George Eliot rare books and memorabilia

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wikicollecting

2015-06-26 10:59:26

George Eliot rare books and memorabilia are collectible items relating to English Victorian novelist Mary Anne Evans (1819-1880), better known by her pen name George Eliot.

Brief History/biography

George Eliot was one of the leading writers during the Victorian era. She wrote seven novels, most set in provincial England, realist examinations of character psychology. The most popular of which are Adam Bede (1859), The Mill on the Floss (1860), Felix Holt, the Radical (1866) and Middlemarch (1871-2). Mary Anne Evans used a male-sounding nom de plume in order to be taken seriously, as when she was writing, it was often considered that women wrote only light-hearted romance novels. Her scandalous relationship with a married man, George Henry Lewes, left her somewhat of an outsider in society. Her writings were political, and held a deep realist philosophy, as well as a focus on ordinary people’s lives in the English countryside.

Types of rare books and memorabilia

Books

Bonhams

  • Middlemarch (1871-2), first edition in original parts. Sold for $56,250 in October 2011.
  • Daniel Deronda (1876), first edition in original parts. Sold for $9,375 in October 2011.
  • Adam Bede (1859), first edition, sold for $4,375 in October 2011.
  • 34 volumes of George Eliot first edition works, bound uniformly in leather, sold for $3,883 in February 2006.
  • The Mill on the Floss (1860), first edition, sold for $4,000 in October 2011.

Christie’s

  • Middlemarch (1871-2), first edition in original parts. Sold for $68,500 in December 2009.
  • 30 first edition George Eliot volumes, uniformly bound in leather, sold for £7,638 in July 2000.
  • The Spanish Gypsy (1868), first edition, signed presentation copy. Sold for $9,350 in November 1992.
  • Romola (1863) first edition in book form, autograph letter tipped-in. Sold for $8,750 in December 2009.
  • The Mill on the Floss (1860), first edition, sold for $7,500 in December 2009.

Sothebys

  • Scenes of Clerical Life (1858), first edition in book form, sold for $19,200 in December 2004.
  • Daniel Deronda (1876) first edition, sold for £8,125 in October 2010.
  • Middlemarch (1871), first edition in original parts. Sold for $6,000 in June 2006.
  • Romola (1863), first edition in book form, sold for £3,750 in October 2010.

Documents, Autographs and Photographs

Bonhams

  • Handwritten and signed letter to her granddaughter, 1878, sold for £1,800 in March 2011.

Christie’s

  • Series of 9 autograph letters signed, 1859-73, sold for £9,600 in June 2007.
  • Handwritten corrections to off prints of seven articles by Eliot. Sold for £4,465 in July 2000.

Sothebys

  • Three handwritten letters to family members, signed, sold for £4,000 in December 2008.

Guide for collectors

Most impressive to attain are the first editions in each of their individually released parts, especially if also in their original decorative paper wraps. To have one of these scarce and valuable collections is the ultimate in George Eliot memorabilia. Middlemarch is probably the most popular to collect.

Eliot is also often collected for private libraries and uniformly bound.

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