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  • Twelve Years a Slave first edition auctioning for just $1,000
  • Post author
    Paul Fraser
  • aSlaveTwelveYears

Twelve Years a Slave first edition auctioning for just $1,000

A first edition copy of Solomon Northup's autobiography, Twelve Years a Slave, will sell at Heritage Auctions in the wake of the movie adaptation's Oscar-winning success.


An illustration of Northup taken from the book, which sold 30,000 copies - making it a relative bestseller of the day



Selling as part of the April 2 Rare Books Auction in New York, the book is valued at just $500-1,000, though the impeccable timing of the sale will likely mean it sees much higher bids.

Solomon Northup was born a free man in New York in July 1808. However, in 1841 he was drugged and kidnapped, before being sold into slavery in Washington DC amid claims he was a runaway slave from Georgia.

Northup spent the next 12 years as a slave, working on various plantations. He was eventually freed on January 4, 1853 after a long battle with his owner, who stated he would rather kill the slave than see him set free.

It is not certain what happened to Solomon Northup after he gained his freedom, with some believing he was kidnapped again and lived out the rest of his live in bondage. 

The movie adaptation, 12 Years a Slave, won Best Picture at 2014's Academy Awards.

Also selling at Heritage Auctions is a rare Paris first edition of Ernest Hemingway's In Our Time, as well as a first edition of the beloved children's classic The Very Hungry Caterpillar.

Paul Fraser Collectibles has some fantastic literary collectibles for sale, including first editions and author-signed copies.


  • Post author
    Paul Fraser
  • aSlaveTwelveYears