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Record-breaking Rand: how Ayn rand can make you rich!

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“I started collecting stamps when I was ten years old,” wrote 69 year old Ayn Rand in blue ink on blue paper, where she proclaimed her passion for philately on a heavily annotated and corrected 16-page manuscript (“Why I Like Stamp Collecting”) offered for sale at The New York Antiquarian Book Fair, the granddaddy of all book fairs. This manuscript along with other Rand treasures bedazzled the Fair, where Ayn Rand commanded record-breaking prices.


My reconnaissance — to locate every Ayn Rand offering – began on Friday with my friend Don Hauptman, who introduced me to Tony Freyberg of Quaker Hill Books, who had graciously offered both of us passes for the day. Serendipitously, Tony was offering for sale another luscious Rand manuscript, the only other at the Fair, one of two missing from the my own collection of Rand’s LA Times articles I am offering for sale through Pen Ultimate Rare Books.


With a noticeably heavier emphasis on “antiquarian” this year, more so than in years past, Rand unquestionably made her presence known. I spied a lovely signed first edition copy of Rand’s courtroom drama, Night of January 16, offered at $2500. First edition copies of Atlas Shrugged — UNsigned — in dust jackets, shaky to stunning, ranged from $4500 to $5900.


An inscribed photograph of Rand, which I’d sold the dealer earlier this year for under $3000, is now asking $5000.


Unsigned first Revised editions of both We the Living and Anthem in a wide range of conditions punctuated the aisles, asking mid-three to low-four figures. I did need to alert one dealer to the error he made (common and unintentional) in characterizing the Second Issue of the First American Edition of Anthem as the “First American Printing”. Just to be precise: Anthem, the rarest of Rand “Firsts,” was originally published in Great Britain by Cassell in 1938, Rand’s British publisher of We the Living. Its first American printing was published as Volume III, Number 1 of the magazine The Freeman, published by Pamphleteers, (1946) in an estimated run of 2000 copies mailed to subscribers. Its copyright page contains the Los Angeles address 725 Venice Boulevard. Later printings contain a different LA address. While the dealer had a lovely copy of the second issue of the first American Anthem, it was grossly overpriced.


To be sure, other, non-Rand items at the Fair tempted sophisticated bibliophiles, sumptuous rarities worthy of manor libraries and museums. Eye candy included illuminated leaves from the 15th century, engravings of the extinct dodo, a hastily scribbled lyric penned by Bob Dylan, and an R. Crumb (who designed the cover of Janis Joplin’s Cheap Thrills album, of which I’ve a copy, signed by Joplin) drawing of him and his wife. How about that later printing of Gone with the Wind signed by all major cast members? Or that first edition copy of Kurt Vonnegut’s Slaughter-House Five, emblazoned with an inscription and self-caricature complete with his ever-present smoking cigarette?


Intoxicating, I suppose, until I saw, illuminated under glass on the top shelf, two mouth-watering first edition copies of The Fountainhead. My heart stopped.


Howard Roark laughed.


The less expensive copy, at $75,000, is the loveliest copy I’ve seen to date. Its binding was strong; its unclipped jacket still bright. Clearly it had been read, but its previous owner cherished this 1943 unsigned first edition copy, as if predicting the valuation history would place on it.


The other first edition copy, not quite as dazzling but still quite noteworthy for a book approaching 75, was inscribed by Rand in 1949 to Jack Warner, President of Warner Bros which produced the screen version of The Fountainhead later that year. In full, Rand’s inscription reads: “To Jack L Warner — Thank you for your courage and for a magnificent picture — with my profound gratitude — Ayn Rand”.


This one-of-a-kind copy of the first edition of The Fountainhead is asking $125,000. The Fountainhead has punctured the 6-figure barrier.


Out of her way, Gatsby!


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Michael,

You might want to source that large quote from your site and make a comment on it.

Here's what I turned up (and not by going to your site, either):

Ayn Rand @ The New York Antiquarian Book Fair, 2015

by Michael Keith

Apr 20, 2015

Pen Ultimate Rare Books

I have no problem with a member sharing content from his or her site, but OL readers like to know where the content came from when it's not an original post.

As to the substance, this is exciting.

Michael

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“I started collecting stamps when I was ten years old,” wrote 69 year old Ayn Rand in blue ink on blue paper, where she proclaimed her passion for philately on a heavily annotated and corrected 16-page manuscript (“Why I Like Stamp Collecting”) offered for sale at The New York Antiquarian Book Fair, the granddaddy of all book fairs. This manuscript along with other Rand treasures bedazzled the Fair, where Ayn Rand commanded record-breaking prices.

My reconnaissance — to locate every Ayn Rand offering – began on Friday with my friend Don Hauptman, who introduced me to Tony Freyberg of Quaker Hill Books, who had graciously offered both of us passes for the day. Serendipitously, Tony was offering for sale another luscious Rand manuscript, the only other at the Fair, one of two missing from the my own collection of Rand’s LA Times articles I am offering for sale through Pen Ultimate Rare Books.

With a noticeably heavier emphasis on “antiquarian” this year, more so than in years past, Rand unquestionably made her presence known. I spied a lovely signed first edition copy of Rand’s courtroom drama, Night of January 16, offered at $2500. First edition copies of Atlas Shrugged — UNsigned — in dust jackets, shaky to stunning, ranged from $4500 to $5900.

An inscribed photograph of Rand, which I’d sold the dealer earlier this year for under $3000, is now asking $5000.

Unsigned first Revised editions of both We the Living and Anthem in a wide range of conditions punctuated the aisles, asking mid-three to low-four figures. I did need to alert one dealer to the error he made (common and unintentional) in characterizing the Second Issue of the First American Edition of Anthem as the “First American Printing”. Just to be precise: Anthem, the rarest of Rand “Firsts,” was originally published in Great Britain by Cassell in 1938, Rand’s British publisher of We the Living. Its first American printing was published as Volume III, Number 1 of the magazine The Freeman, published by Pamphleteers, (1946) in an estimated run of 2000 copies mailed to subscribers. Its copyright page contains the Los Angeles address 725 Venice Boulevard. Later printings contain a different LA address. While the dealer had a lovely copy of the second issue of the first American Anthem, it was grossly overpriced.

To be sure, other, non-Rand items at the Fair tempted sophisticated bibliophiles, sumptuous rarities worthy of manor libraries and museums. Eye candy included illuminated leaves from the 15th century, engravings of the extinct dodo, a hastily scribbled lyric penned by Bob Dylan, and an R. Crumb (who designed the cover of Janis Joplin’s Cheap Thrills album, of which I’ve a copy, signed by Joplin) drawing of him and his wife. How about that later printing of Gone with the Wind signed by all major cast members? Or that first edition copy of Kurt Vonnegut’s Slaughter-House Five, emblazoned with an inscription and self-caricature complete with his ever-present smoking cigarette?

Intoxicating, I suppose, until I saw, illuminated under glass on the top shelf, two mouth-watering first edition copies of The Fountainhead. My heart stopped.

Howard Roark laughed.

The less expensive copy, at $75,000, is the loveliest copy I’ve seen to date. Its binding was strong; its unclipped jacket still bright. Clearly it had been read, but its previous owner cherished this 1943 unsigned first edition copy, as if predicting the valuation history would place on it.

The other first edition copy, not quite as dazzling but still quite noteworthy for a book approaching 75, was inscribed by Rand in 1949 to Jack Warner, President of Warner Bros which produced the screen version of The Fountainhead later that year. In full, Rand’s inscription reads: “To Jack L Warner — Thank you for your courage and for a magnificent picture — with my profound gratitude — Ayn Rand”.

This one-of-a-kind copy of the first edition of The Fountainhead is asking $125,000. The Fountainhead has punctured the 6-figure barrier.

Out of her way, Gatsby!

Nothing has "punctured" anything except as a sold price.

There are "first edition" copies and "first edition" copies of The Fountainhead. It takes expert knowledge to know what is and is not part of the absolute first printing and how the value is thus affected. I'm not such an expert.

Grossly over-priced Ayn Rand items appear all the time on eBay. If a seller wants to lever off that he offers the merchandise in other ways. As for the rest of us go to eBay and search "Ayn Rand" and limit it to $200 up and see what's offered. Then go to the sold items and see what sold. Sold items, not end of auction items for most of those weren't sold.

The best bet is simply go look for a first printing of We the Living with an original dust jacket. But beware of facsimile dust jackets for any Rand novel. A facsimile dust jacket is worse than no dust jacket.

I know someone--not me--who has a copy of The Fountainhead printed in German inscribed to Nathaniel Branden by Ayn Rand. It seems many years ago Nathaniel was cleaning out his library and this was one of his books he sold. I don't feel at liberty to say what he got for it except it wasn't Nathaniel who told me about this. Whoever owns this book a thousand years from now may own the most valuable extant Rand item if their relationship somehow achieves mythological status. It could. That doesn't work today and can't begin to work for several hundred years as the actual reality erodes revealing a dramatic romantic construct.

I went to Gimbels Dept Store well over 40 years ago and purchased every stamp Rand mentioned in her article on stamp collecting I could find. I don't know what happened to them. I may still have them, but I fear I don't. Gimbels used to have a big stamp department on the ground floor and I worked there in the furniture dept customer service for a year ('70-'71).

--Brant

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