Paul Fraser Collectibles' Top Five most collectible novelists


A good novel can take you to places beyond the capabilities of your own imagination. And as we will see, the very best novels can be life changing, especially if you are the owner of a rare and collectible edition

Here is our guide to the top five most collectible novelists...

5. George Orwell


Famed for Animal Farm and 1984, George Orwell was one of Britain's most influential novelists.

A rare signed copy of his Down And Out In Paris And London sold for £86,000 at a Gorringes, UK auction in 2010. This semi-autobiographical novel, published in 1933, was the first full-length work by Eton educated Orwell, who conducted research for the book by joining tramps on the roads of England and dishwashing in Paris restaurants.

4. TE Lawrence

Only eight first edition copies of TE Lawrence's autobiographical novel Seven Pillars of Wisdom were produced and just six are believed to still be in existence. In 2006 Book & Magazine Collector magazine valued these copies, published by the Oxford Times, at £60,000.

Published in 1922, Lawrence claimed the original manuscript was stolen at Reading railway station in 1919, although some experts claim this was simply a ruse to afford him more time. If the original manuscript did ever appear at auction, it would net a mighty sum.

3. F Scott Fitzgerald

A rare first edition of The Great Gatsby by F Scott Fitzgerald was sold at a Christie's New York auction for £100,000 in October 2002, doubling its estimate. This tale of New York in the roaring 20s was first published in 1925 and is regarded as one of the great works of American literature.

It was one of just four novels Fitzgerald completed.

2. Charles Dickens

Charles Dickens's A Christmas carol has been hugely popular ever since its publication in 1843. The first run of 6,000 copies was published on December 17 and ran out by Christmas Eve. A first edition sold for £181,250 at a Sotheby's auction in London in October 2010.

A first edition of Dickens's second major work, Oliver Twist, containing an inscription by Dickens to fellow novelist William Ainsworth, sold for $229,000 at Christie's last year.

 1. James Joyce

A Ulysses first edition


James Joyce's landmark modernist work Ulysses is now regarded as a masterpiece, but when he first touted it around there was a great deal of reluctance on behalf of publishers.

The work is hard going, can be construed as obscene, and like nothing which had gone before it.

The book was first published in Paris on February 2, 1922, on the author's 40th birthday. Only 1,000 copies were initially printed by the then obscure Shakespeare and Company.

Just two first edition copies were signed by Joyce. One of these became part of John Quinn's collection before it passed to a museum.

The other was sold at Christie's in 2002. Its inscription, "To Henry Kaeser James Joyce Dijon 12 October 1922", is to the publisher who provided the second printing of the work, on the day it went into production. The copy sold for $460,000, far surpassing its $200,000-300,000 estimate.


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