What is a First Edition of Prufrock Worth?

atkins-bookshelf-booksIn 1914, Ezra Pound, the foreign editor of Poetry Magazine, urged its editor, Harriet Monroe, to include a poem by a young, unknown poet: “I was jolly well right about [him]. He has sent in the best poem I have yet had or seen from an American. Pray God it be not a single and unique success.He has taken it back to get it ready for the press and you shall have it in a few days… He is the only American I know of who has made what I can call adequate preparation for writing. He has actually trained himself and modernized himself on his own.” About a year later, on June 1, 1915, Monroe published Poetry Magazine, Volume VI, Number III (costing a mere 15 cents; a one year subscription cost $1.50) printed in Chicago by Seymour, Daughaday and Company. The magazine contained 10 poems — one of them being one of the most famous poems in modern literature: The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock by T. S. Eliot.

A first edition of the poem is valued at $5,000. Even more valuable, is a first edition of the poem printed by the Egoist Press Ltd. of London in 1917, valued at $25,000. What makes this small book of poems, titled Prufrock and Other Observations, so valuable is that only 500 were printed. The book is about 6.5 by 9.25 inches, black ink printed on heavy buff wrappers, and 4o pages long (making each page worth $6,250!). A first edition signed by Eliot is worth about $35,000.

Read related post: The Wisdom of Prufrock
The Most Expensive American Book

The World’s Most Expensive Book

For further reading: www.theatlantic.com/past/docs/unbound/poetry/prufrock.htm

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