AN AUCTION of rare books in aid of Oxford-based charity Oxfam has raised £20,000.

The auction, which took place at Bonhams in Shipton on Cherwell today, included several volumes dusted off by Oxford residents and handed in to city charity shops.

A total of 120 volumes were up for grabs, with most snapped up within 50 minutes.

Alexander Woollcombe, from Oxfam, said the auction hadn’t quite raised the £40,000 the charity had predicted, but hailed it as a success. He said: “The thing about auctions is you never know how much you get until you do them. We were hoping that maybe one of the books would capture the imagination of bidders, like a Sherlock Holmes book we had last year which raised £15,000 on its own. But that didn’t happen.

“These are hard times in the book industry as for many things.

“But, during the current climate, it was pretty good.”

A copy of Virginia Woolf’s 1919 book The Mark on the Wall, which was handed into the Oxfam bookshop in St Giles, Oxford, raised £300, while a first edition of Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, also donated to the store, raised £340.

A 16th centruy astronomy book called Astronomica Veterum Scripta Isagogica Graeca and Latina, donated to the Headington shop, was sold for £200.

Mr Woollcombe added: “We really need people to keep on giving because, without the support of the public, we can’t do any of the work we are doing.”

The money raised could pay for 1,000 family hygiene kits, 500 emergency shelters, or 800 goats for people in the developing world.