Filed under: Books
They did. According to Reuters, the book was purchased for "a few shillings" in the 60s or 70s and has been sitting on the shelf, undiscovered, until now. Tuesday marks the edition's 150 year anniversary, and it will be auctioned off at Christie's. It is estimated that the book is worth £40,000 - £60,000 ($66,000 - $100,000).
If you've got a first edition or a very old book on your shelf, if might be worth searching it on abebooks.com and alibris.com to see if it's commanding a high price. The price of your book will be affected by the rarity of the edition, condition, and things like typos or signatures. Empty Mirror Books offers more insight here.
**Update 9:20 PM, 11/24/2009**
Guess what it fetched at London's Christie's? Including the buyer's premium, it sold for £103,250 -- about $172,000 -- almost twice the maximum estimated price. The AP reports that the shelf it was sitting on was a "toilet bookshelf." If you've got Darwin in your collection, you might want to note that British authorities are reportedly "searching for a leather-bound notebook Charles Darwin used in developing his theory of natural selection."