Rare copy of Edgar Allan Poe’s Tales auctioned for $315,000

An attic discovery of the rare 1845 first edition of Poe’s Tales in paper wrappers surpassed all expectations to sell for $315,000 in a Skinner, Inc. sale.
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Poe, Edgar Allan (1809-1849) Tales, First Edition

Poe, Edgar Allan (1809-1849) Tales, First Edition, in Paper Wrappers, New York: Wiley & Putnam, 1845 (sold for: $315,000 on November 18, 2018). Courtesy of Skinner, Inc.

BOSTON — An attic discovery of the rare 1845 first edition of Poe’s Tales in paper wrappers surpassed all expectations. Listed as Skinner, Inc. Lot 224, the edition's presale estimate was $60,000-$80,000. After fierce competition from internet and telephone bidders, the rare tome sold for $315,000.

Based on the context of the discovery of this copy of Poe’s Tales, the original owner presumably bought this and other similar contemporaneous books to be read for amusement in the 1840s.

Once read, the Poe and its companions were bundled and stored away in a trunk in the attic. There they stayed until they were found during an in-home auction evaluation by Skinner specialists.

In the rare book trade, it was thought that all copies of Poe’s Tales in wrappers were known.

Department Director Devon Eastland noted that Skinner's annual November Fine Books & Manuscripts Auction is timed to coincide with the long-running Boston International Antiquarian Book Fair. The Book Fair is a venue that guarantees that serious American and international collectors and dealers are in Boston and able to view sale material in person.

She noted, “Bidders appreciated that the copy of Poe’s Tales was a previously unknown copy fresh to the market, having been in a private collection for some time which garnered excitement in the market.”



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