The Ultimate James Joyce Collection

We often talk about the passion of book collecting, and how you don’t need to spend thousands of dollars on your books to create a collection that you cherish.  These Modern Library copies of James Joyce’s Ulysses look great and would be a smart addition to the shelf of a Joyce fan, and the fact that you can have them for around $50 make them a great choice. 

But what if you could spend tens of thousands of dollars on the books of your wildest dreams? If money were no object, what would your library look like?  Well, now you can trade up to the Ultimate James Joyce collection featuring  first edition copies of Dubliners (1914), A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man (1916), Ulysses (1922, and a signed limited edition of 1936) and limited edition, signed Finnegan’s Wake (1939) and others.  All for the bargain price of just over $200,000. 

If you want to be a rockstar book collector, here are some samples of the kinds of rare (and very expensive) treasures available on AbeBooks.

Please note: Prices are approximate, as currencies fluctuate. Quantity on rare books is extremely limited; copies on display may sell quickly.

Priceless Pages:

The Hobbit by J.R.R. TolkienThe Hobbit
by J.R.R. Tolkien
$45,000

True first edition with original dust jacket with illustrations by Tolkien, only 1,500 copies were printed for the first publication and a number of those were ravaged by WWII.

More affordable copies

The Tale of Peter Rabbit by Beatrix Potter The Tale of Peter Rabbit
by Beatrix Potter
$111,000

One of the most famous children’s stories ever written, this is a first edition privately printed by the author in 1901. Only 250 copies were issued so this is one of the rarest children’s books ever printed.

More affordable copies

The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger The Catcher in the Rye
by J.D. Salinger
$49,500

Published in 1951 but still a staple in high school English, The Catcher in the Rye's success drove Salinger to become a recluse. Signed copies of this landmark novel are extremely rare and expensive.

More affordable copies

Frankenstein by Mary Shelley Frankenstein
by Mary Shelley
$117,500

The teenage Shelley helped create the horror genre with this novel. A first edition in three volumes.

More affordable copies

Birds of America by John James Audubon Birds of America
by John James Audubon
$95,000

The bible for birders. This octavo edition contains 500 hand-colored lithographic plates. The original publication has been thought to have cost more than $100,000 to publish in the 1800s, so a copy for $95,000 is an absolute bargain.

More affordable copies

Relativity by Albert Einstein Relativity
by Albert Einstein
$79,650

The most famous scientific equation of the 20th century was defined in this work. The first American edition, published in 1920, includes Einstein's signature in full. Housed in a cloth slipcase with the historical E=mc2 equation embossed in relief.

More affordable copies

Dracula by Bram Stoker Dracula
by Bram Stoker
$24,150

This 1897 first edition is in beautiful condition and inscribed to Frank A. Munsey; Stoker was undoubtedly attempting to sway Munsey to serialize the story in one of his magazines, such as Argosy or Munsey's.

More affordable copies

The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald The Great Gatsby
by F. Scott Fitzgerald
$200,000

One of the rarest and most sought after modern first editions, an original 1925 copy with an original dust jacket in fine condition is a six figure book.

More affordable copies

Orlando by Virginia Woolf Orlando
by Virginia Woolf
$292,500

In and of itself a first edition copy of Orlando will garner a four figure price tag, however this particular copy was inscribed by Woolf to Vanessa Bell: "Vanessa / From her slave and sister."

More affordable copies

The Dain Curse by Dashiell Hammett The Dain Curse
by Dashiell Hammett
$89,500

This particular copy of Hammett’s second book has been inscribed to fellow hardboiled crime writer Raoul Whitfield.

More affordable copies

White Buildings by Hart Crane White Buildings
by Hart Crane
$75,000

What could be better for a Hart Crane fan than to own a first edition copy of his first book? And to up the ante, how about buying the copy that came directly from Crane’s own library?

More affordable copies

Profiles in Courage by John F. Kennedy Profiles in Courage
by John F. Kennedy
$45,000

This iconic first edition of JFK's biography is inscribed by JFK (junior senator) "To Senator Saltonstall- with the very highest regards of his colleague John Kennedy".

More affordable copies

On Her Majesty’s Secret Service by Ian Fleming On Her Majesty’s Secret Service
by Ian Fleming
$43,940

For the ultimate Bond fan this is a must; a marked-up uncorrected proof copy from the desk of Aubrey Forshaw, then Managing Director of Pan Books, together with a copy of the first edition hardcover also inscribed to Forshaw.

More affordable copies

Danny the Champion of the World artwork Danny the Champion of the World artwork
$136,853

The Jill Bennett archive of illustrations for the first edition of Roald Dahl’s Danny The Champion of The World. Including correspondence between the author, artist and the publishers Jonathan Cape.

Copies of Danny the Champion of the World

Works of Geoffrey Chaucer by Geoffrey Chaucer Works of Geoffrey Chaucer
by Geoffrey Chaucer
$85,000

The works from a legendary poet produced by William Morris and his Kelmscott Press. Published in 1896 and limited to 438 copies, included with 75 woodcut illustrations.

More affordable copies

An American Dictionary of the English Language An American Dictionary of the English Language
$28,980

Published in 1828, this is the first edition featuring 70,000 words and limited to 2,500 copies. This dictionary was Webster's first attempt to separate American and British English.

More affordable copies

If price was no object, what treasures would your library hold?


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