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NoCoolUserName
11-08-2005, 01:47 PM
Having seen Capote recently, VeryCoolSpouse and I have renewed our interest in the novels written by the protagonist and his sidekick. :)

I found one site that claimed the first run of To Kill A Mockingbird was 5,000 copies and that it sold 500,000 copies the first year. Another sited claimed 2.5 million the first year (which I find hard to credit).

Since In Cold Blood was first published in The New Yorker, they already knew there would be a demand and I expect the first edition of that was much larger, but I can't find a darned thing on the Web.

Can anyone help?

AuntiePam
11-08-2005, 06:34 PM
I'm interested in the answer to this too, so here's a bump back to page one. I've been googling but haven't been able to find the publishing history for either of these books.

Waterman
11-08-2005, 07:02 PM
Don't know if this helps but I just saw on the back of the New York Times Book Review mag for Sunday, November 6, 2005, in a rare book ad, that a first edition copy of Mockingbird goes for about $25,000!

Waterman
11-08-2005, 08:41 PM
Don't know if this helps but I just saw on the back of the New York Times Book Review mag for Sunday, November 6, 2005, in a rare book ad, that a first edition copy of Mockingbird goes for about $25,000!
Now that I have the magazine in front of me I see that the asking price is $33,000 and it is an inscribed 1st edition with original dust cover.

RealityChuck
11-08-2005, 08:42 PM
Book sales are rarely released; only the publisher, author, and agent knows them (and the last two sometimes don't get accurate numbers). So any numbers by anyone else are just guesses.

I wouldn't be surprised if Mockingbird did sell 2.5 million copies in its first year: it was a big best seller and was also featured in all the major book clubs (the same with "In Cold Blood"). But only the publisher knows for sure.

Waterman
11-08-2005, 09:15 PM
Here is a link regarding the publishing of Mockingbird and does indeed support the 2.5 million copy number:

To Kill A Mockingbird Publishing Data (http://mockingbird.chebucto.org/publishing.html)

WordMan
11-08-2005, 09:54 PM
I actually own a 1st edition of To Kill a Mockingbird (I got lucky). And I have researched it pretty extensively. Lippincott published about 5,000 copies of the 1st, but between the fact that most went to libraries, it was popular and passed around and the book was not very well made, most have not made it.

The signed first you saw is from Bauman's Rare Books - they get great books but they mark them up a ton since they have some very costly storefronts in NYC (on Madison Ave and in the Waldorf Astoria) and in Philly. You can expect to pay a huge markup if you buy from them. Also, they tend to restore their books a lot - they look great, but many purists prefer their books "unsophisticated," i.e., not restored, with no painting on the dust jacket or other structural work.

As for Mockingbird, I don't know how many copies were printed the first year but that publishing history linked to in an earlier post seems as good as any. Having said that, the Heinemann UK first that they show looks nothing like the first UK - I have owned a copy. The real UK first has a rough wonderful painting of Atticus protecting Jem and Scout from a mob...

Hope this helps.

Exapno Mapcase
11-08-2005, 11:20 PM
Alice Payne Hackett's 70 Years of Best Sellers says that:Its two-year total was close to 200,000 plus sales by three book clubs.
Book clubs were more important in those days, and so evidently constituted the bulk of the sales. She lists it third for the year 1961 (although published in 1960) behind The Agony and the Ecstasy, by Irving Stone, and Franny and Zooey, by J. D. Salinger. In Cold Blood also comes in third for nonfiction in 1966. She doesn't give exact sales, although it's among others listed as over 100,000.

Mockingbird's total sales in all editions is listed as a fabulous 5,363,909 in this 1967 book, which put it in the top 10 fiction titles ever in less than a decade.

Mockingbird also never made it to #1 on The New York Times' best seller list, according to John Bear's book on that subject, but In Cold Blood spent 10 weeks at the top and 32 total weeks on the list.

Waterman
11-08-2005, 11:44 PM
[Hijack of sorts] When would Mockingbird have been put on the reading list for high schools (in the North of course) as I assume at some point it was placed on most high school reading lists? [End Hijack]

Zoe
11-09-2005, 05:54 AM
Why only in the North? I am genuinely puzzled.

I began teaching in 1969 (in the South) and it was always on my reading list.

You do know that the author was Southern, don't you?

WordMan
11-09-2005, 08:11 AM
[Hijack of sorts] When would Mockingbird have been put on the reading list for high schools (in the North of course) as I assume at some point it was placed on most high school reading lists? [End Hijack]

I'm with Zoe - I suspect it would've at least as popular in the South as in the North, but that's pure spec on my part.

It was made into the wonderful, wonderful movie in 1961, so I would suspect the sensitivity to the racial issues, the movie, the Pulitzer it won, etc., would have resulted in it finding its way into classrooms pretty much immediately. Again, most of the first edition were sent to libraries - some estimates put the number at 2,000 or more - so it got around fast.

Harper Lee (real first name: Nell) was known for NOT signing the book. She has on occasion, but it isn't common. There was a beautiful 35th anniversary edition that was released that she signed with some regularity - I don't know the background, but an agreement was worked out and she signed a bundle of them. You can find plenty on line at Bookfinder.com for a few hundred bucks.

Mockingbird, more than Catcher in the Rye, Gravity's Rainbow and pretty much any other book except maybe the Rings Trilogy, is considered the biggest High Spot first edition from 1950 - 2000. While that is interesting from a collectible standpoint, I think it says more about the enduring quality of the book - how it both reflected and influenced the dialogue on race in America in a way that was truthful and hard, but also loving and optimistic.

carnivorousplant
11-09-2005, 08:50 AM
You do know that the author was Southern, don't you?
Dang, I hate wearing these shoes! :)

Trunk
11-09-2005, 09:44 AM
Why only in the North? I am genuinely puzzled.

I began teaching in 1969 (in the South) and it was always on my reading list.

You do know that the author was Southern, don't you?
Yes, Capote was born in Louisiana and raised in Alabama. ;)

NoCoolUserName
11-09-2005, 11:00 AM
OK, let's do some housekeeping here.

Capote is rumored to a) have helped with Mockingbird or b) have totally ghost-written it. He suggested himself that this was true, but he also claimed to know and/or have had sex with half the western world. He tended to...uh...exaggerate.

I have no idea what the "shoes" thing is about.

First edition "Lord of the Rings" signed by Tolkien = $104,482.58
First edition "Hobbit" signed by Tolkien = $41,793.03
First edition "To Kill a Mockingbird" signed by Harper Lee = $23,999.90
First trade edition "In Cold Blood" signed by Truman Capote = $2,499.95

What is a "tipped in" signature?

Results are from BookFinder.com, YMMV. Note that the Hobbit is from 1937 while Mockingbird is from 1960.

I realize that sales data is private, but what about printing numbers? Do they keep that secret, too? The 2.5 million number I quoted in the OP was from watermans link, but I can't find anything to validate it. Sheesh, I thought everything was on the Web somewhere!

The Punkyova
11-09-2005, 11:15 AM
[QUOTE=WordManHarper Lee (real first name: Nell) was known for NOT signing the book. She has on occasion, but it isn't common. There was a beautiful 35th anniversary edition that was released that she signed with some regularity - I don't know the background, but an agreement was worked out and she signed a bundle of them. You can find plenty on line at Bookfinder.com for a few hundred bucks.[/QUOTE]

I have a signed copy, personalized to me. My mom is a good friend of a good friend of Miss Lee, and got one for me. It is NOT for sale.

WordMan
11-09-2005, 12:06 PM
OK, let's do some housekeeping here.

Capote is rumored to a) have helped with Mockingbird or b) have totally ghost-written it. He suggested himself that this was true, but he also claimed to know and/or have had sex with half the western world. He tended to...uh...exaggerate.


Yep he did - and Harper was his researcher and amanuensis for In Cold Blood and no doubt contributed significantly to the creation of that work. Add to that the fact that his first published work - Other Voices, Other Rooms - is also set in a place and with characters that are strongly reminiscent of TKaM - although the book goes in a completely different direction - it is about Dil, if Dil were a miserable abandoned sensitive kid. Bottom line is that their histories are tightly intertwined and scholars long ago gave up trying to prove any of those claims.


I have no idea what the "shoes" thing is about.

I assume it was an "I've from the South and go barefoot" reference - playing up a stereotype. YMMV.


First edition "Lord of the Rings" signed by Tolkien = $104,482.58
First edition "Hobbit" signed by Tolkien = $41,793.03
First edition "To Kill a Mockingbird" signed by Harper Lee = $23,999.90
First trade edition "In Cold Blood" signed by Truman Capote = $2,499.95


Don't get me started on prices on Bookfinder. It is a GREAT reference tool, but you have to really invest in expertise to know how to interpret the prices. Condition, accuracy of identification as a true first, the dealer selling it, the value of a signed vs. not signed, etc. are HUGE factors. The market for firsts has been stable for a bit, so one can make some generalizations. A signed Rings trilogy - 3 books, not 1, so not a great comparison - has been skyrocketing due to the movies, but $80 - $120K in top condition is not unheard of. But you are typically having to deal with a top-tier dealer - kind of like buying a Renoir; it rarely happens that you find one at a garage sale - and the top-tier dealers charge over-the-top prices. TKaM typically goes for about $10 - $15K as a restored copy, $15 - $20K for an "unsophisticated" copy (i.e., not restored), and about $20 - $25K for a signed copy - for some reason, the sig adds value but doesn't triple the price the way it would for Salinger's sig on Catcher. I think it may be due to the fact that a 1st of TKaM is rare enough to begin with, but not sure.

What is a "tipped in" signature?
Tipped-in = When a signature is on a separate piece of paper that has been affixed (glued-in) somewhere in the book. I have a signed bookplate from Harper Lee that is "laid in" to my copy - just slipped in between a couple of pages, but NOT glued - because I didn't want to risk hurting the book. NOTE: a truly signed copy should be worth a LOT more than one with a tipped-in sig. For tipped-in, the value should be: 1) the separate value of the book + 2) the separate value of an autograph. For a signed book, it varies based on the desirability of the book and scarcity of signed copies.

Results are from BookFinder.com, YMMV. Note that the Hobbit is from 1937 while Mockingbird is from 1960.
again, my statement about TKaM was for books AFTER 1950, as you note. There are MANY books pre-1950 worth much more than TKaM from a firsts perspective - Hemingway, Fitzgerald, Joyce, Faulkner, Sinclair Lewis, etc - the list is a long one.

I realize that sales data is private, but what about printing numbers? Do they keep that secret, too? The 2.5 million number I quoted in the OP was from watermans link, but I can't find anything to validate it. Sheesh, I thought everything was on the Web somewhere!

First edition print runs are usually kept private - I dunno why. Back in TKaM's day, a first print run of 5,000 for a new author was typical. With widely collected authors, you can get a bibliography detailing the print history of all of their titles including the print runs. With TKaM, the 5,000 print run is an established fact - as it is for most famously collectible books like Catcher in the Rye (10,000), the Great Gatsby (25,000), For Whom the Bell Tolls (about 75,000) or As I Lay Dying (about 1,100). Again, learning this stuff is part of investing the time to become an informed collector.


Punkyova - is that a true first or a 35th Anniversary copy? If a true first, first of all - cool!! Second of all, I hope you have clear documentation of your mom's relationship with Harper Lee - it changes your "signed" copy into an "association" copy - i.e., a book inscribed to someone famous or personally close to the author. That is a whole 'nother level of value.

Waterman
11-09-2005, 12:30 PM
Why only in the North? I am genuinely puzzled.

I began teaching in 1969 (in the South) and it was always on my reading list.

You do know that the author was Southern, don't you?
I am aware that the author was Southern, and I apologize for my inappropriate placement of the remark, but my own experiences living in Baton Rouge in 1970 (and I do not pretend, growing up in St. Louis, to have not seen segregation) left a negative opinion.

Waterman
11-09-2005, 12:42 PM
Wordman - great post and it begs the question as to what prices would be associated with famous American works from the 19th Century, like any of Twain's books, etc. Sorry for the hijack but this is fascinating stuff to an obvious neophyte such as myself.

WordMan
11-09-2005, 01:47 PM
Wordman - great post and it begs the question as to what prices would be associated with famous American works from the 19th Century, like any of Twain's books, etc. Sorry for the hijack but this is fascinating stuff to an obvious neophyte such as myself.

Again - you can spend a lifetime learning about this stuff, and my area of expertise is U.S. Lit/Sci-fi after 1950, but I have picked up a few things simply by being exposed to them. Other Dopers like Exapno Mapcase are also informed collectors and might be able to chime in.

Twain - Jumping Frog can go for a ton - $20,000 or more in top shape; Tom Sawyer, too. Huck is really starting to go up in value - if it is a special gift binding it can go for upwards of that amount. The standard-issue green cloth binding is seeing $5,000 and more in top shape, with top-tier dealers often asking for over $10K. The biggest issue with Twain is that many of his books were sold via subscription - a door-to-door salesman would sell the books. As a result, there was no real "first edition" per se for some titles, Huck being most prominent. There are clear "points" that establish relative timing of the printing - printing errors or changes that identify when the book was likely printed within the print run, but that's about it. There are, I think, 4 agreed-upon points that identify a Huck as an "early-state 1st printing" vs. "later-state 1st," but there are over a dozen points that get mentioned frequently.

Melville - Moby-Dick, in 1st U.S. routinely goes for over $25,000. The first U.K. - usually referred to as "The Whale, or Moby-Dick" goes for more - one of the uncommon cases where a title doesn't "follow the flag," i.e., where the edition published in the author's home country is considered more desirable than other editions. In this case, the UK was published first by a significant amount (a year or two?) in a "triple-decker" - in a 3-volume edition. I believe (memory shaky here) that the U.S. first edition was largely destroyed in a warehouse fire, resulting in far fewer copies than originally printed. Melville's other titles - Typee, Billy Budd, Omoo, etc. - are pricey but nowhere near Moby-Dick.

Crane - Red Badge - goes for a lot, but I don't have a firm range. I believe it was published with a dust-jacket and a copy or two still exists with the dj - if so, that would send the price hugely skyward, since dj's back in the day were considered wrapping paper and always thrown out (true until about WW2, which is why Gatsby w/o dj goes for about $2 - 3,000, whereas Gatsby in dj is well over $100K)

Hawthorne - Scarlet Letter - again, I don't really know the history or the price ranges here. I could research it, but am at work - this is all off the top of my head.

Hope this helps...

The Punkyova
11-09-2005, 02:54 PM
WordMan asked
Punkyova - is that a true first or a 35th Anniversary copy? If a true first, first of all - cool!! Second of all, I hope you have clear documentation of your mom's relationship with Harper Lee - it changes your "signed" copy into an "association" copy - i.e., a book inscribed to someone famous or personally close to the author. That is a whole 'nother level of value.

I suspect it's neither. Mom had the opportunity to get me this, and I got what there was. My second-hand understanding is that Miss Lee keeps a small stock of hardcover copies on hand, and autographs them as she wishes. When that stack runs out, her publisher sends her another supply, and so on.

I'm not sure about the association value, sadly. It's inscribed to me, personally. Mom's friend says Miss Lee will personalize a few, on request, and she gave her my name. So I'm third degree (daughter of a friend of a friend). If it's worth documenting something that tenuous, how would I do that? A letter from Miss Lee's friend, perhaps?

Actually, for me the value is mostly that I love the book, and I'm thrilled to have such a personal copy. But now I'm thinking that it ought to be listed separately on my homeowner's insurance. Assuming that's true, where would be the best place to find reputable appraisers?

NoCoolUserName
11-09-2005, 04:30 PM
Wordman - great post and it begs the question as to what prices would be associated with famous American works from the 19th Century, like any of Twain's books, etc. Sorry for the hijack but this is fascinating stuff to an obvious neophyte such as myself.Now ask about "The Wizard of Oz." :)

VeryCoolSpouse collects the Oz series and I bought several early editions (not first but with color plates) for gifts a while back. I did some research about the original book and darned near hurt myself.

WordMan
11-09-2005, 04:31 PM
I suspect it's neither. Mom had the opportunity to get me this, and I got what there was. My second-hand understanding is that Miss Lee keeps a small stock of hardcover copies on hand, and autographs them as she wishes. When that stack runs out, her publisher sends her another supply, and so on.

I'm not sure about the association value, sadly. It's inscribed to me, personally. Mom's friend says Miss Lee will personalize a few, on request, and she gave her my name. So I'm third degree (daughter of a friend of a friend). If it's worth documenting something that tenuous, how would I do that? A letter from Miss Lee's friend, perhaps?

Actually, for me the value is mostly that I love the book, and I'm thrilled to have such a personal copy. But now I'm thinking that it ought to be listed separately on my homeowner's insurance. Assuming that's true, where would be the best place to find reputable appraisers?

Okay - got it. I misunderstood - I think you are right, that is isn't an association copy - hey, it's still a signed copy! If it is not a true first - and if you think it might be, you are welcome to email me and we can talk about it, but the obvious first place to check is on the reverse side of the title page - if it says "Xth printing" then it is clearly not a first - then it is a cool, signed edition and it is probably worth $200 - $600 retail. Note that you couldn't sell it to a dealer for that much, but that is how much they would sell to another person - such is the world of collecting.

Hope this helps.

WordMan
11-09-2005, 04:35 PM
Now ask about "The Wizard of Oz." :)

VeryCoolSpouse collects the Oz series and I bought several early editions (not first but with color plates) for gifts a while back. I did some research about the original book and darned near hurt myself.


Dear Og, yes - the "edition points" on Oz are notoriously complex. I know NOTHING about them other than to be very, very careful when evaluating copies.

For more modern books, Dune and the first U.S. of 100 Years of Solitude are also tough to ID as 1sts.


Sorry for transforming this thread into a First Editions thread - I appreciate everyone's patience and will stop now.

NoCoolUserName
11-10-2005, 10:37 AM
Hey, I can hijack my own darned thread if'n I wanna. I'm still interested in first run numbers, but it looks like we won't be finding that info, dang it.

Oh, note that there was a pre-first run of In Cold Blood of 500 copies for press, friends, etc. A signed edition of that run is worth more.

WordMan
11-10-2005, 10:47 AM
Hey, I can hijack my own darned thread if'n I wanna. I'm still interested in first run numbers, but it looks like we won't be finding that info, dang it.

Oh, note that there was a pre-first run of In Cold Blood of 500 copies for press, friends, etc. A signed edition of that run is worth more.

Again - it depends on what you mean by "first run." As stated in your OP, there were 5,000 copies in the "true" first edition - literally the first print run. It took off in popularity, so MANY more copies were printed that same year, but in later editions. You definitely answered that question yourself. The 5k number is regulary cited in any collecting-oriented discussion of TKaM, such as articles in Firsts magazine.

As for In Cold Blood - yep, you have it right. I have a regular, non-limited, unsigned first, but there was a limited/signed before that. I am pretty sure the non-limited/unsigned first (referred to by collectors as the "first trade edition" since it was the first meant for regular sale) was pretty high for the time, but don't have the number at my fingertips. The book - mainly the dj - shows wear quite easily, so a 1st trade in Fine condition fetches a nice premium.