“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.
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.
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.
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.
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).
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.