A rare first edition of Hemingway's The Old Man and the Sea will be sold as part of the CBC Calgary Reads book sale. (CBC)

Volunteers uncovered a rare and valuable find while they were sorting through the tens of thousands of books donated to the CBC Calgary Reads book sale.  

They found a first edition hardcover copy of Ernest Hemingway's novel The Old Man and the Sea.  

Published in 1952, it was the last major work of fiction by the acclaimed author. It went on to win the Pulitzer Prize for fiction the next year and become a landmark of modern literature.  

Gerry Morgan, rare books advisor for the sale, helped appraise the donation.

"The dust jacket is in very good condition which is fairly uncommon for a book from 1952 or 1953. It is not price-clipped, the price is still on the book. I think it's $3.30. And the only marking inside is a light pencil previous owner signature," he said.

The classic book will be available for purchase via online auction when the CBC Calgary Reads book sale opens on Friday at noon.  

Morgan estimates it is worth between $1,000 and $1,200.