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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.


Blyton’s Famous Five give the Shire folk a run for their money

29 January 2001

UK: THE FIRST Tolkiens of 2001 combined to add £11,000 to the takings at this Bath sale.

Incomparable Catcher... ?

29 January 2001

US: DESCRIBED as “probably as good or better than any copy at auction in the last five years”, a 1951 first of J.D. Salinger’s The Catcher in the Rye, the cloth binding extremely clean and the dust jacket in “nearly superb” condition, made $7500 (£5170) in the December 18 sale held by the Baltimore Book Company.

Albertus Seba’s Locupletissimi rerum naturalium thesauri...

22 January 2001

US: A SCIENTIFIC library formed by New York businessman Joseph A. Frielich was sold by Sotheby’s New York for $10.7m (£7.2m) on January 10-11, 2001, and among many lots that made much higher than predicted sums was a magnificent copy of Albertus Seba’s Locupletissimi rerum naturalium thesauri...

The phenomenal success of Harry Potter

29 May 2000

UK: THE PHENOMENAL success enjoyed in the English speaking world by J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter... books has been expensively reflected in the antiquarian, or rather secondhand book world, where (even in the high priced modern firsts market) the prices being asked for Harry the First are almost unbelievable.

Byron auction catalogue raises the bidding high

05 April 1999

UK: ONE OF THE principal successes in the printed portion of this sale was a copy of the 1827 Evans auction catalogue of the Library of the Late Lord Byron....

Ovid, Euclid and the Kôs

05 April 1999

Sales in Switzerland A SCARCE first edition, in a ‘curious’ binding, of the Marquis de Sade’s Justine which proved a surprise star turn of a Galerie Koller auction held in Zurich on February 8, selling for a premium inclusive SFr51,168 (£22,745), was illustrated and described in an earlier issue of the Antiques Trade Gazette, but illustrated and described here are a few more of the highlights.

Newton the third (and second)

30 March 1999

UK: DESPITE the irritation of losing contact with a US telephone bidder on the way, the auctioneers managed to secure a bid of £3500 from Arden on the principal colour plate lot in the sale – a six volume, second series set of J-J.Linden’s Iconographie des Orchidées of 1895-1900, presenting 273 chromolitho plates.

Reprints are a Way to Wealth

30 March 1999

UK: TOP LOT in this sale was a 1668 edition of Gervase Markham’s A Way to get Wealth, a ‘nonce’ collection, first issued in 1623, which incorporates half a dozen works by this important but prolific and commercially inventive writer on agriculture, who was not averse to putting different titles to what were essentially the same works or to re-issuing unsold copies of new books under new titles.

Redouté means money in the language of flowers

30 March 1999

US: A ‘FINE & RARE’ sale held by Pacific Book Auctions on February 25 saw strong bidding for botanical plate collections, with a very rare first edition of Description des plantes nouvelles et peu connues, cultivés dans le jardin de J.M.Cels selling at $22,500 (£13,390).