June 2010 | Rebecca Rego Barry

First Edition High

Don't miss Ralph Gardner Jr.'s fun little read in yesterday's Wall Street Journal about sleuthing for first editions at a country library book sale. An enticing excerpt:

I inherited the collecting, or at least acquisitory, gene from my father, who passed away in 2005. His collection included a first edition of "Huckleberry Finn," as well as the even rarer Huck Finn salesman's prospectus. We'd gone to auctions at Sotheby's during the '60s--it was then called Sotheby Parke-Bernet and was situated on Madison Avenue in the 70s--and I'd bid on Hemingway and Steinbeck first editions that I'd get for a few dollars. However, my greatest discovery was a first edition of "The Great Gatsby" that I found for $10 in the back of an old bookstore on a visit to Princeton when I was applying to college. It's worth about $5,000 today. If it had the almost impossible to find dust jacket, it could be worth more than $100,000.