A copy of The Importance of Being Earnest given to a prison governor by author Oscar Wilde has sold for $88,000 (£55,000) at auction.

A signed edition of the 1895 play was sent to Major James Nelson, who was in charge of a jail in Reading, England while Wilde was imprisoned there for gross indecency from 1895 to 1897.

Wilde wrote in the cover, "To Major Nelson: from the author. A trivial recognition of a great and noble kindness. Feb, 99."

The item was sold at Bonham's auction house in London on Wednesday (18Jun14).