Records & Results: 19th & 20th Century Literature

Rare Bond Titles Lead Literature at Swann


Cover of Ian Fleming's "Goldfinger," with a skull and a rose on it, shown with inscription page.
Lot 127: Ian Fleming, Goldfinger, first edition, inscribed to Sir Henry Cotton, MBE, London, 1959. Sold for $25,000.


John Larson:

“The enduring appeal of inscribed first editions, particularly those with significant associations, was on full display and resulted in a number of high prices, including several records,” said Larson, specialist for our 19th & 20th Century Literature sale on Tuesday, May 14.


Bond, James Bond

Ian Fleming’s James Bond was the star of the sale with four first editions ranking among the top ten lots: Goldfinger, 1959, led the sale at $25,000, and featured an inscription to Sir Henry Cotton, MBE–three-time winner of The Open Championship–recommending a particular golf scene in the book.


Covers of James Bond novels: The Golden Gun, Thunderball, Goldfinger and Casino Royale by Ian Fleming.
A selection of Ian Fleming first editions offered in 19th & 20th Century Literature on May 14.


Fleming’s first Bond novel, Casino Royale, 1953, in the first state dust jacket earned $18,750; a presentation copy of Thunderball, 1961, inscribed to Charles Douglas Jackson, a friend of Fleming’s who was posthumously revealed to be a CIA agent, brought $16,250; and the rarest Bond title, The Man with the Golden Gun, 1965, with the gilt gun stamped on the front cover, earned $11,050.


Genre Titles


Cover of "At the Earth's Core," with a man slaying a dragon with a bow and arrow, by Edgar Rice Burroughs.
Lot 16: Edgar Rice Burroughs, At the Earth’s Core, first edition, presentation copy, signed & inscribed, Chicago, 1922. Sold for $3,750, a record for the title.


Auction records were set for several titles by Edgar Rice Burroughs with an inscribed first edition of Tarzan the Invincible, 1931, at $3,500, and a signed first edition, presentation copy of At the Earth’s Core, 1922, at $3,750.


Cover of Hugo Gernsback's "Ralph 124C 41+. A Romance of the Year 2660."
Lot 145: Hugo Gernsback, Ralph 124C 41+. A Romance of the Year 2660, first edition, Boston, 1925. Sold for $9,375.


Further genre works of note featured a first edition in the unrestored dust jacket of Hugo Gernsback’s foundational science-fiction classic Ralph 124C 41+. A Romance of the Year 2660, 1925, which earned $9,375.


Auction Debuts


Cover of Gaston Leroux's "The Phantom of the Opera," with a scene of the Phantom walking down the steps.
Lot 183: Gaston Leroux, The Phantom of the Opera, first American edition, first printing, in original dust jacket, New York, 1911. Sold for $12,500.


Firsts at auction included first American editions, in original dust jackets, of Gaston Leroux’s The Phantom of the Opera, 1911, at $12,500 and Kenneth Grahame’s The Wind in the Willows, 1908, at $3,500.


Security Analysis


Plain black cover of "Security Analysis" by Benjamin Graham, shown with inscription page.
Lot 95: Benjamin Graham & David L. Dodd, Security Analysis, first edition, second printing, inscribed by Graham to a Wall Street trader, New York, 1934. Sold for $20,000.


A scarce presentation copy of Security Analysis, 1934, inscribed to a Wall Street trader was won for $20,000. The first edition is likely the first known to bear the signature of its principal author, Benjamin Graham.



Nineteenth-century titles included the first American edition of Mark Twain’s Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, 1885 ($7,500); first editions, first issues of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes, 1892, and The Memoirs of Sherlock Holmes, 1894 ($3,250); and a signed author’s edition of Walt Whitman’s Leaves of Grass, 1876 ($4,500).


Cover of "The Dial" by Ralph Waldo Emerson.
Lot 105: Ralph Waldo Emerson, The Dial: A Monthly Magazine for Literature, Philosophy and Religion, frist edition of the reconstituted issue, Emerson’s copy with inscriptions, Cincinnati, 1860. Sold for $3,250, a record for the publication.


Ralph Waldo Emerson’s copy of the reconstituted issue of the Transcendentalist periodical The Dial: A Magazine for Literature, Philosophy, and Religion, 1860, with notations in Emerson’s hand, brought a record for the work at $3,250.  


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