First edition of Hemingway's Three Stories & Ten Poems leads California book auction

Though he is now regarded as one of the 20th century's greatest writers, Ernest Hemingway's first work was not presented to the world with much of a flourish.

Just 300 first edition copies of Ernest Hemingway's literally titled Three Stories & Ten Poems were printed through Contact Publishing Co. in 1923, and naturally the rarity value of this work - presented with 'no frills' has made it especially desirable.

A rare copy of this first edition carries a $60,000-90,000 estimate when it goes under the hammer on February 8, as the expected top lot in a California Rare Books Auction. Full Internet live bidding will be available.

"Any Hemingway first edition is a highly sought-after thing," said James Gannon, director of Rare Books, "let alone the very first book he ever published.

Hemingway first edition three stories eight poems
First edition of Hemingway's Three Stories and Ten Poems

"Making it even more interesting is the warm inscription from Hemingway to two of the editors of The Little Review, the important 'little magazine' that published works by avant garde writers of the time such as James Joyce and T. S. Eliot and who published Hemingway's first mature prose work the very same year."

That inscription reads: "For j.h. [Jane Heap] and Margaret Anderson with love from Hemingway."

A very different writer who captured the public's imagination during the 20th century was Sir Ian Fleming, whose vibrant, gung-ho, sexually-charged and politically incorrect James Bond books gave readers everywhere an exciting if not realistic idea of what the British secret service got up to.

Ian Fleming James Bond Goldfinger
The beautifully preserved first edition of Ian Fleming's Goldfinger


Fans will be pleased to see examples of several early Ian Fleming works in the auction.

The pick of these is perhaps a fantastic first edition of Goldfinger, inscribed by Fleming on the front free endpaper, "To Gerald Micklem, This piece - of homework! from (sic) Ian Fleming." It has been listed at $12,000-18,000.

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