Review Edition of "To Kill A Mockingbird," 1960
Appraised Value: $5,000
IMAGE: 1 of 1
Appraisal Video: (0:00)
Books & Manuscripts
Brattle Book Shop
GUEST: I was at one time engaged to be married to a woman whose father was the poetry editor for the "New York Times." And he had a tremendous collection of poetry books and also some other books and novels. And this was a gift to me from her, because she knew how much I loved the book and how much I loved the movie.
APPRAISER: Well, "To Kill a Mockingbird" is one of the great books. I mean, it's probably on everybody's summer reading list when you're in high school. Usually when you see the book, though, you see a hard cover with a nice dust jacket and so on. And this is a paperback. But what this really is, this is a review copy. This is what they sent out before the book was published, so that reviewers could get it, they'd put it in the paper. And most of these were just either thrown away, dumped, or because they're paper, they're in terrible condition. This one has been preserved amazingly well. Also, the reason they put it out in this type of edition-- publishers always have this thing-- they want to send out loads of review copies. They want the reviewers to read them, put them in the "New York Times" and all that, but then they don't want them to go out and sell them because then they're competing with the new book. So that's why the review copy was different than the others. It's by Harper Lee. A nice blurb there by Truman Capote. There were some rumors at some point, maybe he helped write it. He didn't. It's absolutely one of the great books. It was done in 1960, it won the Pulitzer Prize. Then in 1962, the movie came out. That's what people really remember. So the book becomes much more of an icon, and it's really driven the price up. What you've run into a little bit of a dilemma with, though, is, okay, it's a review copy. A lot of people collect the first edition. This isn't really the first edition. It's before the first edition.
APPRAISER: The date stamp up here was from the publisher, when the publisher sent it out, or it could have been when the "New York Times" received it. It's-- it's a plus. The one thing this really, really has going for it, it is in perfect shape. I mean, even if you put this in a bookshelf and pulled it out, the chances are you would have damaged it. And in collecting first editions, especially 20th-century first editions, that's everything: the condition. If you nick, tear, you could lose two-thirds, three-quarters of the value. Now, getting to the value of this, it's easily a $5,000 book retail.
APPRAISER: Now, an interesting part, though, is the first edition, which came out after this, could actually go for more because the collecting phases go up and down as to whether they want the review copy, the earliest...
GUEST: And how many copies of this would have been...?
APPRAISER: My guess is, they probably had about 400, 500 that they sent out to major reviewers and so on.
GUEST: I see.
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