Fascinating First Editions from the 1950s

For many collectors, the 1950s represent a golden age of literature full of rich pickings. The decade is famous for producing books that have had a huge impact on readers and society in general.

The Chronicles of Narnia series began in 1950. The Catcher in the Rye was issued in 1951 and people are still carrying around battered copies of J.D. Salinger's novel. Ralph Ellison's Invisible Man came out a year later. Ian Fleming published Casino Royale in 1953 and that spy franchise is still going strong...

William Golding's Lord of the Flies was published in 1954 and illustrated the frail nature of civilization. Ayn Rand's Atlas Shrugged, Jack Kerouac's On the Road and The Cat in the Hat by Dr. Seuss were printed in 1957 - and all three have been tremendously influential in different ways. And as the decade ended, William Burroughs gave us Naked Lunch and ensured literary boundaries were being pushed further than ever before.

The 1950s also saw massive growth in certain bookish genres. The world was changing fast thanks to a series of new technologies but readers were relishing science fiction - a genre that would never look back. Fantasy authors also enjoyed similar success. International travel was becoming affordable to more people and travel memoirs were in high demand. Crime and historical adventure were also snapped up by legions of enthusiasts.

One of the key aspects to collecting first editions from this era is the condition of the dust jacket. There are countless wonderful dust wrapper designs from the 1950s but always check condition.

True first editions of famous books like The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe or Atlas Shrugged are very expensive, but this selection of first editions - by famous and forgotten writers - from the 1950s showcases a broad variety of titles at varying prices. A first edition of a 55-year-old book does not have to be costly.

First Editions from the 1950s

What would you call the best book published in the 1950s?

More essential reading lists: