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.
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.