17 Literary Gifts for Book Lovers

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From rare first editions to one-of-a-kind bindings and unpublished illustrations, our curated selection of extraordinary literary gifts are sure to please the book-lover on your holiday shopping list. Click ahead for some of our specialists’ favourites this season, including the first appearance of Harry Potter in book form, an inscribed first edition of Thomas Pynchon's first novel V., and more.

Fine Books & Manuscripts
11 December | New York

English Literature, History, Children's Books & Illustrations
11–12 December | London

History of Science & Technology
12 December | New York

17 Literary Gifts for Book Lovers

  • Anthony Burgess, Uncorrected Proof Copy of A Clockwork Orange. London: Heinemann, 1962. Estimate $1,500–2,500.
    An uncorrected proof copy of Burgess’s dystopian tale about a near-future Britain beset by urban violence, technological excess and authoritarianism. The ending was altered for the American edition published in 1963, with the last chapter (present here) being left out; it was not until 1986 that the novel was reissued with the original ending restored.

  • Oscar Wilde, The Happy Prince. David Nutt, 1888. Estimate £6,000–8,000 ($7,927–10,570).
    The collection of stories that established Wilde’s reputation, here signed by the author and the publisher. Describing the stories in an 1888 letter to novelist and poet George Herbert Kersley, Wilde wrote, “They are studies in prose, put for Romance’s sake into a fanciful form: meant partly for children, and partly for those who have kept the childlike faculties of wonder and joy, and who find in simplicity a subtle strangeness.”

  • Emily Dickinson, Poems. Second and Third Series. Boston: Roberts Brothers, 1891-1896. Estimate $2,500–3,500.
    Edited by her friends T.W. Higginson and Mabel Loomis Todd, these two first editions form part of Dickinson’s posthumously published poetry anthology.

  • Ian Fleming, Casino Royale. Jonathan Cape, 1953. Estimate £10,000–15,000 ($13,212–19,818).
    For the ultimate Bond fan – the first edition of the first James Bond novel that launched the timeless series and media franchise.

  • Ernest Hemingway, In Our Time. Paris: Three Mountains Press, 1924. Estimate $7,000–10,000.
    A first edition of Hemingway's second book, this is copy 107 of 170 numbered copies, and features a half-title with frontispiece woodcut portrait of Hemingway by Lost Generation artist Henry Strater.

  • J.K. Rowling, Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone Uncorrected Proof Copy. Bloomsbury, 1997. Estimate £2,500–3,000 ($3,303–3,964).
    An uncorrected proof copy, this marks the first time that Harry Potter appeared in book form. The author appears as "J.A. Rowling" on the title page. It is generally thought that only 200 copies were printed.

  • Jack Kerouac, On The Road. New York: The Viking Press, [1963]. Estimate $5,000–7,000.
    A wonderful association copy, inscribed by Neal Cassady, who famously served as the model for Dean Moriarty in Kerouac’s landmark American novel. Copies signed by Cassady are uncommon, and the example at hand is inscribed on the half-title, and dated 3 July 1966: “For Art & Jeanne [Stockett], Few, if any, have been more gracious & tolerant of my foibles than you two sweethearts; may your hearts be consecrated in marriage soon. Love Neal. (Dean hissemself!).” Arthur Stockett was a Bay Area bibliophile and collector, and sometime associate of Cassady, Allen Ginsberg and Lawrence Ferlinghetti who was alternately known as “the Colonel.”

  • James Joyce, Ulysses. Paris: Shakespeare and Company, 1922. Estimate £150,000–250,000 ($198,180–330,300).
    A near fine copy of the most desirable issue of the most important and influential English novel of the 20th century. The total edition was limited to 1,000 copies of which 100 were numbered and signed by the author on Dutch handmade paper, 150 numbered and printed on vergé d’Arches and another 750 were merely numbered. By April 1922 the 1/750 issue had sold out, with the stock of the 1/150 issue exhausted by June; this, the most expensive issue of 100 signed copies, had sold out out by August.

  • Thomas Pynchon, V. Philadelphia: J. B. Lippincott, 1963. Estimate $12,000–18,000.
    This first edition of Pynchon's first novel is inscribed and signed on the verso of the half-title to his Boeing colleague and friend Bob Hillock and his wife, “Aug. 1963. To Bob & Ginny, with affection, Tom.”

  • A.A. Milne. Timothy Wolfendale, The Winnie-The-Pooh Stories Sumptuously Bound By Timothy Wolfendale. Estimate £20,000–30,000 ($26,424–39,636).
    The ultimate, one-of-a-kind binding of Milne’s classic, these first editions of Winnie-the-Pooh and The House at Pooh Corner are encased in fine green and blue goatskin with relief scenes depicting Pooh, Christopher Robin and other characters, and featuring sterling silver and 9-carat gold onlays and embellishments. Timothy Wolfendale has been a bookbinder for over 25 years and works from a small workshop in rural Cambridgeshire.  

  • Alexander Calder, A Collection Of Three Alexander Calder Exhibition Catalogues, One Inscribed. New York And Paris: 1944, 1946, 1947. Estimate $1,200–1,800.
    A perfect gift for the art aficionado, this collection of Alexander Calder catalogues comes with one inscribed by the artist. It also contains the first appearance of Sartre’s essay “Les Mobiles de Calder.”

  • Henry James, Daisy Miller. A Study. New York: Harper & Brothers, 1879 [1878]. Estimate £8,000–12,000 ($10,570–15,854).
    An extremely rare first issue of one of the scarcest of all Henry James first editions. Daisy Miller was previously serialised in the Cornhill Magazine between June and July 1878 (with two unauthorised periodical appearances before this).

  • Charles Dickens, A Christmas Carol. In Prose. Being A Ghost Story Of Christmas. London: Chapman & Hall, 1843. Estimate $6,000–8,000.
    A beautiful copy of the first edition of Dickens’ perennially popular novella, which almost single-handedly invented the modern idea of Christmas.

  • Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, Original Unpublished Watercolour for the Character of the "Little Prince." Estimate £40,000–60,000 ($52,848–79,272).
    Depicting the protagonist of one of the most beloved children's books of all time, this preparatory watercolour of the Little Prince was originally gifted by Saint-Exupéry to Silvia Hamilton (later Reinhardt), who inspired aspects of Saint-Exupéry’s tale. Saint-Exupéry wrote The Little Prince while he was living in New York for two years in 1941–43. During this period, he had a relationship with Hamilton. He would often visit her late at night, and she would make him gin and scrambled eggs. During those visits, he wrote and illustrated the bulk of The Little Prince. Hamilton was the model for the character of the fox, who uttered the book’s often-quoted line, “What is essential is invisible to the eye.” Her black poodle provided fodder for the sheep character, and her mop-topped doll, the Little Prince himself.

  • Charles Darwin, The Works of Charles Darwin. London: John Murray, 1888-92. Estimate $2,000–3,000.
    An attractive set of Darwin’s most important works, including Journal of Researches; On the Origin of Species; Expression of Emotions in Plants and Animals; and Insectivorous Plants.

  • J.R.R. Tolkien, [The Lord Of The Rings Trilogy] — The Fellowship Of The Ring. — The Two Towers. — The Return Of The King. London: George Allen & Unwin Ltd., 1954, 1955, 1955. Estimate $15,000–20,000.
    First editions of all three volumes of the greatest work of modern fantasy. While serving in the trenches in the First World War Tolkien conceived of these tales set in a “secondary World,” for consolation and pleasure; they developed over a period of 40 years into an epic narrative. The Lord of the Rings has been read as an allegory for multiple good-versus-evil conflicts: post-World War I and the rise of Hitler, Christian myth, even the environment, with the Dead Marshes reflecting Tolkien’s despair over the desolation wreaked by military technology.

  • Bobby Fischer, My 60 Memorable Games. New York: Simon And Schuster, 1969. Estimate $2,000–3,000.
    A publisher’s advanced copy of the first edition, this copy was signed by Bobby Fischer and Larry Evans, International Grandmaster.  


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