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(Victoria, BC - February 11, 2005) Seventy five years after it was published, Dashiell Hammett’s The Maltese Falcon has become a highly collectible item for fans of iconic American literature.

The most expensive copy of The Maltese Falcon, originally published on February 14, 1930, found on is priced at $90,000 and being offered by Joseph The Provider Books in Santa Barbara, California, in partnership with Ralph Sipper Books. Both are members of the Antiquarian Booksellers Association of America (ABAA). The book originally cost $2.

Written in San Francisco, The Maltese Falcon was Hammett’s third novel and the story achieved worldwide fame through the 1941 movie that starred Humphrey Bogart as tough-talking private eye Sam Spade.

This exceptional copy will be displayed next week in San Francisco at the 38th Californian International Antiquarian Book Fair at the Ralph Sipper Books booth.

Lee Campbell, owner of Joseph The Provider Books, said: “We’ve been in the book business for about 30 years and only owned a handful of first edition copies with the original dust jacket. This is the best example we’ve ever seen. It is not only a great novel but was also made into a great film and that adds to its value and desirability.”

The Maltese Falcon has become an iconic book like The Catcher In The Rye and The Great Gatsby,” said Peter Stern, a specialist rare bookseller who operates Peter L Stern & Co in Boston and is offering two 1930 first editions for $85,000 and $55,000 through

“I re-read it a couple of years ago and I was struck by how good it was. The wonderful movie has also definitely helped shape our perception of this book. It’s more than just a detective novel – it cuts across genres and that makes it very collectible,” added Stern, who is also a member of the ABAA.

The Bay Area is a good hunting ground for fans of Hammett. Compass Rose Books near Berkeley is offering a third printing of the 1930 Maltese Falcon first edition for $950.

Born in Maryland, Hammett was a former detective with the Pinkerton Agency who helped revolutionize crime fiction with his hard-bitten hero and downbeat view of American society. His writing career eventually faded after 1934. A member of the Communist Party who helped the Republicans in the Spanish Civil War, he was jailed for five months in 1951 for failing to testify in trials against alleged communist conspirators.


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Richard Davies, PR & Publicity Mgr.,
Ph: 250-412-3238

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