The Brothers Grimm Rare Books And Memorabilia
The Brothers Grimm rare books and memorabilia are collectible items relating to German academics, authors, and collectors of folklore Jacob Grimm (1785-1863) and Wilhelm Grimm (1786-1859).
The Brothers Grimm collected folk tales and legends, largely from the oral tradition, and published them as collections of children’s stories. They can be credited with popularising some of the best known folk and fairy tales of all time, such as Cinderella, Hansel and Gretel, Rapunzel, Snow White, and The Frog Prince. Their first collection, Children’s and Household Tales (Kinder und Hausmärchen), was published in 1812, and added to over the next decades. The brothers considered traditional folk stories a pure form of national culture, history, literature and identity, and this coincided happily with a general 19th century revival in interest in folklore and fairy tales. Their methodological approach for collecting and recording the stories became the basis for academic folklore studies, and the popularity of their collected stories continued on after their deaths. The original versions of the tales were not always intended for children, and can contain much that today is considered too disturbing, cruel, violent and frightening, so the stories have often been sanitised.
Types of rare books and memorabilia
- German Popular Stories first English editions, 2 volumes (1823 and 1826), illustrated by George Cruikshank, sold for $4,600 in December 2007.
- Hansel and Gretel and Other Stories (1925), illustrated and signed by Kay Nielsen, sold for £2,800 in October 2010.
- Grimm’s Fairy Tales (1909), Arthur Rackham illustrated edition, signed by Rackham. Sold for $2,300 in June 2008, £2,400 in November 2007, and £2,800 in July 2009.
- Kinder und Haus-Marchen, volume I only of 2 (1812), very rare first edition. Sold for £27,500 in December 2009.
- German Popular Stories, first English editions, 2 volumes (1823 and 1826), illustrated by George Cruikshank, sold for $8,225 in April 2001, and $18,400 in December 1999.
- The Fairy Tales of the Brothers Grimm (1909), Arthur Rackham illustrated edition, signed by Rackham. Sold for £3,080 in February 1994.
- The Fairy Tales of the Brothers Grimm (1909), Arthur Rackham illustrated edition, signed by Rackham. Sold for $8,066.25 in February 2010.
- Kinder und Haus-Marchen, volumes I and II (1812 and 1815), sold for $206,500 in June 2011.
- German Popular Stories, first English editions, 2 volumes (1823 and 1826), illustrated by George Cruikshank, sold for $24,000 in April 2005.
- German Popular Stories (1868), stunning Cosway-style decorative leather binding, introduction by John Ruskin, sold for $18,750 in October 2011.
Guide for collectors
First editions of Kinder und Haus-Marchen (1812) are extraordinarily rare, and even with only one volume can be worth very large amounts.
The first English edition, called German Popular Stories, was published in two volumes in 1823 and 1826. It was translated by Edgar Taylor, and illustrated by the brilliant George Cruikshank, and these two volumes are very valuable.
Editions of the Grimm Brothers’ stories were illustrated by Arthur Rackham, and several signed copies of these publications have been sold for large amounts.
David Hockney also did a series of illustrations for six of the tales, which are immensely valuable to people interested in the artist as well as the writers.
There doesn’t appear to have been much memorabilia connected to the lives of the brothers on the market in the recent past. These items are undoubtedly valuable, so perhaps are being held onto by collectors, or perhaps they tend to remain in Germany.
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