Recent First Edition Acquisition: George Orwell’s 1984

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

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8 Responses to “Recent First Edition Acquisition: George Orwell’s 1984”

  1. [...] I finally picked up a copy from a noted SF dealer having a 50% off sale (the same dealer I bought the first edition of Nineteen Eighty-Four from) for [...]

  2. [...] Orwell, George. Nineteen Eighty-Four Secker and Warburg, 1949. See this post for details. [...]

  3. Hunter says:

    Hello, Lawrence. I am a huge fan of this novel. The dystopian theory is a concept that most intrigues me. It is by far my favorite literary concept to read. To boot, Eric Blair is my favorite author for obvious reasons. I am highly interested in obtaining a first edition and was curious if you would be willing to sell your copy. If not, I understand. But if in that case you could supple me with some dealers or contacts of those who are it would be much appreciated. An email would be much appreciated. I look forward to hearing from you.

  4. Lawrence Person says:

    No, this copy is for my personal library. However, other copies of the first edition can be found on Bookfinder, assuming you have enough money to purchase one…

  5. Sophie Mortimer says:

    Dear Lawrence,

    Windmill Books are developing a part-work publication about the Beano and Dandy. Each issue has a strand about the year. In issue 3 we are writing about 1984!

    We would like to use the image of the cover of the first edition of 1984 by George Orwell posted on your site.

    We will credit you if required and credit he publisher.

    Please email me to let me know how you can help and with any questions.

    Please let me know also if any payment is required for usage and if permission is granted.

    Thank you for your assistance.

    I look forward to hearing from you.

    Best wishes,

    Sophie Mortimer
    Picture Manager Windmill Books

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  7. [...] I spent $500 on a first edition of George Orwell’s Nineteen Eighty-Four. [...]

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