A church jumble sale revealed a first edition copy of the bible, it was discovered today.
Ella Clee, of Warmington-on-Sea, said that she found the book inside a box of other romantic stories by Steven King and James Herbert.
"It was a dusty old fing, 'and-written, with sand in the binder. Didn't fink much of it at first, but my lad Jimmy said that we should take it dahn the pawn see if we can get owt for it." She said.
The eagle-eyed pawnbroker, Bill "Balls" Haddem, spotted the book's value straight away. "I offered her a tenner, at first, thought it was one of them dodgy Russian Icons she keeps bringing in. But on closer inspection, I thought, well, she's on to something here, and told her to give the museum a bell, see if they've lost it. Stuff like that always turning up here, bloody tea-leafs. I didn't wanna touch it, case it were hot."
Ella takes up the story, "Well, I 'ad no credit on me mobile, see, so I gets the bus dahn the market, went to see old Blagger 'oo as this stall, see, an' 'e lent us a cock 'an 'en on the strength of it, all the same. Then, soon as me back is turned, ee's on the phone to this museum geezer 'oos over a bit sharpish, like. Well, I watched it all from the caff over the road, Hammy, does a loverly cup o' char, anyway, this museum guy 'as 'is wallet out quick as you like, an' out come the readies. Well, I shot over there, 'an grabbed it back. No-one's gonna see me for a mug, that's for sure. I told 'im, I said right, if you want it, it's gonna be thirty quid, no less. Well, this bloke were proper shocked, I could tell. But 'ee paid up all friendly, like."
Hugh Ponsonby-Smythe, of the British museum, said that the book was undergoing tests, but it looked genuine enough. "Some of the spelling is a little crude, but you would expect that from ancient scribes. My only worry is that the Book Of Genesis talks of a "Big Bang" rather than God and the seven days story, and that Jesus isn't mentioned at all. This could put some religions into a bit of a conflict."