London: Copies of the first four editions of Wisden, considered the Bible of cricket, will go under the hammer here next week.
The copies will be sold at Bonhams Book Sale on June 29 on behalf of Oxfam.
Wisden was first published in 1864 by cricketer John Wisden and a copy of this very first edition (3,000-5,000 pounds) plus those from 1865 (2,000-3,000 pounds), 1866 (1,500-2,500 pounds) and 1867 (1,500-2,500 pounds) feature in the sale.
All the editions carry the title `The Cricketer`s Almanack`. This was altered in 1869 to `Wisden Cricketers` Almanack` and that is how it has remained to this day.
Wisden has been published without interruption since that first edition in 1864, even during the two World Wars, making it the world`s longest running sports reference book as well as the most famous.
In contrast to today`s editions, which have around 1,500 pages, the first edition was only 112 pages long and also contained non-cricketing information such as the winners of the Oaks and the dates of the battles of the English Civil War.
"It`s a thrill to be able to offer such wonderful, historic books especially in such a good cause," said Bonhams book specialist at Oxford, David Walker in a statement.