November 11, 2011
SLIDE SHOW: Holiday Wish List: First Editions
by Melville House
Two years ago, Carolyn Kellogg at Jacket Copy wrote about a few pricey holiday gifts that bibliophiles will swoon over, such as a first edition of Ulysses published in 1922 by Shakespeare & Co., which costs a mere $200,000-$300,000. She also mentioned a first edition of Lewis Carroll‘s The Hunting of the Snark that is going for $20,000-$30,000. (If you don’t have tens of thousands of dollars to spare, we suggest you take a look at our illustrated hardcover version, which is, ahem, $12).
Inspired by her findings, we took a look at some selections from the Book Collectors’ Library online so that in the event that you find that bag of money on the street, you’ll know what book to buy yourself or your loved ones this December.
Yes, this is Truman Capote’s actual birth certificate, “Issued in the parish of New Orleans & registered the 3rd day of October, 1924 & showing the birth of Truman Streckfus Persons, September 30th, 1924.” The Book Collectors’ Library calls it “A unique document. A bit tattered but still quite bright & clean.”
A signed first edition of Le Deuxieme Sexe by Simone De Beauvoir:
Paris: Gallimard (1949). Two volumes in wrappers, which are limited to a mere 2,000 numbered copies (of a total edition of 2,150).
A signed first edition of Ficciones by Jorge Luis Borges:
Buenos Aires: Editorial Sur (1944). “Inscribed by Borges to his close friend, one of the important Argentine poets, Vicente Barbieri. 8vo., 203pp, frontispiece portrait by Marie Elisabeth Wrede.”
A signed copy of Relativity by Albert Einstein:
“In the rare original first edition dustwrapper – a very good or better example, neatly restored at the extremities. Custom gilt-lettered, deep blue cloth clamshell case.”
The Maltese Falcon by Dashiell Hammett. Alfred A. Knopf, 1930. 1st Edition.
How big is your love for crime fiction? Does it match the cost of a home in Omaha, Nebraska? If so, then this is the book for you.
A signed copy of Siddhartha by Henry Miller. The inscription reads: “For June — to read in moments of despair” and it’s dated 10/16/56. TCBL states, “It was Miller’s custom to send books to June [and] Siddhartha was Miller’s favorite.” Compared to this other books on this list, Siddhartha is a steal at under ten grand, no?
Nikolai Gogol by Vladimir Nabokov. If you have twenty grand to spare, maybe consider picking up this first edition, which TBCL states, “is embellished with one of his famous butterfly sketches to his dear friends of over 40 years, the Thompsons.”