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First Edition

Book collectors seek out first editions as they represent the original form in which a book was originally published.

Signed and inscribed copies are even more desirable, and the ‘dedication copy’ – the copy which is inscribed to the person to whom the author dedicated the book – is more sought after still.


Famed Manhattan collection yields second tempting selection of first editions in New York

14 October 2019

Graham Greene was a star turn when a second portion of the famed ‘Mystery Fiction’ collections and stock of Otto Penzler, proprietor of Manhattan’s ‘Mysterious Bookshop’, came to auction in New York on September 5.

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Choice first edition of James Joyce’s ‘Ulysses’ carries high hopes at Hindman Auctions

16 September 2019

Hindman Auctions will be selling a Midwestern collector’s ensemble of rare books in an 85 lot auction in Chicago on November 5.

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Emmeline Pankhurst biography by her daughter sold at Forum Auctions

15 July 2019

For three years now Forum Auctions (25/20/12% buyer’s premium) has, in addition to its high-profile auctions, been holding fortnightly, online-only timed sales that in their diverse content, it feels, act as a useful bellwether for the book world at large.

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Shakespeare’s First Folio goes on display at London book fair

09 May 2019

A rare near-complete copy of Shakespeare’s First Folio is included in a loan display at Firsts: London’s Rare Book Fair.

Signed Oscar Wilde first edition of 'The Importance of Being Earnest' makes £19,700... but inscribed copies can make more

19 April 2019

Bid to £19,700 in a recent sale was one of 100 signed, large paper firsts of Oscar Wilde’s 'The Importance of Being Earnest' published by Leonard Smithers in 1899.

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Single-owner collection devoted to modern first editions includes 1937 copy of The Hobbit

15 April 2019

Devoted wholly to modern firsts, a recent online sale presented the first selection of a single-owner collection – the second portion of which will be sold later in the year.

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Ninety-two first edition Beatrix Potter books go up for auction at Ewbank’s

08 March 2019

Ninety-two first edition copies of Beatrix Potter’s 1907 ‘The Tale of the Faithful Dove’ go under the hammer in Surrey this month.

First edition of a worldly work on offer in Essex

29 October 2018

A handful of copies of Robert Morden’s 'Geography Rectified, or a Description of the World' have made a little more at auction than a 1680 copy offered in a Stacey’s (24% buyer’s premium) sale of September 10 – but all bar one of them were second or third editions of 1688 and 1693.

The Wealth of Nations

Auction of Staffordshire manor house contents unearths first edition copy of Adam Smith’s The Wealth of Nations

24 September 2018

A first edition copy of Adam Smith’s 'The Wealth of Nations' has been unearthed during final preparations for the sale of the contents of a Staffordshire manor house.

Prince Harry

Prince Harry buys first edition Winnie the Pooh christening gift from book dealer

10 July 2018

Prince Harry has bought a first edition Winnie the Pooh from antiquarian book dealer Peter Harrington for his nephew Louis.

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Postal worker delivers top sums

28 May 2018

Science fiction and fantasy were among the lifelong principal collecting interests of the late Stanley Simon, a postal worker from Queens. In a recent 19th and 20th century literature sale held in his home city of New York a number of his books brought record bids.

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First edition of Karl Marx’s ‘Das Kapital’ available to the masses – for £100,000

26 April 2018

What would Karl Marx (1818-83) have made of the fact that Das Kapital, his foundational text on capitalism, is on the market for a six-figure price?

Bell Jar

Sylvia Plath’s personal copy of ‘The Bell Jar’ comes to auction at Bonhams

29 January 2018

A sketch, family books and other personal effects of poet Sylvia Plath are to be offered at auction this spring.

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Pick of the Week: Orwell classic hammered down and out of saleroom at £46,000

02 January 2018

Complete with slightly frayed and browned but rarely seen jacket, a 1933 copy of George Orwell’s 'Down and Out in Paris and London' was bid to £46,000 by James Hall of Lucius Books in York at a Dominic Winter sale.

Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone first edition

First edition of Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone inscribed by JK Rowling sets £85,000 auction record

23 November 2017

Probably best kept out of the hands of children unless, like the member of Bonhams' staff seen here, they are wearing white gloves, inscribed firsts of ‘Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone’ are getting seriously expensive.

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First English edition of 'Around the World in Eighty Days' tops Catherine Southon sale

25 September 2017

One of Jules Verne’s most popular tales, 'Around the World in Eighty Days', led the book section of a September 6 sale held by Catherine Southon (18% buyer’s premium).

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The magic of a clean Harry Potter

25 September 2017

Harry Potter’s 20th birthday celebrations continue apace – with a new record for a standard copy of 'The Philosopher’s Stone'.

HG Wells’ ‘War of the Worlds’

First edition of HG Wells’ ‘The War of the Worlds’ doubles estimate at £11,000

28 July 2017

Martians land in Surrey and terrorise much of southern England in tripedal war-machines equipped with death-rays before finally succumbing to terrestrial bacteria. That, put very simply, is the story line of HG Wells’ 1898 novel, ‘The War of the Worlds’, an apocalyptic vision that retains an iconic place in the realms of science fiction.

Casino Royale first edition by Ian Fleming

James Bond’s big number comes up in Carlisle auction as ‘Casino Royale’ first edition takes £22,500

29 June 2017

The novel that introduced the world to James Bond, ‘Casino Royale’ of 1953, has long been a key target for collectors. Anyone who laid out 10/6d for a copy over 60 years ago and has kept good care of the book will have done themselves or their descendants proud.

Jock of the Bushveld by Sir Percy Fitzpatrick

The Likkle People’s copy of Jock of the Bushveld offered on online auction

30 May 2017

A signed copy of the South African classic, ‘Jock of the Bushveld’ by Sir Percy Fitzpatrick, with an inscription describing it as “the first copy” of the book is being offered in an online sale ending this week.