London, June 25 : A rare presentation copy of 'Emma' by Jane Austen fetched 180,000 pounds at an auction, setting a new record for a printed book by the British author.
Auction house Bonhams had expected the three-volume edition to fetch up to 70,000 pounds, but fierce bidding drove the price up.
The seller, who was anonymous, as was the buyer, said: "The novel had been sitting in my family library for at least three generations, and it remains a mystery as to how it first got there."
The book, one of 12 presentation copies, was given by Austen to her friend Anne Sharp, who had been governess to the children of Austen's brother's children, reports Times Online.
The flyleaf was signed: "Anne Sharp, from the author."
"Emma," published shortly before Austen's death in 1817, explores the life and morals of a young woman, Emma Woodhouse, who appears to like nothing better than to act as local matchmaker, directing the love lives of friends and acquaintances.