Books, Manuscripts and Maps

Modern First Editions

Fitzgerald (F. Scott) The Great Gatsby, first edition, 1925.
Sold for £62,000; $95,500; €71,900

This has been the biggest growth area of collecting and dealing in the last decade. Prices have rocketed for many of the classics of 20th Century literature, the highest prices of modern first editions often been determined by the condition, most significantly the presence and condition of the dust-jacket. We have been at the forefront of this remarkable market movement. Our three annual dedicated Literature sales (held around March, June & November) include an enormous range of Modern Literature. Indeed these sales have become, according to Book and Magazine Collector “important events in the bookselling calendar”.

Dreweatts and Bloomsbury Auctions are also very fortunate to handle precious collections, and in late 2012 sold The Collection of Clive Hirschhorn; the entire sale, consisting of very rare and quality first editions, all in their dust-jackets, sold for over £730,000. Higlights included Fitzgerald's The Great Gatsby (£62,000, illustrated above), Hammett's Red Harvest (£22,300) and Fleming's Casino Royal (£18,600).

We continue to achieve record prices with authors such as J.K.Rowling (Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone, £20,000), J.R.R.Tolkien (signed Lord of the Rings trilogy, £36,000), P.G.Wodehouse (By the Way Book, £22,000), George Orwell (Animal Farm, £4,200), Graham Greene (The Confidential Agent, £12,000), Evelyn Waugh (signed A Handful of Dust, £14,000), and C.S.Lewis (signed The Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe, £30,000). We have also seen a growing interest in more modern authors, particularly their early books or complete runs of their works: Ian McEwan (a complete run of his works, £700), Julian Barnes (signed Metroland, £320) and Steig Larsson (The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo, £300). The Modern First Editions market is constantly changing and we have seen many of our prices responding to external factors such as recent film adaptations (Michael Morpurgo's War Horse, £1,000) or increased recent interest in the author (Hilary Mantel's first book, Every Day is Mother's Day, £600).

We cover Detective Fiction from Agatha Christie to P.D.James and Ian Rankin; Children's/Adult works from Tolkien to Milne to Pullman; books that have been made into movies from James Bond to Captain Corelli. If it's Biggles you collect or Narnia books you wish to sell, contact the department and they will guide you through the process.