It may be an ideal opportunity to check around in the attic. Stanley Gibbons, the London-based dealer best known for trading stamps and coins, has compiled a list of 35 first editions of twentieth century classics.
The most expensive book to appear on the list is a first edition of F Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby, which has an estimated value of £246,636. This value applies for a limited edition from the first ever print, in excellent condition and with its original book sleeve.
The list, which is expected to have 30 titles altogether when it is launched, highlights numerous books which later were adapted to films, including Ian Fleming’s Casino Royale, George Orwell’s Animal Farm, and JRR Tolkien’s The Hobbit.
The value of Fitzgerald’s magnus opus is unrivalled; JRR Tolkien’s The Hobbit is named as the second most valuable book in the index at £65,420, double the price it was two years ago. Other titles on the list include James Joyce’s Ulysses, AA Milne’s Christopher Robin books and Evelyn Waugh’s Decline and Fall.
Only one non-fiction first edition book makes the top 30 – JM Keynes’s The General Theory of Employment, Interest and Money, which has a market value of £6,820 in pristine condition.
However, the figures do not take into account auction costs. Typically, a rare book auction house will charge the vendor 15-20 per cent commission to the dealer at both purchase and sale.