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The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck

Grapes of Wrath first edition

The first edition of The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck was published in 1939 by The Viking Press in New York. It was published to instant acclaim, is a Pulitzer Prize winner, and remains one of the great highspots in literature.

First Edition Points:

  • Published by Viking Press
  • “FIRST PUBLISHED IN APRIL 1939″ on copyright page
  • No mention of later printings
  • Dust jacket has $2.75 price in top corner and stated first edition in bottom corner of front flap

Later printings are stated but Book Club editions do not have any printing statements.
If your copy does not mention “”FIRST PUBLISHED IN APRIL 1939″ on the copyright page it is either a book club edition or a much later printing.

Grapes of Wrath first edition copyright page








Value: Fine, $12,500 to $15,000, Very Good, $2000 to $3000

First Editions of this book on Abebooks

First Editions of this book on Biblio

Goldstone, Adrian H.; Payne, John R. John Steinbeck: A Bibliographical Catalogue Of The Adrian H. Goldstone Collection. Austin: University of Texas Press, 1974.

30 Responses to “The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck”

  1. 1

    We are trying to get some info about a copy of “The Grapes of Wrath” by John Steinback. We think it may be a 1st edition. Any comments are welcome. We have a photo we can send if anyone can help.

  2. 2

    I will contact you with my email address so you can send me the photo.

  3. 3

    I have a grapes of wrath that says “copyright 1939, by John Steinbeck printed on the united states of America.” but there is nothing else printed. How can I tell if it would have any value

  4. 4

    We have a copy that doesn’t have a dust jacket, but it’s a hardcover in pristine condition, the spine says The Grapes of Wrath, John Steinbeck, Viking Press, and the cover has the family looking towards the mountains what looks like carved into the cover. It states copyright, 1939, printed in the United States. No mention of later printings.

    Is this a first edition, and if so, without the dustjacket, what would be the approximate value?

  5. 5

    Stephan: You have a Book Club Edition which is worth about $5.

  6. 6
    Danny Van Meter:


    I have a series of four books published by Collier, one book for distribution in Canada. No dust covers. Books are in really good shape with a few pages that have been corner folded but I don’t believe dog earred. I see no tears. Bindings are intact. Overall good condition.

    Book cover is brown John Steinbeck written in red with a blue house, fence and billowy clouds or mountains with snow.

    The 4 books are

    1. The Moon is down and short stories
    2. In dubious battle
    3. Of mice and men and short stories
    4. The grapes of wrath (Canadian distribution)

    I’ve checked EBAY and see only one copy Of mice & men 1937 same Collier book cover reprint for $14.

    Is there any additional value for these books because of Canadian distribution.

    Thanks for your response.

    Danny Van Meter
    St. George UT

  7. 7

    Danny: I don’t think Canadian distribution would be any difference as this is a reprint publisher with little value. They are likely worth between $15-$30 for the set.

  8. 8
    Bart Jurgens:

    I have a copy that states Book Club edition but is in a brown cover which mentions the Nobel Prize. It states next to the Book Club notation at the bottom of the dust jacket the number 592. The back flap has 8 reviews. States copyright 1939. Not interested in selling it but more curious about the fact that I cannot find any info on this cover.

  9. 9

    I have a Viking Press 1939 Grapes of Wrath. On the Copyright page it has the following:

    Copyright, 1939, by John Steinbeck
    Printed in the United States of America

    Can anyone offer any insight as to what version this book is? Is it a first edition?

  10. 10
    jayne mcconnell:

    Hello, I have a copy of The Grapes of Wrath, no dust jacket and was told by a book store owner that it was a 1st edition copy. I’ve looked on the internet but can’t find an exact match. On the title page it has: The Grapes of Wrath John Steinbeck The Viking Press New York & then the following page has: To Carol who willed this book To Tom who lived it & at the bottom of that page it has: Copyright, 1939, by John Steinbeck Printed in the United States of America. Can you provide me any information regarding this book and what the value might be? It is in very good condition and I could send you pictures if that would help.

    Thank you very much,
    Jayne McConnell

  11. 11

    Jayne: If it doesn’t have the line “FIRST PUBLISHED IN APRIL 1939″ on copyright page it is either a book club edition or perhaps a later printing after the 1940′s. But it sounds like yours is a book club edition.

  12. 12

    Jeff: I am pretty certain that you have a book club edition. Definitely not an early printing.

  13. 13

    I have a verified first edition, “First Published in April 1939″ with a very good dust jacket. I have someone who wants to take it on consignment to a show in Baltimore. How exactly does that work?

  14. 14
    Brandi R:

    I have a question about a copy of The Grapes of Wrath that I own – I can’t seem to find any reference to a edition that has the following dedication/copyright page –

    who willed this book.

    who lived it.

    Copyright, 1939, by John Steinbeck
    Printed in the United States of America

    Any help would be greatly appreciated!

  15. 15

    Brandi: You have a book club edition.

  16. 16

    I have a copy of Grapes. It is a blue hard cover with “JS” stamped on the front and the side, with gold decorative. It is wrapped in shrink wrap so I don’t want to open it. Any information on this.

  17. 17
    wallace weatherford:

    I have The Grapes of Wrath Viking Press Printed inside the COPYRIGHT 1939 BY JOHN STEINBECK

    The Book is in great condition. It does not have a cover jacket. Can anyone tell me what the average value of this book is since it is a first publication with the April 1939 printed inside. Thank You

  18. 18

    what is the “first state ” of the dust jacket? My copy has the correct price and the “first edition” on the flap but appearently there is another point about advertizing. Would you know? thank you

  19. 19
    Shorty Red:


    I have a question. I am like many others that have the “Book Club Edition”, I know it is not the first edition but it was published the same year as the first print, why doesn’t it hold atleat a little more value than the $5.00 so many place on it? It has been around for atleast the same amount of time and it is a treasure story? I don’t know if later editions had changes or not, but I would think that every year fewer of these copies are around.

    I truly hope to receive a reply, I am quite curious.


  20. 20

    I have a copy of the Grapes of Wrath that includes copyright 1939, By John Steinbeck, and it also says random house publishing – the modern library. Is this a book club edition?

  21. 21
    greg barker:

    I have a book that says copyright 1939 by john steinbeck,printed in USA by stratford press,distributed in Canada, by the macmillan company of canada, ltd, first published in april 1939, second printing before publication.. it has no cover on book, but is in good shape.. can you tell me what it is worth? thanks

  22. 22
    Paul Bedard:

    I have a copy of “The Grapws of Wrath by John Steinbeck”. The copywright page says copywright 1939 first published in April 1939…….fourth printing 1939 through ninth printing 1939. The next page says to Carol who willed this book to Tom who lived it. The book is in excellent condition. Can you tell me its value?
    Thank you,
    Paul Bedard

  23. 23


    I have a Grapes of Wrath book that says is was published by Random House, copywright 1939. Also says Random House is the publisher for The Modern library.
    It does seem to be a book for a library as it still has the check out log in the back.
    It is in very good condition, but no dust cover.

    Can you tell me what it may be worth?

  24. 24
    Sheri VanOpdorp:

    Hello, my daughter found for $2.00 at a garage sale a book w/o the dust jacket called The Grapes of Wrath. It’s in amazing shape, on the cover is: dark brown with blue outline of clouds, and the top of a cabin. In the center is John Steinbeck in a dif brown. It says COPYRIGHT, 1939, BY JOHN STEINBECK DISTRIBUTED IN CANADA BY THE MACMILLAN COMPANY OF CANANDA, LTD. PA. On the bottom of the page it says MANUFACTURED IN THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA. Can you tell me what the value of this book is? Thank you very much for your time…. :)

  25. 25

    I Have a copy of Grapes of Wrath it is signed by an Eleanor Jomrsten or something and dated under the signature June 1939…. the copyright says…

    Copyright 1939 By John Steinbeck
    Printed In USA By Stratford Press
    Distributed in Canada
    By the Macmillan Company of Canada
    First Published in April 1939
    Second printing before publication
    third printing before publication
    forth printing April 1939

    What is this worth it is wore out pretty bad on the outside and has some damage

  26. 26

    It sounds like an Easton Press edition. If so they are quite collectible. You should be able to get at least $75 out of a shrinkwrapped one.

    A Second Printing in nice condition without a dust jacket might be worth about $50. That is what I would try to get if I were selling it.

    If it has the “First Edition” stated on the front flap of the dust jacket that is all that matters. It is a “First State” if it has that. The paragraphs on the flap did change but that doesn’t matter because it is stated “First EDition” on the front flap, making it the “First State”.

    The reason why Book Club Editions do not have much value even though they have the same 1939 copyright date is because none of them were printed in 1939. I am not sure the exact date when the first Book Club Edition came out but it was probably 10 or 15 years later. The copyright date doesn’t change. Book Club editions rarely identify what year they were printed.

    Sarah (and Susan):
    No, it is the Modern Library edition. The Modern Library printed classics in a smaller format at cheaper prices. The value isn’t much, maybe a couple of dollars.

    Since your second printing sounds a bit worse than Wallace’s I would say $30 or $40 but you may be able to get a little more.

    If it doesn’t have a dust jacket you are looking at probably $15 or $20 for a Ninth Printing. With a dust jacket maybe $75 or $100 for a nice one.

    You have a book club edition and unfortunately they are only worth $5 or so.

    You may be able to get $10 on Ebay but it sounds like it is pretty worn so it may not find a buyer.

  27. 27

    I have a first edition grapes of wrath which is signed by Steinbeck. I’d like to determine its value. Any help is appreciated.

  28. 28

    I recently purchased a first edition first printing of The Grapes of Wrath with all the bells and whistles (excluding the dust jacket!) On the spine it has the Viking Press indicated, followed by Viking New York on the cover page and First Printed in April 1939 with the Battle Hymn of the Republic scores on the front and back inside covers. I’m not interested in selling it, but just out of curiosity how much would it be worth? The spine and cover are very clear, very minimal staining, no pencil or other markings in the book and no board separation. Overall a Very Fine copy.

  29. 29

    How much would a first edition first printing without the dust jacket be worth? No internal writing, bright boards, very little scuffs or marks.

  30. 30


    It depends on whether it has a dust jacket and what the condition is. I think if the condition is good and there is no dust jacket perhaps it would be worth $5,000. The buyer would probably buy another copy of the first printing with a nice dust jacket and marry the dust jacket from the unsigned one to the signed one. A nice copy signed in dust jacket would probably be worth $20,000 to $25,000. If you are not a well known dealer, you may be able to sell it for $15,000. These prices are only if it is the first printing.

    It sounds like a pretty nice copy but definitely not Very Fine. Very Fine indicates basically as new. An as new copy without the dust jacket would sell for probably $1,000 but it sounds like you have a Very Good copy which might sell for $250 to $300. I sold a slightly lesser one on Ebay for about $200.

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