Saturday 21 October 2017

Rare signed first edition of James Joyce's Ulysses expected to fetch €100,000

James Joyce
James Joyce
Aoife Kelly

Aoife Kelly

Just a week after Bloomsday, a rare signed first edition of James Joyce's Ulysses is expected to fetch up to €100,000 at auction today.

The first edition is just one of the items in a collection of the Irish author's work which is up for grabs at Bonhams Fine Books and Manuscripts sale in London.

The book, dated 11 February 1922, is a presentation copy, printed on handmade paper.  It was given to Lewis Galantiere who was an American translator of French literature living in Paris.

Although it is expected to fetch up to €100,000, that is less than a quarter of the record for a 20th Century first edition which is held by a copy of Ulysses sold at Christie's in New York in 2002. That copy sold for €409,840.

The first edition of James Joyce’s Ulysses at Bonhams.
The first edition of James Joyce’s Ulysses at Bonhams.

Bonhams says it is the earliest known presentation copy apart from the one Joyce gave to his wife Nora on the day of publication (Feb 2 1922), the author's 40th birthday.

Printing was hampered by difficulties over the colour for the cover which Joyce wanted to match the blue of the Greek flag.

The entire collection on sale today is estimated to be worth more than €400,000.

Other works include a first edition of A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man, (€28,000-42,000), a first edition of Dubliners, (£4,200-5,600) and a very rare first edition of Gas from a Burner (€14,000-21,000).

A signed copy of the first 1936 English printing of Ulysses, with the cover designed by Eric Gill, is estimated at €14,000-21,000.

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