1869 "Little Women" Books | Roadshow Archive

September 13, 2013 – 09:43
Little Women by Louisa M. Alcott Copyright 1926

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Update 12.19.2011: We contacted appraiser Stephen Massey for an updated appraisal of this object in today's market.• Current Appraised Value: $3, 000 - $5, 000 (Unchanged)

Appraisal Video: (2:42)

Appraisal Transcript: APPRAISER: I see you've brought two little books with you today. GUEST: Yeah.

APPRAISER: They're very aptly titled, Little Women. Can you tell me how you got these books?

GUEST: My grandpa gave it to my grandma for Christmas. Her name was Jo, and she was also a writer. Like in the book.

APPRAISER: Right, like in the book, Little Women. Exactly.

GUEST: And my aunts all have one of the names in the book. My grandma gave it to my aunt and my aunt gave it to me.

APPRAISER: Well, do you know what I mean when I'm mentioning the word "first editions"?

GUEST: It was one of the first ones printed.

APPRAISER: Good. That's exactly right. And Little Women was written by Louisa May Alcott. And it was first published in Boston in 1868. And it was so popular and sold so many copies that she wrote a sequel, "part the second, " that was published in 1869. So what you've got here, by gift from your aunt, is an 1869 first edition, second state of Little Women, and a proper first edition of the second. And the two are in their original cloth binding as published. Sadly, there's some wear to the book. But many copies that I've seen have got handling wear, fading of the purple on the spine and covers. And this part one, which is the more important one, has got a long tear around here and some wear at the head and foot of spine. The value of this set, for auction purposes, I would put at $3, 000 to $5, 000. Now, do you have any questions for me about the books?

GUEST: Yes. Um, why is there tissue paper right here?

APPRAISER: Now that's a very good question. This is called a frontispiece, the first illustration in the book. It faces the title page. And this tissue is there to prevent the print offsetting onto the title, making an image of the picture onto here. Have you read them?

GUEST: No.

APPRAISER: Well, I suggest that if you do want to read them, you don't read these actual copies of the book.

GUEST: Mm-hmm.

APPRAISER: Because they'd be too valuable. And thank you very much for coming in.

Source: www.pbs.org

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