RARE BOOK GUIDE - THE RUNNERS, THE RIDERS & THE ODDS
23 April 2007
Frankenstein: or the Modern Prometheus. Mary Shelley 1818.
Mary Shelley. FRANKENSTEIN: OR THE MODERN PROMETHEUS. 3 Volumes. Lackington, Hughes, Harding, Macor and Jones. London 1818.
Current Prices $100000-$180000 / £55000-£90000
CLASSIC LITERATURE /HORROR
You can chance on the 1831 one volume edition in its brown Bentley cloth, but the 3 volume 1818 edition is always going to be found only in locked cabinets, safes and vaults...Not exceptionally rare but exceptionally expensive as a first edition in its original 3 volume format from 1818. The supreme masterpiece of Gothic literature, greater than the Castle of Otranto, sometimes put forward as the first SF novel, although in its way it is a polemic against the 'hubris of modern science.' Written at the age of 18 when she was first married to Percy. A massive name in popular culture - the price of the book has rocketed due to its iconic status and the trend for collecting famous titles (especially movie related) and landmark books. Results are however not predictable, see below. Other spin offs are worth looking out for especially Michael Egremont's 'The Bride of Frankenstein'  worth several hundred pounds sans jacket and alot more with (rumours of $7500 - one hell of a jacket.)
VALUE? It has recently made as much as $120K in auction and a remarkable 'superlatively fine' copy 1818 three decker can be found on the web for the price of a footballer's Bentley. God's copy. Talking of Bentley, the one vol 3rd edition and first illustrated from the publisher Bentley (1831) is a nice book to find and again not rarissimo ( copies seem to go for as much as $15K.) 16 copies of the 1818 first have shown up in auction in the last 30 years making from $1500 to $120,000 with one copy making $85000 + auctioneer's commission in original publisher's boards as far back as 1991. Results have not followed the perfect financial upward curve as such books as "Origin of Species" and "Wealth of Nations''- the market in horror being a little more quirky.
This is a re-jig of an earlier posting fom Dec 2006. Since then another 3 decker has come to the web, the one volume books seems to have gone ahead in value a little, and there is a tacky 1930s 'Bride' at a stonking $1400 sans jacket. Without the jacket the Egremont book is not scarce - we have had 4 copies in this new century. I am doing some re-jigs because I don't have alot of time with 20000 books to price and also these posts are in need of a new look now that I understand all this jpg and html stuff better. Apologies if you have already seen them but new content guaranteed. They are 'firsts thus.' [ W/Q **** ]