Enjoy unlimited access: just £1 for 12 weeks

Subscribe now

In a November 13 sale held by Swann (25/20/12% buyer’s premium) of New York it sold for $5000 (£3845), and had it been a first-issue copy, not a second, would surely have broken the record of $6500 for the book set 25 years ago at PBA Galleries in San Francisco for a first issue without a jacket.

Bid to $22,000 (£16,925) in the recent New York sale was a presentation copy of Lady Windermere’s Fan. The spine of the binding was discoloured but this unopened example of the edition of 500 copies printed in 1893 was one inscribed by Oscar Wilde for Elizabeth Marbury, the agent who handled his plays in the US.

Very much a record-breaker at $7500 (£5770) was the very fine, unrestored copy of Erich Maria Remarque’s All Quiet on the Western Front in an unclipped jacket pictured above.

A first US issue of 1929, it is signed and warmly inscribed by the author to Rosabel Laemmle Bergerman, the daughter of Carl Laemmle, the German emigré who founded Universal Studios and made the first film version of the book in the following year.

There was quite a lot of of sci-fi in the Swann sale and another record was set at $6000 (£4615) for a 1954 first in dust jacket of Isaac Asimov’s The Caves of Steel. A presentation copy of the writer’s second novel, it was signed and inscribed for Stanley Simon, a collector whose library the auctioneers had sold earlier this year (see ATG No 2344).

Also ex-Simon were two Philip K Dick lots. A 19pp typescript for an early short story, ‘Martians Come in Clouds’, first published in a 1954 issue of the magazine Fantastic Universe, realised $7500 (£5770). An inscribed, first hardcover edition of Galactic Pot-Healer of 1970 made a record $3800 (£2925).