01 Jun 2012 at 5:19 pm #142901 Jun 2012 at 7:09 pm #1430
A lot of us here have a knowledge of collectible editions of McCarthy’s work, with the help of some resources such as the article on prices and first edition points to be noted in McCarthy’s works appearing in FIRSTS: THE BOOK COLLECTOR’S MAGAZINE.
What’s your question?
01 Jun 2012 at 8:52 pm #1433
Thank you for your reply Richard. I have what appears to be a 1st edition of Blood Meridian.
I am bracing myself for the let down, realizing that chances are slim that I have the real deal.
Here’s the specs:
It says “First Edition” on the copyright page under the numbers 24689753.
Inside front dust jacket says “$17.95″
Back bottom right corner of dust jacket says “394-54482-x”
No remainder marks.
It is in pristine condition.
So two questions I guess:
1.] How do I authenticate this?
2.] Is it valuable?
Any help would be appreciated. I know it would be too good to be true so I am not getting my hopes up!
Thanks in advance!
02 Jun 2012 at 5:18 am #1440
That appears to be a first edition based on the edition statement alone. It’s consistent with Random House’s marking scheme at the time. There were somewhere around 5,000 of those printed, but only about 1,500 sold. The rest were remaindered.
Check the jacket closely. That’s easier to fake than the book, and it generally represents 90% of the value of a book like this one. I don’t have points or anything specific for you to look for. Just be aware that you can make a good copy of a book jacket with a copy machine. So look for signs proving the jacket has been with that book. Color stains on the inside from the boards—things like that.
For a book of Blood Meridian‘s scarcity and value, a non-remaindered pristine copy in like jacket would be a great find indeed.
If you tell me you found it in a used bookshop, I want to shop in your neighborhood.
WebmasterQuote02 Jun 2012 at 9:55 am #1444
Thank you so much for your help.
Judging by the slight wear at the top of the spine of the dust jacket and the slight discoloration inside the top edge of the jacket I believe that this is real. Also the provenance of the book lends credence to its legitimacy.
I cannot believe the condition of this book! If it wasn’t for the bookmark about a third of the way in, I wouldn’t think this book was ever opened! The lot of books I got this with also had a hardcover of Suttree and Child of God but they looked like used books and I didn’t really give them a second glance.
Back to my Blood Meridian find. I see that people are trying to sell these online for between $3,000-$5,000. [Mine looks like it is in better shape than the ones I saw for sale.] Is it so rare I should think about donating it to someplace that would put it on display for other McCarthy lovers to enjoy or do I put this in a safety deposit box for my kids to fight over when I’m gone?
02 Jun 2012 at 12:33 pm #1450
Prior to All the Pretty Horses, it’s thought that none of McCarthy’s novels sold more than 2,000 copies in hardcover. So they are all exceptionally rare and quite valuable. And there really aren’t complications with the editions because none of those early books HAD second hardcover printings.
So I’d look at Suttree and Child of God too.
I’ve only ever seen about four copies of Blood Meridian in first edition. One of those was at the Witliff Collection.
The book market is unpredictable, but my opinion is that Blood Meridian isn’t going to lose value. It’s so scarce and so well thought of already that it’s a safe bet. I’d consider yourself lucky and decide whether you want to get into collecting McCarthy; you have the beginnings of a serious collection from that box.
And about that: condition, condition, condition.
WebmasterQuote02 Jun 2012 at 2:03 pm #1452
Thank you for your time and help. I feel like I have hit the literary lottery- and with my favorite author no less!
I spent the morning going through this collection of books with a much more critical eye and found a few more gems, although certainly nothing on the level of my McCarthy finds. I found some first editions of some other authors, tons of Civil War books, local (Tennessee/Georgia) history, and tons of Penguin Classics paperbacks… yum yum!
02 Jun 2012 at 7:17 pm #1453
The BLOOD MERIDIAN certainly sounds valuable (along with the SUTTREE and the CHILD OF GOD too). The provenance and proof of provenance can be important too and, depending on what it is, can add value to the books. It is best to document everything as well as you can.
We’ve heard of counterfeit and stolen copies of BLOOD MERIDIAN, though I have never seen one if any exist. I have seen some unremaindered copies pass through ebay, commanding high prices over the years. These days, the prices you see on Ebay are small in comparison to what you see at an auction, and no doubt some undisclosed private sales are even higher. A reseller such as Ken Lopez Books can easily find a buy for such an item, but they will naturally demand a fee.
Condition, as Marty says, is critical. Fading, a smoke odor attached to the book, marks or tears of any nature–such things need to be noted prior to any resale.
03 Jun 2012 at 12:25 pm #1463
Richard and Marty: Thank you so much for your insights. I am cautiously very excited. One last question: I would like to get someone to look at these books to authenticate them. Does one simply look for a nearby rare/collectible book dealer in the Yellowpages? Do you send pictures to someone?
I am working on writing out a little piece on how I got these books. It’s a great little story. Basically a book-lover’s fairy tale. I’ll shoot you gentlemen a copy of it when I’m through! Thanks again for your help!
05 Jun 2012 at 10:40 am #1498
You can send pictures to me if you like, though if the three McCarthys are Random House hardcovers with the first edition dustjackets, it follows that they are first editions, as Marty says, because there were no reprintings and no bookclub or other replica editions.
I assume that these are not ex-library books but from a private collection.
28 Oct 2013 at 3:17 pm #4390
Fresh from the mail today is the November 2013 issue of FIRSTS: THE BOOK COLLECTOR’S MAGAZINE. In the POINTS section is a letter from Bob Maddux, Squid Ink Books, Tucson, AZ. The gist of it:
“Lately I have become concerned about forgeries because there are many forged Cormac McCarthy signatures floating around the marketplace. I have learned this in a very painful and expensive way. I sold to a prominent Santa Fe dealer, Nicholas Porter, a signed trilogy set that I had bought from a rare and collectable bookstore in Denver. These eventually came back to Nick with questions about the signatures.”
“He held on to these and several other books for McCarthy to examine. McCarthy declared that the set I bought in Denver were forgeries, as well as the other titles that Nick had been holding. Our conclusion was that a forger had been selling McCarthy titles to high-end bookstores up and down the Front Range for a number of years. McCarthy knows, and is upset by the fact that there are a lot of forged signatures of his out there in the market.”
Robin H. Smiley, in his reply, says in part:
“The only answer to your question that makes any sense is to demand provenance for signed copies, especially if the seller is unknown, and/or if there is any question about the authenticity of the signature. . .”
“One other thought: This problem would seem to me to increase the desirability of the signed limited editions of McCarthy’s books published by B. E. Trice. In these copies there is no question that the signature is genuine.”
05 Dec 2013 at 9:39 pm #4839
Just recently I purchase a 1st printing hardcover of Cormac McCarthy’s “Stonemason” that was “signed”. However, upon receiving it, it looks a bit off to me. I’ve tried uploading a few pics for you all to scrutinize but I’m having issues with the uploading option. Anyway, once I get it figured out, I’ll try to get it up on here and hopefully some of you will be able to determine whether or not it’s legit. I have a feeling it’s not, even though the bookseller (bought it through abebooks) told me that it is and that he’s a friend of Cormacs. ..yeah. $150 down the drain.
09 Dec 2013 at 1:52 pm #4859
- This reply was modified 3 months ago by ewc.
Re: “. . .hopefully some of you will be able to determine whether or not it’s leggit.”
Just one man’s opinion: Collecting autographs is an iffy business. I’ve owned quite a few autographed copies in my time, and it is a personal thing or it is nothing. If you are buying books to own, to reread and peruse later in life–that is one thing. If you are buying books as an investment, to resell later–that is another thing entirely.
Long ago, I made this list of autograph related fiction and non-fiction:
Most of the time, the autographs become McGuffins; that is, things of no import which become important because, as in THE MALTESE FALCON, enough people at one time or another deem them fashionable and perhaps historic and perhaps rare and valuable. But, let’s face it, they have no intrinsic value.
Moreover, a lot of the fakes are so good that you cannot distinguish them from the genuine, as few sign their name exactly the same way twice.
There are special signed editions which you can relay on. Normally, the provenance of the book, proven by documentation of date, time, and place of signing, will enhance a book’s resale value. But buying them cold off the internet or from some stranger, you only get what you pay for, you take your chances based upon some story, always a McGuffin.
Life is long and full of salemanship.
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