First off the press... Mistral's '$29,000' Nobel-winning poem sells in Paris


At Paul Fraser Collectibles, we always recommend provenance as being key to a collectible's value.

And, if the first edition book you're eyeing up in a sale happened to have won its author a Nobel Prize, then the lot is worth some serious consideration.

Among the highlights in Alde of Paris's "Ancient and Modern Books from the XIXth Century" sale is Frédéric Mistral's Mirèio. Mistral was a French writer and lexicographer of the Occitan language.

This work won its author the 1904 Nobel Prize for Literature, and this first edition is still in the book's original binding.

The book was instantly regarded as a masterpiece upon its initial release.

What's more, this copy of the book is understood to be the first off the press. It was offered by the publisher to the author as a keepsake, and is billed as "MOST PRECIOUS" in the lot notes.

A Nobel work... Mistral's seminal poem Mirèio, both autographed and inscribed

Said French writer (who was also crucial in founding the Second Republic) Alphonse de Lamartine, greatly admired by Mistral: "A great epic poet is born, there is a virtue in the sun... Yes, your epic is a masterpiece ... the scent of your book will not evaporate in a thousand years."

So far, Lamartine is being proved right. This book's legacy is going strong, to the extent that it will carry an significant €15,000-20,000 ($29,012) estimate in Alde's sale.

Even better, the book bears its author's signature which is described as "MAGNIFICENT autograph... signed and dated" by Alde.

Mistral's signature appears alongside that of his friend and publisher, Joseph Roumanille.

Despite a cracked hinge, a few spots on the pages and some mysterious partial burning, Mirèio's significance - and the importance of this copy in particular - should make it one to watch in Alde's upcoming auction.

Watch this space for all the latest news from the book markets.



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