1860 & 1936 Author Inscribed Books

Value (2004) | $8,000 Auction$11,000 Auction

GUEST:
These are books that my husband's great-grandparents collected. I enjoy them, but I didn't know anything about them.

APPRAISER:
Okay. Well, let's start with this one here. This is a copy of "Gone with the Wind," and you've got a great inscription here-- "For R.W. Hill from Margaret Mitchell." This is not a first-edition copy of "Gone with the Wind" and it doesn't have its dust jacket, so the book itself has some points against it, but it is an inscribed copy. And actually, there's this great letter here that goes with it, which says, "I'm sending you this book under separate cover. I'm sorry that it took me so long to obtain it, but Margaret Mitchell has been in seclusion for the past couple of months on the verge of a nervous breakdown." So this kind of makes it a nice association copy. It was interesting to read that she'd been having so much trouble. I guess she didn't expect "Gone with the Wind" to be so popular.

GUEST:
I don't think so.

APPRAISER:
This other set is also interesting. Tell me about this one.

GUEST:
These are three volumes of "The Mill on the Floss" by George Eliot, whose real name is actually Mary Ann Evans. So that was her pen name, and inside the first volume, it says, "Dear Dr. Deacon," I think, "from the author."

APPRAISER:
What you've got is a first edition in three volumes of "The Mill on the Floss" with an inscription from the author. It's not actually signed by her name. What do you do when you write under a pseudonym? Do you sign with your pseudonym or your real name? Well, she sort of cheated it and said it's from the author, but it's still signed by her. I'm so glad you brought this in, because one of the things at the book table we tell people is chances are, if you're not

descended from a book collector, the books that you inherit are probably not going to be collectible titles. But you're very fortunate because you are descended from somebody who was actually a really great collector who had a great eye.

GUEST:
They had thousands of books.

APPRAISER:
I mean, it's amazing.

GUEST:
I know. You're making my mouth water, so...

APPRAISER:
So this, even with just the signature... the book itself, not a particularly valuable copy but a signature with a great association. This is probably a $2,000-$3,000 book just for the signature alone.

GUEST:
Wow.

APPRAISER:
"The Mill on the Floss," unsigned, a first edition in three volumes in this condition is probably $2,000 to $3,000, but you've got a signed copy, which is much rarer, so this edition is probably a $6,000-$8,000 book.

GUEST:
Oh my gosh

APPRAISER:
So you have great, great books.

GUEST:
Oh, my gosh.

APPRAISER:
Yeah, so... so, you did well.

GUEST:
My husband's going to be so surprised. Oh, my gosh. I can't believe that. That's a lot.

Appraisal Details

Appraiser
Bonhams, LA
Los Angeles, California
Appraised value (2004)
$8,000 Auction$11,000 Auction
Event
Memphis, TN (July 31, 2004)
Form
Book
Material
Paper

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