have been gifted by his family to raise money for Christian Aid. Mr Henderson was a bibliophile with a love of all the arts, travel and literature. The collection includes books on a wide array of subjects, including travel, world cultures, history, natural history, biography, geography and photography, reflecting a lifetime of study and exploration. Many are first editions.

And the sale will include a notable collection of railway books, covering most parts of the British Isles, many of them illustrated with exceptionally fine photographs.

Sally Foster-Fulton, head of Christian Aid Scotland, said: “There is real excitement building ahead of the 50th sale. We are indebted to the volunteers who put so much time and energy into making this sale happen, not just on the day but in the weeks and months ahead of the sale.

“The money raised for Christian Aid will make a huge difference. Right now, conflict, climate change and Covid-19 are colliding to make access to food and water more challenging than ever, especially in places like Ukraine, Afghanistan, South Sudan and Zimbabwe. Christian Aid works through local partners to support those most in need: the road ahead is bumpy, but step by step we are changing lives.”

The sale begins at 10am on Saturday and then runs from Monday to Friday, 10am-3.30pm, with late opening on Thursday.

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