Thursday, July 6, 2017

J. D. Salinger: The "Holy Grail" of Modern Firsts

Is it excessive hype for a bookseller to describe a signed and inscribed first edition of J. D. Salinger's The Catcher in the Rye (1951) as "The 'Holy Grail' of modern firsts?" Probably not. What if the first edition is actually the fourteenth printing and was signed eight years later in 1959? That's probably still okay, as the listing assures us that "only a handful" of  copies signed or inscribed by this famously reclusive author are known to exist, a handful being a number I think of, using the finger analogy, as no more than five. What if the bookseller describes a "later-issue dust jacket" but doesn't show it in the listing, instead showing a custom-made red display box embossed with "Inscribed by Salinger 1951"—the year of publication, not inscription? That's just sloppy, right? And what if this book, marred by "slight chipping to spine ends" were offered for sale at auction with a starting bid of, say, $15,000? Is that excessive? Finally, what if this "Holy Grail" of modern first editions failed to find a buyer at auction? What then?—I ask you.

Inscribed "To Pearl Bsharah
with best
wishes from        

                        J. D. Salinger
The New Yorker
April 13, 1957"

J. D. Salinger's signature

J. D. Salinger
eBay Listing Ended April 11, 2017

Note:  It seems likely that one-hundred different book collectors would consider one-hundred different items to be worthy of "Holy Grail" designation. Readers are invited to submit contenders for the title.

Quick Links to the Attempted Bloggery Archives:

What is your name? What is your quest? What is your favourite colour?


No comments:

Post a Comment