You might have noticed that I buy a few books. I’m trying to assemble a library of every important (IMHO) science fiction book ever published in first edition hardback (plus selected fantasy and horror titles to boot), but I’m also doing it on the budget of someone who is not made of money. With one exception (a pre-publication Stephen King ultralimited), I’ve never paid more than $400 for any given book. But recently I had to break that rule to buy a copy of not just one of the most important science fiction novels of the 20th century, but one of the most important books ever published: The true Secker & Warburg first edition hardback of George Orwell’s Nineteen Eighty-Four, in an imperfect (but unclipped and almost entirely intact) dust jacket. I bought it from a noted science fiction book dealer for $500 (discounted down from considerably more).
Here are a two scans of the book:
Flaws include slight spine lean, hint of fading to spine panel at top and bottom edges, else fine in a good-only example of the green dust jacket (the other, and generally more desirable cover variant is red, but there’s no priority between the two), with blind-side masking tape reinforcements along portions of top and bottom edges, with show through, most noticeably along top edges of rear panel and flaps and lower edge of rear panel, and shelf wear at head and heel of spine panel, corner tips and along front flap fold.
It’s hard (but obviously not impossible) to find a decent true first of Nineteen Eighty-Four in dust jacket for under a grand.
Now to save up my pennies for a copy of H. P. Lovecraft’s The Outsider and Others…