7 Oct 2014

7 of the Most Valuable Signed First Edition Books in the World

In the world of book collecting, there’s nothing quite like a signed first edition to really get a collector excited. Quite often, that first edition was written when no one knew who the author was, or if they would ever become well known.

Antique Books

Here’s a list of 7 signed first editions, that sold for amounts that would make anyone think about becoming an antique book collector.

The Beautiful and Damned

F Scott Fitzgerald is a writer most people have heard of, and a writer every book collector knows. A first edition of his book ‘The Beautiful and Damned’ with the inscription: “To William Judd. Parisien / Critic / Playrite / Bibliophile / Drunkard / and / Good Egg” sold for $19,520.

Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone

Harry Potter is a relatively new phenomenon in the world of fiction, and with all the books and movies, you’d be hard pressed to find anyone who hasn’t heard of him or author JK Rowling. A signed first edition of the first volume of Harry Potter books, ‘Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone’ sold for $23,900 at Heritage in February of 2010.

The Tale of Peter Rabbit

The Tale of Peter Rabbit is a classic children’s book by author Beatrix Potter. Two first editions of this book sold for hugely different amounts, apparently due to a heartfelt inscription in one of them. One copy sold for $14,160 which is a very nice sum, but the one with the inscription sold for a staggering $94,400.

Down and Out in Paris and London

The name Eric Arthur Blair may not be well known, but his pen name ‘George Orwell’ certainly is. Orwell is famous for his novels 1984 and Animal Farm, but a first edition of his first novel ‘Down and Out in Paris and London’ complete with an inscription to his agent, sold for the equivalent of $158,000.

Nicholas Nickleby

Back in 2009, a first edition of the Charles Dickens classic ‘The Life and Adventures of Nicholas Nickleby’ also sold for $158,000. Inside the book was an inscription to his friend David Wilkie.


Emma is a novel by famous author Jane Austen. A signed first edition of this novel was sold in 2008 in England for the equivalent of $510,000.

A Study in Scarlet

Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, writer of so many Sherlock Holmes novels, started the series with a book called ‘A Study in Scarlet’. This is the first Holmes story, and there are supposedly only 31 copies of it in existence, with only two of them being signed by the author. It was previously valued by Sotheby’s in England at $784,000 and is the Holy Grail for many book collectors.

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