First Editions

Posted on August 01, 2013 by Peter Hyatt | 0 Comments


Only a few years ago no-one blogged and now every second person on the planet is at it. Blogging reminds me of a bodily function. Or the service provided by a plumber to clear a blocked toilet. It's a modern version of an old-fashioned word such as ‘ablution’. Can you please ablute my blog? Language is changing frenetically to adapt to the changing technology that is changing our lives at breakneck speed.

I wondered what 'blogging' would have meant to the 20th century's great authors. Visiting a recent vintage book-fair I was reminded of how prose still has its place with  the high prices of first edition classics such as The Great Gatsby, Ulysses, A Farewell to Arms and Breakfast at Tiffany’s.

If you happen to have a first print-run of The Great Gatsby with purple dust-jacket intact you can expect a nice little payout. How does $200,000 sound? If Fitzgerald was alive he would have a second killer heart attack at the thought that the novel that sold so few copies in his lifetime, could be worth such a fortune. 

The Great Gatsby sold a mere 25,000 copies between its release in 1925 and the author’s death in 1940. Fitzgerald received a $3,939 advance and $1,981 upon publication. Dead at 44 from booze, a dysfunctional marriage and the curse of Hollywood.

Oh, and those first editions of James Joyce and Hemingway. A signed copy of Ulysses can be yours for a cool $220,000  while a Farewell to Arms - with a far bigger print run - is a relative steal at just $30,000. One of the most striking of all first editions - Breakfast at Tiffany's - is also one of the most affordable and a snip at just $6,000. The artwork for Truman Capote’s classic is exquisite. Its elegant, flesh pink cover is inset with six genuine diamonds and comes with black velvet slip carry bag. A stylish black silhouette inset sings of Audrey Hepburn and adds to its collectible lustre.


Now there’s literary style! And not a blog in sight.

Posted in Blogging, First editions, James Joyce, Scott Fitzgerald, The Great Gatsby, Ulysses


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