Modern first edition book collection worth £1m



2015-06-26 10:41:03

One of the world’s finest collections of desirable modern first edition books is coming to auction at Bloomsbury on October 25th.

72 year old Clive Hirschhorn, a former theatre critic, spent decades slowly collecting his veritable who’s who of 20th century fiction. His precious library remained untouched, not a single book cracked open, for 30 years.

He was inspired to start his collection in 1984, by a newspaper article he read on a bus. He then truly got the bug, stating ‘it was like a virus or infection that was in my blood and I couldn’t pass a second hand bookshop without going in to look for first editions’.

Much of the value of modern first edition books lies in the condition of their original dust jackets. Any mark or tear in the jacket can knock hundreds, even thousands, off the value. All of Hirschhorn’s remain immaculate. If he wanted to actually read one of the books, he bought a cheap paperback copy. The near-perfect condition of these dust jackets will be a real pulling point for bidders.

Highlights among the astonishing first editions include William Golding’s Lord of the Flies, valued at £8,000-£12,000, Ian Fleming’s first James Bond novel Casino Royale, expected to fetch £10,000-£15,000, and Dashiell Hammett’s The Maltese Falcon at £50,000.

Graham Greene’s Brighton Rock may fetch as much as £60,000. First editions of this work are rare, as most of them were destroyed in a warehouse fire in 1938. F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby is expected to perform even better, to fetch £75,000 give or take. Hirshhorn’s copy was purchased for just £1,500 in 1987 – not a bad rate of return. He paid £120 for Harper Lee’s To Kill a Mocking Bird, which is now worth 100 times that amount.

Some of the books have been signed by the authors which also increases their value. Stephen King’s classic horror novel The Shining has been inscribed. Other highlights include modern classic first editions from Ernest Hemingway, Daphne du Maurier, John Steinbeck and Bram Stoker.


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