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Moby-Dick; or, The Whale by  Herman MELVILLE - First Edition - 1851 - from Lorne Bair Rare Books and Biblio.com

Moby-Dick; or, The Whale

by MELVILLE, Herman

Condition: See description


New York: Harper and Brothers, 1851. First Edition. Hardcover. A firm, unsophisticated copy of Melville's masterpiece, preceded by a three-volume London edition a month earlier. The American edition was 3000 copies, but the book sold poorly, and many unsold copies were reputedly destroyed in a warehouse fire in 1854. BAL 13664. GROLIER AMERICAN 60. Octavo (19cm); Blanck's first binding of slate A cloth with embossed circular publisher's device to front and rear boards; [i-xxiv], [1]-[635] + 6pp. publisher's ads. Original orange-coated endpapers. A good, unrestored copy. Spine has faded to tan, with consequent dulling to gilt; small losses to cloth at spine ends, joints and board edges, with one small, old inexpert repair to cloth at base of spine. Front free endpaper with a ca. 1/2" abrasion, apparently the result of an ill-advised erasure, which has further suffered an undignified later attempt at re-coloring. Scattered foxing within, but text generally fresh and tight. Bookplate of Miriam Dyer-Bennett to front pastedown. In custom morocco and marbled paper clamshell box.


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 collectable, oxidized paper, bumped and chipped spines, and brittle wrappers are all common for even the most expensive and collectable of these books, which can sell from $35,000 to $100,000. Also expect heavy wear and maybe even minor repair. Another collectable 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. -


  • Bookseller: Lorne Bair Rare Books US (US)
  • Bookseller Inventory #: 17039
  • Title: Moby-Dick; or, The Whale
  • Author: MELVILLE, Herman
  • Format/binding: Hardcover
  • Book condition: Used
  • Quantity available: 1
  • Edition: First Edition
  • Binding: Hardcover
  • Publisher: Harper and Brothers
  • Place: New York
  • Date published: 1851


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

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Glossary

Some terminology that may be used in this description includes:
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]
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. A...[more]
bookplate
Highly sought after by some collectors, a book plate is an inscribed or decorative device that identifies the owner, or former o...[more]
Cloth
"Cloth-bound" generally refers to a hardcover book with cloth covering the outside of the book covers.The cloth is stretched ove...[more]
edges
The collective of the top, fore and bottom edges of the text block of the book, being that part of the edges of the pages of a ...[more]
BAL
Bibliography of American Literature (commonly abbreviated as BAL in descriptions) is the quintessential reference work for any s...[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 Goatsk...[more]
marbled paper
Decorative colored paper that imitates marble with a veined, mottled, or swirling pattern. Commonly used as the end papers or co...[more]
First Edition
In collecting, the first edition is the earliest published form of a book. A book may have more than one first edition in cases ...[more]
octavo
Another of the terms referring to page or book size, octavo refers to a standard printer's sheet folded four times, producing ei...[more]
tight
Used to mean that the binding of a book has not been overly loosened by frequent use....[more]
device
Especially for older books, a printer's device refers to an identifying mark, also sometimes called a printer's mark, on the tit...[more]

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