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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.


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.

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Pick of the Week: First edition of Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice

10 April 2017

First editions of Jane Austen’s most popular book, Pride and Prejudice of 1813, in contemporary bindings don’t come along often. But one such prize – a copy with a rather distant but nonetheless attractive family link – appeared at Mellors & Kirk (20% buyer’s premium) in Nottingham on March 22-23.

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And then there were two Brothers Karamazov

01 April 2017

“Very rare, most extant copies behind institutional walls,” said Swann (25/20/12% buyer’s premium) of a first English language version of Dostoevsky’s The Brothers Karamazov.

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Bonhams’ double 0 heaven

25 March 2017

A crease that runs around the lower part of the dust jacket detracts somewhat from the appeal of a first impression copy of the first of Ian Fleming’s Bond books, Casino Royale of 1953, but it sold for £16,000 in a March 1 sale held by Bonhams (25/20/12% buyer’s premium).

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Bidder goes wild about Wilde

25 March 2017

Elizabeth Barrett Browning lots fall flat... but annotated Dorian Gray leaves treble the estimate

Adrian Greenwood

Book dealer’s murder linked to attempt to steal £50,000 first edition Wind in the Willows

04 October 2016

The murder of book dealer Adrian Greenwood was part of an attempt to steal a £50,000 first edition of the Wind in the Willows, a court has heard.

Don Quixote first english edition at Keys auction

The Man of La Mancha in Norfolk – first English edition of Don Quixote makes £25,000

09 August 2016

One of a great many books removed from a couple of terraced houses in Norwich for sale by Keys of Aylsham was an 1612 first English edition of the first part only of Don Quixote.

Reliquiae sacrae Carolinae

A prince among potboilers: 366-year-old book found in a box of 20th century paperbacks

08 August 2016

A 366-year-old book on the virtues of Charles I is to go under the hammer at Hansons Auctioneers after it was discovered in a box among 20th-century paperbacks.

Carroll's first Alice... comes to auction

First edition recalled issue of Alice set to take top spot at Christie's

06 June 2016

With an estimate of $2-3m, a first printing of Alice's Adventures in Wonderland (1865) being offered by Christie's New York on June 16 is eagerly anticipated.

Oliver Twist at Cuttlestones

Books with a twist – Charles Dickens first editions emerge in Wolverhampton

29 April 2016

Interesting oddities that were ironed out in subsequent editions bump up demand when it comes to book collecting. A good example of this is coming up at Wolverhampton auction house Cuttlestones on May 6.

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First issue of the Beano sets auction record

23 September 2015

Fans of Lord Snooty and his Pals, Big Eggo, Morgyn the Mighty and dear Contrary Mary were drawn to the Comic Book Auctions sale of September 13 by the appearance of a good copy of the very first issue of the Beano.

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The birth of British newspapers comes to auction

28 October 2013

Little did “the Reverend Dr Walter Blandford Warden of Wadham Colledge” of Oxford University realise that one day his name would have such significance in the world of newspapers.

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Documents of Cornish history

21 March 2013

For those with Cornish ancestors or a general interest in the area’s history, David Lay’s sale of Part I of the Pendarve archive on March 26 in Penzance may well be of interest.

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Hirschhorn collection provides major sale of modern first editions

16 November 2012

Modern firsts from the library of Clive Hirschhorn produced plenty of strong and many record prices at Bloomsbury Auctions but a number of significant works did not sell. As such, this was an important sale for illustrating the vagaries of the market.

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First Editions galore at Bloomsbury

18 October 2012

This first edition, first issue of ‘The Great Gatsby’ from 1922 is one of the star lots in a sale described by Bloomsbury Auctions as “one of the most important collections of modern first editions to come onto the market in the last ten years”.