Herman Melville's Moby Dick first edition achieves 166% increase

A rare first edition copy of Herman Melville's Moby Dick headlined an auction of 19th and 20th century literature at Swann Auction Galleries on June 19.

It made $40,000 - an increase of 166.6% on a $15,000 estimate at the New York sale.

Moby Dick Whale
Only 60 copies of Moby Dick's first edition survived a warehouse fire in 1853

The vast majority of the first edition printing were destroyed in a fire at the Harper & Brothers warehouse in 1853 - with only 60 copies known to have survived.

The fact that it's one of only two copies to feature white endpapers further increases it appeal to collectors.

A first edition copy of Oscar Wilde's The Importance of Being Earnest, one of only 100 signed copies, proved another highlight when it achieved $20,480 against a $12,000 estimate - up 70.6%.

In May last year, an autograph manuscript for a poem titled Heart's Yearnings sold for a record $105,000 at Bonhams in London.

A first edition copy of Flannery O Connor's A Good Man is Hard to Find sold for $9,375 against a valuation of $6,000, equating to a rise of 56.2%.

The book is dedicated to George Haslam, a professor at the Georgia State College for Women, who was among the first to encourage her to write.

You can check out all our books and manuscripts for sale here.

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