October 2012 | Rebecca Rego Barry

Modern Firsts at Auction

Yesterday at Bloomsbury Auctions in London, a remarkable collection of modern firsts was sold. It was the collection of biographer and critic Clive Hirschhorn, who had been collecting for more than thirty years. The collection encompassed most of the landmark titles of twentieth-century American and English literature. It prompted Rupert Powell, Bloomsbury's Deputy Chairman, to call it "one of the most important private collections of Modern First Editions to come onto the market in London in the last ten years."

The Ian Fleming, Graham Greene, and Evelyn Waugh titles did well, but many other authors were snubbed, going unsold. Here are some highlights.

446675128.jpgOnly one of the Dashiell Hammett firsts found a new home: Red Harvest, first edition, in NF dust jacket. It sold for £18,000 ($29,000) exclusive of premium.

446675210-1.jpgA very scarce first edition in jacket of Nathanael West's Miss Lonelyhearts. In our spring issue, Larry McMurtry likened this to a holy grail! And it sold for £5,500 ($8,800) exclusive of premium.

446675194a.jpgNo jacket on this one, but this Dracula first does boast Graham Greene's ink ownership inscription. It sold for £6,000 ($9,600) exclusive of premium.

44667572.jpgAnd the Great Gatsby in the rare dust jacket also sold at the low estimate of £50,000 ($80,500) exclusive of premium.