Ciabatarri cites 1862, 1899, and 1950 as other strong contenders but concludes that 1925 takes the cake:
"...1925 brought something unique - a vibrant cultural outpouring, multiple landmark books and a paradigm shift in prose style."
I thought we'd examine the books cited by Ciabatarri from a collectable lens.
1) "In Our Time" by Ernest Hemingway. Published by Boni & Liveright in New York City in 1925 in an edition limited to a scant 1335 copies. If you want to purchase one of those copies today, expect to dish out roughly $1k. And if you want the dust jacket - one of the rarest Hemingway jackets to find - you'll need a bit over $20k.
2) "Mrs Dalloway" by Virginia Woolf. Published by The Hogarth Press in London in 1925 in an edition of 2000 copies. You'll need about $1k to pick up the first edition of "Mrs Dalloway" as well. The first edition is extremely rare with a dust jacket. The only copy I could find online was priced at $75k.
3) "The Great Gatsby" by F. Scott Fitzgerald. One of the high spots of 20th-century literature collecting and famously rare and expensive in the original dust jacket. Published by Scribner's in New York in 1925, a first edition of "The Great Gatsby" with dust jacket is a six figure purchase. You'll need at least $125,000 for this beauty.
4) "The Making of Americans" by Gertrude Stein. Published by Contact Editions and Three Mountains Press in Paris in 1925 in an edition of 500 copies. $1200 will get you a first edition.
5) "Manhattan Transfer" by John Dos Passos. Published in New York by Harper, Manhattan Transfer is less expensive. A copy without dust jacket can be had for $30, although if you want the rare dust jacket as well expect to pay a few grand.
6) "An American Tragedy" by Theodore Dreiser. Published by Boni & Liveright in New York (who also published "In Our Time"), this is the cheapest book on this list. A copy can be had for $25. A first edition with dust jacket will set you back about $200.
7) "Arrowsmith" by Sinclair Lewis. Published in New York by Harcourt Brace, you can buy a first edition of Arrowsmith for less than $10 without the dust jacket. If you want the dust jacket, however, which is quite rare, you'll need about $750.
So the books cited by Ciabatarri hold up quite well on the collectable side of the equation as well. A fine collection of first editions with dust jackets of 1925's high spots will set you back about a quarter of a million dollars.
And that's just for these seven books alone.
What do you think? Any other contenders for best literature year?