FOR Peter Saxel his dedication to Blackwell’s is no mystery - he enjoys going to work to sell customers the books they love.

The bookseller started at 48-51 Broad Street in Oxford in 1969 and has never left, clocking up an astonishing five decades at the historic bookstore.

Oxford Mail:

During his time among the bookshelves he has met and served many famous faces, including authors Agatha Christie and Sir William Golding, and former Soviet Union leader Mikhail Gorbachev.

READ AGAIN: Thunder and lightning forecast in Oxfordshire

Mr Saxel has on numerous occasions been recognised as The Face of Blackwell’s, perhaps most memorably - and quite literally - when his photo appeared on an early incarnation of the Blackwell’s Reward Card.

Tom Velickovic who works closely with Mr Saxel, said: “Peter is a true legend in the bookselling community with an unparalleled knowledge in the field of Classics.

"Peter’s expertise has been warmly appreciated by generations of students, academics and customers alike, whilst it has been a privilege for myself and my colleagues to work with such a wonderful man.

“Peter is the true jewel in the crown of our bookselling family.”

Oxford Mail:

Blackwell’s staff have been toasting Mr Saxel’s longevity and his distinctive record.

His 50 years’ of service is a bookselling milestone not reached by any other Bookseller at Blackwell’s other than Sir Basil Blackwell, son of Benjamin Blackwell, the founder of Blackwell’s bookshop.

READ AGAIN: 'Carnage': Three-hour queue to get out of Truck Festival

Mr Saxel joined the bookselling team at Broad Street on July 21, 1969, working in the Classics Department with his then manager Paul Quinton.

As the world collectively turned its gaze to the moon landing, Mr Saxel focused on embarking on what would not only become his career but his life-long passion.

READ AGAIN: Bin lorry' crashes into barrier' on A40

Zool Verjee, deputy manager, said over the years Mr Saxel’s commitment has delivered arguably the best Classics department in any bookshop in the English-speaking world.

He added: “His knowledge has been recognised by bibliophiles, students and academics alike across the globe with praise from eminent Classicists such as Bettany Hughes, Edith Hall and Mary Beard to name but a few.

Oxford Mail:

READ MORE: Bettany Hughes says history really matters as she is made an OBE

“The expertise Peter brings to delivering an exceptional customer experience is incomparable, as is his loyalty and dedication to the wider business and to the book trade.

"Today we collectively applaud the wealth of his achievements over the past fifty years and are truly honoured to share in celebrating his half-centenary of bookselling.

“Sincere and heartfelt congratulations on your anniversary Peter, from all in the Blackwell’s family, both past and present.”

Mr Saxel can often be found working on the second floor where the Classics and ancient history department is located, together with second-hand books.

READ AGAIN: New statue could show Agatha Christie reading on a bench

Agatha Christie, one of the world’s bestselling authors, was a local author.

She lived in Winterbook House, near Wallingford, from 1934 until her death in 1976.

Lord of the Flies author Sir William Golding died in 1993.

Brasenose College has a William Golding Fellowship in the Arts.