F. Scott Fitzgerald Autograph, ca. 1920
Appraised Value: $3,000 - $5,000
IMAGE: 1 of 2
Appraisal Video: (2:22)
Books & Manuscripts
Vice President Department Head, Printed Books and Manuscripts
APPRAISER: You've brought in a wonderful artifact from the Jazz Age. You told me that your aunt received this in the 1920s. Why don't you just tell us a little bit of background?
GUEST: Well, she was in a bar the week before, and F. Scott Fitzgerald autographed something for her, but it wasn't legible. So she went back the next week with this book, which was fairly new at the time, and he autographed this for her.
APPRAISER: This is a page from "Flappers and Philosophers," which was first published in New York in 1920. It was one of F. Scott Fitzgerald's first books. Of course, he's beloved for his novel "The Great Gatsby," which came out in 1925, but all of his books from the 1920s really capture the Jazz Age moment. And the fact that he was in Hollywood is appropriate at that time. He was really trying to break into the whole scene, and he and his wife Zelda were traveling the world. Now, what's so nice about this is that it was inscribed, as you say, and it reads to your aunt: "For Lorainne Pell. In substitution for the drunken hieroglyphics of last Thursday night or last Wednesday night or was it last Tuesday night? From yours faithfully, F. Scott Fitzgerald." So I take it from that inscription that your aunt was a flapper, not a philosopher.
GUEST: Exactly. (both laughing)
APPRAISER: What's so great about this also is that in addition to just signing it in full, "F. Scott Fitzgerald," he's done something very whimsical with the title. He circled the F for his first initial, he's taken the S in "flappers" and written C-O-T-T after it to spell out Scott, and then he's taken the P-H-I in "philosophers" and written "tzgerald" beneath it to spell out F. Scott Fitzgerald. And obviously the content of his inscription and the story that you've told about your aunt indicate that they were probably out having a bit of fun. Fitzgerald was known for having a bit of fun. It actually got him into trouble a few times. Now, this is just a page from the book-- it's not the whole book-- that does affect its value. But in terms of the single page, were it to come up at auction, I would put an estimate of $3,000 to $5,000 on it.
APPRAISER: Yes. Now, were it to be the whole book, intact, it would be worth $8,000 to $12,000.
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