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Bookworms Gather in London for Christie's Rare Books Auction

Aired July 11, 2000 - 2:54 p.m. ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.

KYRA PHILLIPS, CNN ANCHOR: Harry Potter is hot, no doubt about it. J.K. Rowling's fourth Harry Potter book, "The Goblet of Fire," has set a one-day sales record in Britain. But Harry can't touch the Medieval manuscripts that took in $10 million this morning in London. Christie's is selling off some of the world's treasured book collections this week.

Here's CNN's Richard Blystone.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

RICHARD BLYSTONE, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): More than 4,000 volumes drew the world's bookworms to London to get the feel of rare writings dating from the 1930s back to the 11th century, 300 years before the birth of printing. Piles and piles for the bibliophiles on the kind of quality paper you don't see in our throwaway society.

Early editions of Chaucer, Shakespeare, Jane Austen, Charles Dickens, and dozens of other literary lights from the private library of the late William Foyle. He was the founder of this Charing Cross Road bookstore, for years a legendary jumble where you might find anything, but not necessarily what you wanted.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Thirteen-thousand, 14,000, 15,000, 16,000...

BLYSTONE: But bidders at Christie's apparently knew what they wanted, and how badly they wanted it.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Forty-thousand, 42,000, 45,000, 48,000...

BLYSTONE: Whether it's greed, thirst for knowledge or the influence of "Harry Potter," reading matter seems to be in.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Two-hundred and thirty-thousand.

BLYSTONE: And maybe a bargain at that. Some of these books have lasted 500 years, and they'll still be around, pampered and treasured, when all today's books and videos and compact discs have crumbled into dust.

Richard Blystone, CNN, London.

(END VIDEOTAPE) TO ORDER A VIDEO OF THIS TRANSCRIPT, PLEASE CALL 800-CNN-NEWS OR USE OUR SECURE ONLINE ORDER FORM LOCATED AT www.fdch.com

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