LONDON (AP) — A paperback copy of "Lady Chatterley's Lover" used by the judge in the U.K. obscenity trial of the novel's publisher is expected to sell at auction for up to 15,000 pounds ($20,000), auctioneer Sotheby's said Wednesday.
Penguin Books was prosecuted in 1960 for publishing D.H. Lawrence's book about an affair between a wealthy woman and her husband's gamekeeper, a landmark in the frank literary depiction of sexuality.
A prosecution lawyer infamously asked in court whether it was "a book that you would ... wish your wife or your servants to read?"
It took jurors just three hours of deliberation to find Penguin not guilty, and the case came to be seen as a landmark victory for freedom of speech and a sign of changing social mores.
The copy being sold by Sotheby's in London on Oct. 30 comes with a damask bag hand-stitched by Dorothy Byrne, the wife of judge Lawrence Byrne, so that press photographers could not snap the judge with the scandalous tome.
It also includes a sheet of paper with Dorothy Byrne's handwritten notes detailing the book's explicit passages, with descriptions — "love making," ''coarse" — and page numbers.