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Old 02-10-2015, 03:14 AM   #1
Desiremakesmeweak
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Do you own (any) first edition hardbacks?

I am keen to know if people here own a first edition hardback of anything - and if so, what sort, detective, noir, sci-fi, other...
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Old 02-10-2015, 03:35 AM   #2
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Yes. Mainly poetry.
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Old 02-10-2015, 03:38 AM   #3
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Yes, a fair few: enough to fill the glass-fronted bookcase in the dining room. Few especially valuable, though. Lots of poetry, and novels with big print runs and therefore not rare.
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Old 02-10-2015, 03:39 AM   #4
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Various best-seller novels prior to 1960 from my parents--and a collection of English-language editions of Chinese-author novels from the beginning of the nineteenth-century to about 1950 that I've collected myself.

And I've gotten first editions of all of the mainstream publisher books I've edited (160 +) of them, but most of those are on foreign policy, and thus won't age well.
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Old 02-10-2015, 03:45 AM   #5
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So I should leaf through the tens of thousands of volumes remaining in my physical library to see which are hard firsts? I own more than a few. The most prominent that come to mind are a 1927 copy of REVOLT IN THE DESERT by TE Lawrence, an abridgement of what was later published as SEVEN PILLARS OF WISDOM, and a 1727 copy of A SYSTEM OF MAGICK by Daniel Defoe. Of newer stuff, I have a few Stephen King firsts. And many more.
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Old 02-10-2015, 03:45 AM   #6
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I owned a few John Steinbeck 1st editions and gave them away as gifts.
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Old 02-10-2015, 06:21 AM   #7
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Too many.

I was a secondhand book dealer.

Remember that 1st editions aren't always valuable. Many books never get beyond a 1st print run. Once an author becomes popular, later books are printed in larger quantities for the 1st edition and become less valuable. That can misfire:

Somerset Maugham's first book was a success but the first print run was small, so a first edition of that is valuable. His second book was printed in large numbers but was totally different and didn't sell. Even now a first edition of his second book is almost worthless. His third book had a small print run, but was popular again, so his third book in a first edition is almost as valuable as his first book.

Ian Fleming's first few books are valuable as first editions, but the later books were printed in such large quantities that they are not valuable as firsts.

The value also depends on the author's current popularity. Rudyard Kipling is awkward. Sometimes he is popular and sought after, sometimes he isn't. I have several first editions by him, some published in India before he came to England. The most I have ever paid for a 1st Rudyard Kipling is £8. The most any of my Kipling firsts have ever been valued at was £35, but that soon dropped.

Charles Dickens first editions are difficult. His 'true' firsts were published in weekly parts. Early part works are very valuable. But the first editions in hardback are not particularly valuable because he was printed in such large quantities, and the real firsts were the paper-covered weekly parts.

Even his hardback books can be awkward. His Christmas books, published yearly, can have several states of the first and can only be separated by minor details such as the slightly changed address of his publisher Chapman and Hall, or a small misprint on a single page.

His last true first was published in the 1930s for sale to a newspaper's readers. It was printed in hundreds of thousands and in ordinary and de luxe bindings. It is a first edition of Charles Dickens, the first ever printing of that book, but anyone can own it for less than ten pounds...
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Old 02-10-2015, 09:36 AM   #8
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I have a few including the eighteenth century "History of England" by David Hume. Although it is in good condition I suspect it has limited value, because there were a lot of copies.

The history was very popular and Tobias Smollett wrote a continuation from 1688( where Hume finished) to 1760. John Burke wrote a further continuation from 1760 to 1830. Oddly enough the continuations if in top condition can have some value because they include the periods leading up to American Independence, and thus appeal to American buyers.
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Old 02-10-2015, 10:47 AM   #9
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Most of the Harry Potter books. The latter third of the Wheel of Time series by Robert Jordan/Brandon Sanderson. I've bought one or two Stephen King books in hardback.

I usually purchase them when it's a series and I'm dying for the next installment, as opposed to actually seeking out the first edition having already read the book or for collecting's sake. Might not be a bad pursuit if and when I ever have money!
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Old 02-10-2015, 11:10 AM   #10
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Dozens, but they are all rather recent, and all part of massive printings by popular authors. In other words, none that are valuable.
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Old 02-10-2015, 11:16 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Over_Red View Post
Most of the Harry Potter books. The latter third of the Wheel of Time series by Robert Jordan/Brandon Sanderson. I've bought one or two Stephen King books in hardback.

I usually purchase them when it's a series and I'm dying for the next installment, as opposed to actually seeking out the first edition having already read the book or for collecting's sake. Might not be a bad pursuit if and when I ever have money!
I wouldn't recommend first editions as an investment. Very few sell for more than their original price - allowing for inflation.

If you own a modern first edition, what you MUST NOT DO is read it. Its value drops once it is no longer pristine. The paper dustwrapper is two-thirds of the value of the book. If you tear it or worse still, lose it, the first edition is no longer saleable.
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Old 02-10-2015, 11:28 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by oggbashan View Post
I wouldn't recommend first editions as an investment. Very few sell for more than their original price - allowing for inflation.

If you own a modern first edition, what you MUST NOT DO is read it. Its value drops once it is no longer pristine. The paper dustwrapper is two-thirds of the value of the book. If you tear it or worse still, lose it, the first edition is no longer saleable.
Oh, no, I didn't mean for resale, just to collect them for my own bookshelf. I'll probably read all of them, dustwrappers be damned.
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Old 02-10-2015, 12:13 PM   #13
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"The Silmarillian" and "The Children of Hurin." I doubt they have much monetary value.
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Old 02-10-2015, 01:43 PM   #14
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Yes, lots of them. Mostly, research about anti-bellum America and Civil War Generals on both sides for my historical erotic trilogy I am working on. I am not interested in re-reselling them, so I mark certain passages in pencil and dog-ear corners for easy location. Some of these books are over 80 years old and have the old book smell that makes me think of libraries and used bookstores.
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Old 02-10-2015, 01:43 PM   #15
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Interesting that many people thought about the value side - it wasn't what I was asking on account of. However I'm sure I might have assumed the same thing myself had I been asked, instead of being the one doing the asking in this case.
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Old 02-10-2015, 01:48 PM   #16
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I have a few first edition Hammetts and Chandlers, both novels and compilation works of their magazine stories.
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Old 02-10-2015, 01:53 PM   #17
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I guess though that the mere phrase 'original first edition' automatically implies one is thinking of the item as a collectible.
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Old 02-10-2015, 01:55 PM   #18
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...I'm just engaged in some market research for an advertising company. It's nothing very special.
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Old 02-10-2015, 01:57 PM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AllardChardon View Post
Yes, lots of them. ... Some of these books are over 80 years old and have the old book smell that makes me think of libraries and used bookstores.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Over_Red View Post
Oh, no, I didn't mean for resale, just to collect them for my own bookshelf. I'll probably read all of them, dustwrappers be damned.
There's something about possessing beautiful objects that brings back the memory of where you first saw them and with whom that is nearly irresistible. The smell, the feel and look of the pages, the tactile near-orgasmic sensation of running your fingers along pages that have are "ripped" rather than cut (there is a name for it, I can't think of it now). My fever's coming back...
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Old 02-10-2015, 04:44 PM   #20
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I've many But favorite is a signed first edition of stranger in a strange land (I'm told it's worth something, my kids can find out when I'm gone if it is).

I'm old fashioned in that I prefer to read real books, authors start out at paperback (before and ebook now) and the I move to hardback if I love them.
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Old 02-10-2015, 05:36 PM   #21
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Quote:
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I've many But favorite is a signed first edition of stranger in a strange land (I'm told it's worth something, my kids can find out when I'm gone if it is).

I'm old fashioned in that I prefer to read real books, authors start out at paperback (before and ebook now) and the I move to hardback if I love them.
The value depends on edition, condition and desirability.

UK first editions of American books are not usually worth much.

Signatures depend on rarity. Prime Minister Edward Heath would sign copies of his book on Sailing so frequently that an unsigned copy is probably rarer.

When I was working in someone else's book shop we had a number of books signed by Agatha Christie to another author, thanking that author for help with plot details - that sort of inscription is unique.

One we were shown but couldn't buy was a First edition of Ian Fleming's James Bond novel 'Thunderball' with a signed inscription to the golf professional at the Royal St George's Golf Club - thanking the professional for advice on golf details in the book. Unfortunately it had lost its dustwrapper - not a total disaster because a good one could have been found from another first edition - BUT it had been passed around in the 19th Hole for years and was beerstained on the covers and some of the pages.

IF it had been kept carefully, that copy of 'Thunderball' would be worth thousands of pounds. As it is, stained and battered, it is still worth hundreds.
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Old 02-10-2015, 06:07 PM   #22
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I possess (or they possess me) many many vintage hard firsts, some with dust jackets, most worth very little because they (deservedly) never went to a second printing. I like the feel if not the contents although block-print illos raise their appeal. I consider almost NONE of them as 'investments'. Like my other collections, they're just stuff I like.
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Old 02-10-2015, 06:46 PM   #23
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The value depends on edition, condition and desirability.

UK first editions of American books are not usually worth much.

Signatures depend on rarity. Prime Minister Edward Heath would sign copies of his book on Sailing so frequently that an unsigned copy is probably rarer.

When I was working in someone else's book shop we had a number of books signed by Agatha Christie to another author, thanking that author for help with plot details - that sort of inscription is unique.

One we were shown but couldn't buy was a First edition of Ian Fleming's James Bond novel 'Thunderball' with a signed inscription to the golf professional at the Royal St George's Golf Club - thanking the professional for advice on golf details in the book. Unfortunately it had lost its dustwrapper - not a total disaster because a good one could have been found from another first edition - BUT it had been passed around in the 19th Hole for years and was beerstained on the covers and some of the pages.

IF it had been kept carefully, that copy of 'Thunderball' would be worth thousands of pounds. As it is, stained and battered, it is still worth hundreds.

It's an America first edition, book itself is in very good condition given its age (corners a little worn, bent a little). Dust cover is not so lucky, has a inch long tear at the spine fold and the color is faded.

Doesn't matter though, I will never sell it.
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Old 02-10-2015, 08:05 PM   #24
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I'm a fan of science fiction and fantasy, and used to have a ton of first edition hardbacks from authors I enjoyed. I donated them to a local library a couple of years ago and now own get electronic version of new books if they're available. I like the lack of clutter/dusting.
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Old 02-10-2015, 10:10 PM   #25
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Couple of recent works from authors I like enough not to wait for the paperback. Gaiman/Amano's "Dream Hunters". My bachelor's and PhD theses (unlikely ever to see a second edition). Probably some others I've forgotten.
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