A FIRST edition of Charles Darwin’s Origin Of Species which languished for years in an Oxford toilet will go under the hammer tomorrow.

Christie’s auction house said the book, left, which is estimated to go for up to £60,000, was bought by a family for a few shillings in a shop in the West Country 40 years ago.

A spokesman said the book had been kept on a bookcase in the guest lavatory at the family’s home in the Oxford area.

It was put up for auction after the son-in-law of the owners spotted a picture of the spine of the work at an exhibition on Darwin.

Margaret Ford, head of books and manuscripts at Christie’s, said the book would have been a bargain when it was bought by the present owner.

“It’s incredibly important,” she said, adding of the current owner: “He knew it (the book) was textually important.

“He maybe did not know how much of a bargain he was getting.”