The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger

The first edition of The Catcher in Rye by J.D. Salinger was published in 1951 by Little, Brown and Company in New York. It now regarded as one of the most important works of fiction of the 20th century.

It was bound in black cloth with silver lettering. The dust jacket is red and white with a horse and yellow and black lettering. The rear panel of the dust jacket has a photo of Salinger.
Priced at $3.00.

First Edition Points:

  • Published by Little, Brown and Company
  • Date on title page
  • Stated “FIRST EDITION” on copyright page
  • $3.00 price on front flap (probably not necessary)
  • Photo of Salinger on back panel of dust jacket
  • No mention of the book of the month club on the front flap (although First Printings do have a statement on bottom of the the rear flap that says “A Book of the Month Club Selection”. That doesn’t mean it is a book club edition.)
  • Some state that the early printings have a slightly taller dj than the First Printing had.
  • Be on the lookout for FACSIMILE dust jackets. If it looks too new it probably is. The paper used in facsimile dust jackets is general fairly different from the original dust jackets. Also look for the letters FEL somewhere on the front or rear dj flaps. If it has the letters it is a facsimile (copy).

Later printings are stated like this:

Published July 1951
Reprinted July 1951 (five times)
Reprinted August 1951 (three times)
Reprinted September 1951 (twice)

The book in this example is the 11th printing. By the fourteenth printing they were stated like “fourteenth printing.”

Book Club Editions are stated on the front dust jacket flap and have no price. Early Book Club editions with Salinger’s photo on the rear panel of the dust jacket are quite collectible and sought after. More so than even To Kill a Mockingbird.

Value:

Fine, $30,000 to $35,000
Very Good, $7,500
Early Printings are valuable: Prices range from $1000 or more for a nice second printing to about $100 for a tenth printing or so.
Book Club Edition (with Salinger photo): $250 for a VG copy.

First Editions on Abebooks and Ebay

18 Comments

  1. TJ Bowman said:

    I have a first edition Catcher In The Rye.
    How do I find a buyer?

    June 30, 2014
    Reply
    • gutenburg said:

      TJ: Sorry to be so late. I would sell it on Ebay but you could try calling some highend booksellers.

      April 22, 2015
      Reply
  2. Eddie said:

    Do you happen to know what the original Production run (how many copies were originally printed of the first printing) were for
    “The Catcher In The Rye?” Thanks!

    March 20, 2015
    Reply
    • gutenburg said:

      Eddie,

      I don’t have an answer for how many copies were printed in the original run. I doubt it would have been more than 10,000 but it’s hard to say. Someone may know but in my quick research I couldn’t find anything.

      April 22, 2015
      Reply
  3. Valarie said:

    What is a first edition, first printing worth without a dustjacket?
    Thanks,
    valarie

    June 15, 2015
    Reply
    • gutenburg said:

      Valerie:

      It depends on the condition. A very nice copy would sell for over $1,500 and a poor copy might sell for $400.

      June 22, 2015
      Reply
  4. Joanne said:

    I have a 14th printing (it doesn’t say that but it was reprinted in March 1952 and the prints add up to 14) without a dust jacket. It has someone’s name on the cover plate but otherwise in good condition. Can you estimate the value?
    Thanks,
    Joanne

    August 27, 2015
    Reply
    • gutenburg said:

      Joanne:

      A 14th printing without a dust jacket should be worth about $40.

      October 2, 2015
      Reply
  5. James croft said:

    Hi,
    I just bought a Catcher In The Rye book for my daughter. It has an original dust jacket but it has a blank cream colored back (no bar code). The copyright page has 1945, 1946, and 1951 only. There are no other prints or numbers below.
    Also the dust jacket has no price and there is no mention of book club. What might this edition # be?

    Also, what might the value be? It’s in overall Good condition for the age.

    Thanks in advance, James.

    November 29, 2015
    Reply
    • gutenburg said:

      James: It’s probably a much later printing, and probably a book club edition.

      March 18, 2016
      Reply
  6. Randy said:

    I have a 1951 with no picture of Salinger anywhere on dust jacket or price. Basicly, all it says inside is: Copyright 1945, 1946, 1951 and Published simultaneously in Canada by McClellan and Stewart. Although it doesn’t say, is this a first edition? What do I have?

    December 17, 2015
    Reply
    • gutenburg said:

      Randy: It would be a later printing, maybe much later and a book club edition.

      March 18, 2016
      Reply
  7. Kathy said:

    I have a copy of “the Catcher in the Rye”. There is no photon the back of dustjacket.On copyright page has 43KI 0I20I. Is this a first edition.

    December 23, 2015
    Reply
    • gutenburg said:

      Kathy: No, it would be a much later printing, probably recent.

      March 18, 2016
      Reply
  8. Michael said:

    Only book club edition on jacket; no printing date. Thoughts

    February 10, 2016
    Reply
    • gutenburg said:

      Michael: Book club editions of Catcher in The Rye are not worth much unless there is a photo of Salinger on the back. Most likely you have a much later book club edition.

      March 18, 2016
      Reply
  9. mario said:

    Hi, came across a 1951 that states reprinted july 1951 (4 times). I assume it is the 5th printing of the 1st edition. It has no dust jacket and the title on the binding is very faded. Otherwise it is in very good condition. There is a little browning on the inside covers but otherwise there are no markings or damage to any of the pages. Is it possible to tell if it is a trade or BC edition without the dust jacket and what would a fair value be if I was interested in selling it. Thank you

    February 15, 2016
    Reply
    • gutenburg said:

      Mario:
      Yes, 5th printing. It would be a trade edition as book club printings of this book do not mention printings. As far as the value I would say $75.

      March 18, 2016
      Reply

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *