Signed first edition books capture the spirit of post-war youth

Two signed post-war classics have come up for sale, offering an opportunity which books collectors can ill-afford to miss.

Hailed by the New York Times as "the most beautifully executed, the clearest and most important utterance" of its generation, Jack Kerouac's novel On the Road was written by the author in April 1951, though not published by Viking Press until 1957.

It is a largely autobiographical work that was based on the spontaneous road trips of Kerouac and his friends across mid-century America. It is often considered a defining work of the post-war Beat Generation that was inspired by jazz, poetry, and drug experiences.

The novel was chosen by Time magazine as one of the 100 best English-language novels from 1923 to 2005. This first edition still has its dust jacket, and would make a worthy investment.

Jack Kerouac On the Road
Jack Kerouac's On the Road

A rare signed 1st edition 1951 copy of The Catcher in the Rye by J D Salinger is also available.

Popular with adolescent readers for its themes of teenage confusion, angst, sexuality, alienation, and rebellion, it has been translated into almost all of the world's major languages. Around 250,000 copies are sold each year, with total sales of more than 65 million.

Salinger's signature in particular is especially coveted as he became notoriously reclusive in his later years, and he has now died. Paul Fraser Collectibles recently sold a rare Salinger autographed letter for £6,750.

Both works are expected to sell for around $25,000 in the online auction, which is buying hosted by CharityBuzz for the benefit of Cure for Cancers. Bidding ends on October 14.


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