When a Dutch couple bought a secondhand copy of Grimm's Fairy Tales from a bookstore in Amsterdam shortly after World War II, they never imagined that they'd accidentally stumbled across something this valuable: a book signed by Anne Frank. It wasn't until the '70s, a good few decades after they initially bought the book, that they noticed its inscription — but it must have been incredibly moving when they recognized Frank's signature on the book's fly leaf. The book is now up for auction in New York in May.
Before the Dutch couple found it, the book had been left behind by the teenage Anne and her family in the Amsterdam apartment in which they hid for two years, the events of which are heartbreakingly chronicled in The Diary of Anne Frank . When the couple realized the significance of the book, they wrote to Anne's father Otto Frank, offering to send it back; instead, Otto urged them to keep it. According to Swann Auction Galleries, he wrote the couple "a poignant letter...[expressing] how deeply the discovery of the book affected him, as well as his wish that the family keep the book for their own daughter."
Very little is known about the couple and any children they have, but I'm sure the book has been a treasured possession in the family over the last 40 years since they received that letter. This fascinating slice of history is now estimated to fetch $20,000 to $30,000 at auction.