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Moby Dick; Or, The Whale. by  Herman Melville - First Edition - 1851 - from Raptis Rare Books (SKU: 99735)

Moby Dick; Or, The Whale.

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Moby Dick; Or, The Whale.

by Melville, Herman

  • Used
  • hardcover
  • First
Condition
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Seller rating:
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Palm Beach, Florida
Item Price
$65,000.00
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About This Item

New York: Harper & Brothers, 1851. First edition, first issue binding, with the circular Harper's device of Melville's masterpiece. Octavo, original purple-brown cloth (BAL's A grain), covers stamped in blind with the publisher's circular device at the center within a heavy blind rule frame, original orange-coated endpapers. In near fine condition with some of the usual light foxing and light shelfwear to the spine tips. Housed in a custom half morocco clamshell box. A completely unrestored example of this cornerstone. A superior example.

Synopsis

Melville's classic was first published in England as three volumes titled The Whale in October 1851. Slow sales of Melville's previously books convinced Publisher L. Richard Bentley to reduce the printing to only 500 copies, and of that, only 300 sold in the first 4 months. The remaining unbound sheets were bound in a cheaper casing in 1852, and in 1853 there were still enough remaining sheets to again bind into an even cheaper edition. Melville changed the title to Moby Dick a month later, November 1851, when the American Version was published in one volume by Harper & Brothers in NY. Of the 2,951 copies printed, 125 were review copies. About 1,500 sold in 11 days, but then sales slowed to less than 300 the next year. After two years copies of the first edition were still available, and almost 300 were destroyed in the 1853 fire of Harper's warehouse. Most of the first editions have orange end-papers, although there are 2 known volumes with rare white-endpapers. Because of Nineteenth-century printing practices, and the time-lapse between when the first-editions were published and Melville became collectible, oxidized paper, bumped and chipped spines, and brittle wrappers are all common for even the most expensive and collectible of these books, which can sell from $35,000 to $100,000. Also, expect heavy wear and maybe even minor repair. Another collectible edition is the 1930 first edition illustrated by Rockwell Kent, a three-volume set published by the Lakeside Press with acetate dust jackets in an aluminum slipcase. These range in value from $9,000 to $11,000. A total of 3,215 copies of Moby-Dick were sold during Melville's life (he died in 1891). Today, Moby-Dick is considered one of the greatest American novels. -

Read More: Identifying first editions of Moby Dick; Or, The Whale.

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On Mar 9 2016, a reader said:
Why would this be 600 since the original was in 1851?

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Details

Bookseller
Raptis Rare Books US (US)
Bookseller's Inventory #
99735
Title
Moby Dick; Or, The Whale.
Author
Melville, Herman
Book condition
Used
Binding
Hardcover
Publisher
Harper & Brothers
Place of Publication
New York
Date Published
1851
Keywords
herman melville first edition, moby dick first edition

Terms of Sale

Raptis Rare Books

30 day return guarantee, with full refund including shipping costs for up to 30 days after delivery if an item arrives misdescribed.

About the Seller

Raptis Rare Books

Seller rating:
This seller has earned a 5 of 5 Stars rating from Biblio customers.
Biblio.com member since 2012
Palm Beach, Florida
Ask Seller a Question

About Raptis Rare Books

Founded by Matthew and Adrienne Raptis, Raptis Rare Books is an antiquarian book firm that specializes in literature, children's books, economics, photo books, signed and inscribed books, and landmark books in all fields. Our business model is simple: we strive to handle books that are in exceptional condition and to provide exceptional customer service. We are proud members of the Antiquarian Booksellers Association of America (ABAA) and the International League of Antiquarian Booksellers (ILAB) and exhibit at major book fairs in New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco and Boston, as well as other regional fairs.

Glossary

Some terminology that may be used in this description includes:

device
Especially for older books, a printer's device refers to an identifying mark, also sometimes called a printer's mark, on the... [More]
Cloth
"Cloth-bound" generally refers to a hardcover book with cloth covering the outside of the book covers. The cloth is stretched... [More]
morocco
Morocco is a style of leather book binding that is usually made with goatskin, as it is durable and easy to dye. (see also... [More]
octavo
Another of the terms referring to page or book size, octavo refers to a standard printer's sheet folded four times, producing... [More]
clamshell box
A protective box designed for storing and preserving a bound book or loose sheets. A clamshell box is hinged on one side, with... [More]
First Edition
In book collecting, the first edition is the earliest published form of a book. A book may have more than one first edition in... [More]
shelfwear
Minor wear resulting from a book being place on, and taken from a bookshelf, especially along the bottom edge.
fine
A book in fine condition exhibits no flaws. A fine condition book closely approaches As New condition, but may lack the... [More]
spine
The outer portion of a book which covers the actual binding. The spine usually faces outward when a book is placed on a shelf.... [More]

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