Rare Books

The ultimate prize for Stephen King collectors

Several decades ago, David Aronovitz from The Fine Books Company in Rochester, Michigan, sold three of those first editions of Salem's Lot with their original dust jackets for a pretty penny and kept the last one for his own personal rare book collection. It's the Holy Grail for collectors of Stephen King books - a true first edition of Salem's Lot from 1975, the author's second book.

Salem's Lot by Stephen King
A first edition of Salem's Lot by Stephen King

The presence and condition of a dust jacket is critical to a book's value in the rare book world, but this particular jacket is exceptionally prized. Sadly, we have none available.

After changing the book’s title from Jerusalem’s Lot, the publisher, Doubleday, made a last-second revision, altering the price from $8.95 to $7.95. Only a handful of copies featuring the original price escaped the revision (which manifested itself in cutting off the original price and then the stamping on the new lower price) - four is believed to be the magic number.

“I never kept abreast of the Stephen King market other than always checking on items I had recently acquired and was in turn about to offer for sale,” said David. “Then, I heard a rumor that this dust wrapper was worth $20,000. I was surprised and doubtful of the veracity of that statement. Then, someone indeed offered me $40,000 for my copy. I thought about it a bit and declined. That might have been stupid. But I have done stupid things in the past and will probably do so again. Time will tell. Then I read online how a well known Stephen King collector was offering his for $60,000 in 2006."

Four more (cheaper) Stephen King collectibles

Published by Overlook Connection Press in 1998, 1,000 leather-bound copies were printed.
Published by Tim Underwood & Chuck Miller in 1988, this is a private press edition with lettered copies.
Written jointly with Peter Straub. Published in 1984 by Donald M Grant, 1,200 numbered copies were printed in two volumes with beige cloth, labels and gilt lettering with a matching slipcase.
Donald M Grant published a deluxe edition in 1996 – there were 2,000 limited numbered copies. The book is bound in black leather and has a velvet-lined leather slipcase.

AbeBooks' most expensive sales of Stephen King books

A leather-bound copy with four Winchester bullets emerging from the front cover and the shell cases entering the rear of the book - signed by "Bachman" and dedicated to Harlan Ellison.
A first edition - one of 500 numbered copies signed by Stephen King and illustrator Michael Whelan.
A 1980 first edition signed by King with an aluminum-coated asbestos cloth and red calf cover. One of 26 copies. (Our friend David Aronovitz at The Fine Books Company assures us these asbestos editions are worth at least $15,000 today.)
Not one of the 500 numbered copies, but nevertheless a 1982 first edition signed by King and illustrator Michael Whelan.
First edition inscribed by King in 1982 to fellow horror writer Stanley Wiater: "All best from a very guilty (but determined) Stephen King."
A signed second edition of Stephen King's masterful tale of unspeakable evil.
Advance copy of King’s first book, the novel of the girl with a frightening power.
First German edition of Misery, bound in full calf-skin.

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