The government has temporarily blocked the export of a book used by the judge in one of Britain’s most famous trials.
DH Lawrence’s controversial novel, Lady Chatterley’s Lover, was at the centre of an obscenity trial in 1960.
The paperback copy includes sexually explicit passages marked up by judge Sir Laurence Byrne’s wife Lady Dorothy.
The new owner of the book, which sold for £56,250 last year, plans to take it abroad but UK buyers now have until October to match that sum.
Those who want to export items of cultural significance from the UK must apply for a licence.
The government’s new temporary block means potential purchasers, including collectors and museums, have until 9 August to declare their intention to buy it and then up to three months longer to find the funds.
Arts minister Michael Ellis said he hoped a buyer could be found in order to “keep this important part of our nation’s history in the UK”.
Lady Chatterly’s Lover was the last novel English author Lawrence wrote before his death in 1930.
It focuses on a passionate affair between an aristocratic woman and a gamekeeper.
It was first published in Italy in 1928 and in France the following year but was not published in the UK until 1960 for fear of prosecution over its explicit content.
When it finally was the publishing house, Penguin Books, was put on trial for obscenity.
Before the trial, Lady Dorothy compiled a list of significant passages on the headed stationery of the Central Criminal Court, noting the page number and adding her own comments, such as “love making”, “coarse” and so on.
The trial caused a sensation when the publisher was found not guilty.
The case, which was seen as a test for the 1959 Obscene Publications Act, came to encapsulate the clash between the old establishment and the new wave of liberalisation in the 1960s.