Culture /

Sotheby’s Offers the Judge’s Copy of Lady Chatterley’s Lover

The most famous copy of a most infamous novel

This post may contain affiliate links. Learn more


Sotheby’s offers the Judge’s Copy of Lady Chatterley’s Lover, used in the famous obscenity court case. 

The artefact goes under the hammer as part of the sale, Property from the Country Home of Christopher Cone and Stanley J Seegar on 30, October.

D.H. Lawrence Lady Chatterley's Lover

The 1960 Chatterley trial is considered the most celebrated obscenity trial in British literary history. When D.H. Lawrence’s infamous novel, Lady Chatterley’s Lover, was held under the spotlight and caused a media sensation across the nation, two million books were sold. One particular copy, however, uniquely encapsulates the tumultuous, furtive time in history.

The judge’s copy, annotated for him by his wife, and housed for purposes of discretion in a damask bag with ribbon tie, is far from the only copy of the book to have been read with particular attention to the sex scenes, but as a document of the event, it is arguably the most important copy to have survived to this day.

This autumn in London, Sotheby’s is set to offer the very book that the judge carried into court, some twenty-five years after it was acquired at auction by Christopher Cone as a present for his partner, the late Stanley J. Seeger. At the time establishing the highest price ever recorded for a paperback sold at auction, the annotated novel, together with its silk covering and hand-written list inserted within, now comes to auction with an estimate £10,000-15,000, and will be presented as part of a sale of property from their country home on 30 October.

A Private View: Property from the Country Home of Christopher Cone and Stanley J. Seeger is encyclopaedic in content, with objects ranging in date from the 5th century A.D. to the second half of the 20th century. Creators as diverse as Fabergé and Picasso are set to jostle with items which carry exceptional provenances, from Edward, Prince of Wales and Lord Byron to Marilyn Monroe. Defined by its modesty, not only through the large number of small-scale objects, but also by the unassuming way in which it was assembled, the collection is marked by Seeger and Cone’s inquisitive spirit. With estimates starting at £100 and climbing to £40,000, the sale is expected to bring in the region of £1 million.

How to Start Your Own Art Collection