Firsts Magazine on Rare Book Collecting.
The most important single factor in the valuation of a first edition is condition. (Some people go so far as to say it is the only factor.) For modern first editions published since the turn of the Twentieth century, the most important element in pricing is the condition of the dust jacket. The reason for this is obvious: the jacket is the most fragile and vulnerable element of a book.
A hundred years ago, the dust jacket’s only use was to protect the book it covered from damage. That quickly changed when publishers began printing promotional material on dust jackets. In a relatively short period of time—less than 20 years, from roughly the first decade of the Twentieth century to the early 1920s—dust jacket design evolved into a sophisticated sales tool for publishers.
Despite the fact that some of the most wonderful dust jacket art was produced in the first…
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