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A 1920 first of Sinclair Lewis’ ‘Main Street’ that sold for a record $5000 (£3875) at Swann.

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The jacket is in fact a second issue example, but the first issue jacket – without reference to the early reviews of the book – is virtually unknown, stated Swann (25/20/12% buyer’s premium), who in a May 16 sale sold it for a record $5000 (£3875).

Lewis’ satirical portrayal of small-town USA and those who live there is generally considered his best work, but many of those small-town folk resented his views. In Alexandria, Minnesota, the local public library even banned the book from its shelves.

Main Street was initially awarded the 1921 Pulitzer Prize, but the Board of Trustees overturned the jury’s decision and gave the award instead to Edith Wharton for The Age of Innocence.

Five years later, in 1926, Lewis refused the Pulitzer when he was awarded it for Arrowsmith, but in 1930 became the first American writer awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature. That prize is made to an author, not a particular work, but Main Street was certainly Lewis’ best-known work and enormously popular at the time.