Nathaniel Hawthorne rare books and memorabilia
Nathaniel Hawthorne rare books and memorabilia are collectible items relating to American novelist Nathaniel Hawthorne (1804-1864).
Nathaniel Hawthorne is best known for the novel The Scarlet Letter (1850).
Much of his writing is set in New England, and features Puritan allegories. His works are considered exemplary of American Romanticism, and often dark romanticism, cautionary stories focused on evil and sin in humanity, as well as psychological examination.
The Scarlet Letter was one of the first mass-produced books in America. It was a bestseller, but was later banned due to the content that focused on adultery. Its popularity allowed him to live by writing, and paved the way for several later successful novels, including The House of the Seven Gables (1851), The Blithedale Romance (1852) and The Marble Faun (1860).
Types of rare books and memorabilia
- The Scarlet Letter first edition (1850, Ticknor, Reed and Fields, Boston) sold for $4,575 in June 2009, and $6,100 in October 2009.
- Fanshawe first edition (1828, Marsh and Capen, Boston) sold for $20,700 in October 1995.
- The Scarlet Letter first edition (1850), sold for $18,400 in December 1993.
- Mosses from an Old Manse first edition (1846), sold for $57,600 in December 2003.
- The Scarlet Letter first edition (1850), sold for $57,000 in June 2005.
- Fanshawe first edition (1823), sold for $50,000 in October 2011.
Documents, Autographs etc
- Moving letter by Hawthorne’s wife Sophia Peabody describing Hawthorne’s last days. Sold for $7,637 in June 2005.
- Printed page proofs of The Scarlet Letter with corrections. Sold for $545,100 in December 2004.
- Copy of Thomas de Grey’s The Compleat Horse-Man and Expert Ferrier, given by Nathaniel Hawthorne to his friend, author Herman Melville the year his novel Moby Dick was published.
- Handwritten letter signed by Hawthorne. Sold for $28,680 in April 2003.
- Handwritten letter signed by Hawthorne, 1850, sold for $40,625 in December 2010.
- Handwritten letter signed by Hawthorne, 1862, sold for $31,200 in April 2004.
Guide for collectors
First editions of Fanshawe, Hawthorne’s first book, published anonymously, are very rare as a large number of them were destroyed in a warehouse fire at the publisher’s. This makes them very valuable. Otherwise, first editions of The Scarlet Letter are the most desired, particularly in the rare case of them being signed or inscribed by Hawthorne.
First editions are worth infinitely more in their original cloth bindings, so it is not recommended to restore or rebind them.
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