Undervalued, 20th Century First Edition Books

Stephen Kings First Best Seller

If you are interested in an inexpensive investment you can actually enjoy in more ways than one? One that can only cost you few bucks in some cases?  The look into 20th Century “First Edition Books”.
Most people look at collectible First Editions to be the preserve of experts with deep pockets. Nothing could be further from the truth, collecting First Edition books doesn’t have to be an expensive hobby, and even books by the most famous authors can be very affordable.  I’ve personally added my “Firsts”  to my own collection I’ve picked up from Goodwill type shops for under $2.00 that look like they never been opened, let alone read.

Generally the same laws of acquisition and value apply to books as to most other collectibles, but with books like modern first editions condition is of prime importance. The book, as well as the jacket, should have as few defects as possible, such as tears, bumped corners or stains. Look for books that look like new and you won’t go far wrong. Books, like many other collectibles, are priced based on how many were printed and  the current demand from Collectors. A general rule of thumb is that the first books by an author who’s work ends up on the best sellers list  goes on to become a best seller can often be a very hot item, the reason being  the first editions tend to be printed in a far lower printing than the ones by the same author after he or she is making the rounds on Oprah’s or Jon Stuart’s show. A prime examnple would be Stephen King’s first book, “Carrie,” which was published in 1974, one signed by the author can sell for more than $7500.00,  if in “Very Good” condition. In comparison, a signed first edition copy of one of his much later later books, like “The Tommyknockers,” published 1987 can be found for less than $400.00 as of the date of this article, while unsigned copies often go for less than $25 at a Bookseller.  One quick way to increase the value of any first edition you have written by a living author such as King, is by having it signed when the author is on tour promoting their books in your area.

The Sun Also Rises
The first edition of The Sun Also Rises published in 1926 by Scribner’s. The dust jacket was illustrated by Cleonike Damianakes.

There are still bargains out there by hugely famous authors who are no longer with us, like Earnest Hemmingway. Even though a good first edition signed copy of his first book, “The Sun Also Rises” is listed at one bookseller for over $195,000, a first edition the last book he wrote and published after his death, “The Garden of Eden,”  can be found for about $85.