Emma by Jane Austen
I noted that in the latest edition of Writers News, a first edition of Jane Austen's novel 'Emma' is going up for auction at Sotheby's this month with an estimated £100,000 price tag. By nature, I'm a bit of a researcher so I thought I'd dig around a little on first editions. After all, it's a lot of money for one book, one very old book but one of great standing nevertheless. When I typed my query into Google, the first hit was a link to the Mail on-line dating back to June 2008. A first edition of this novel had then been sold at auction for a staggering £180,000.
I continued to dig and discovered that although there is no record of how many first editions there would have been, it was probably no more than a thousand copies. 'Emma' has been heralded as one of Austen's finest works so it's no wonder that fans of her work would pay a princely sum to get their hands on a copy, even if they could source one at a fifth of the price they go for at auction. It made me wonder who would be paying that kind of money and what did they expect in return? Perhaps nothing. Perhaps if you have that kind of resource available for a book which probably needs some kind of ongoing protection to preserve it, then you don't need to explain your motives.
Why am I pondering the unponderable I hear you asking? Well as Writers Abroad has just published its first edition of short stories, it made me wonder if, in years to come, Sotheby's would be clambering to get hold of a prized copy. After all, to date, only 30 have been published, making them rarer than hens teeth. No? You don't agree? Perhaps not, but one can have dreams you know...
It's good to be back, by the way and I'm looking forward to celebrating the highs of 2010 and planning the future for 2011.
Don't Think Just Write