Ways to find a first edition book?

(Not sure what board to post this on. Mods, please move to another one if appropriate.)

I have a client that uses me for odd research questions. He wants to purchase a first edition, first printing of Ayn Rand’s The Fountainhead. Yes, he’s aware this will set him back some serious money, and he’ll have any copy vetted by an expert before he purchases it. My role is to track down a variety of copies so he has a choice of which to buy.

I need some creative ideas on how to go about finding copies. I have already checked abebooks.com, and done a Google search. I’ll identify and contact any organization of rare book collectors I can find, as well as Ayn Rand fan clubs.

The client wants me to contact the original publisher to see if they can provide help. Unfortunately, that was Bobbs-Merrill, acquired by Sams which was then acquired by Macmillan, which is now listed as defunct. The current publisher for hardcover editions is NAL – I guess I’ll try them, but I’m pretty sure they won’t be any help.

Any other ideas?

You could try a specialist rare book dealer like Bauman.

There are dozens of copies on sale from the top booksellers. (I use bookfinder, a multi-search site.) It’s extremely unlikely you’ll get scammed by them.

However, if you want vetting check with a local member of The Antiquarian Booksellers’ Association of America. They would be happy to track down volumes and stand behind them.

I collected first editions for years and still have a few. Nothing to add - Bookfinder is the way to go. Of the dealers on the page that Exapno linked to, I have bought and sold from Peter Stern in Boston, and am very familiar with Harrington in London.

Bauman’s, like Harrington’s, is premium priced, but top-shelf dealers for folks who don’t see price as an issue. I have not bought from Bauman’s, but sold them many of my books when I was generating funds to buy old guitars :wink:

I have a first edition, first printing, of *The Fountainhead *(as well as her other novels), signed by Rand. You’d have to pry it from my cold, dead hands. As others have suggested, try Bookfinder.

Thanks tremendously all for the help!

My client was already in contact with Bauman, and they are the ones he’ll use to vet the copy before he buys it. (I’m sure he’s paying them for their services, but it’s not my concern. I know they have a copy for sale and are looking for more, but that’s not enough for him – he wants another source.)

I’ll check the sources you’ve cited.