But now a rare a first edition copy of the book is set to fetch between £15,000 and £20,000 at an auction.
Auctioneer Sotheby’s says the book, first published in three volumes in 1847 under Bronte’s pseudonym ‘Currer Bell’, is “an unusually clean first edition copy”.
The auction takes place on July 15.
Ann Dinsdale, collections manager at the Bronte Parsonage Museum in Haworth, said: “Charlotte was offered £100 for the copyright. With further editions and foreign rights her actual payments were in the region of £500.
“There is a well-known account by the head of the firm, George Smith,describing how he started reading the manuscript of Jane Eyre and was so gripped by it that he cancelled all engagements for the day so that he could finish reading it. “
Last year a poem by Charlotte Brontë, I’ve been Wandering in the Greenwoods, sold for £92,450 more than double the £45,000 it had been expected to fetch .
It meant that each word of the 16-line poem was worth more than £1,000.