A RARE first edition of Alice's Adventures in Wonderland printed in Oxford could become the world's most expensive children's book – if it fetches its guide price of £2m.

The book is one of 50 initially printed in 1865 at Oxford University Press (OUP) and bound in red cloth gilt at the expense of author Lewis Carroll.

The mathematician, whose real name was Charles Dodgson, gave them away as presents to friends and family but tried to recall them after his illustrator objected strongly to what he said was poor workmanship.

The book was later reprinted with a different publisher.

Only 22 of the original run are known to have survived and six are in the hands of private collectors. One of the other 16 is at the Weston Library in Oxford, part of the Bodleian Library. 

The copy set to be sold at auctioneers Christie's in New York, on June 16, was given by Dodgson to George William Kitchin, a colleague at Christ Church and secretary of the school book committee at OUP.

Francis Wahlgren, Christie’s international director of science and books, said: "This book is extremely rare and really epitomises why I do my job."

Despite being 150 years old, the book is in good condition and still has its original binding, binder’s ticket and title page.