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Collecting Modern First Editions

What to Collect

It is useful to decide whether the collection is to be primarily in line with personal interests or a potential investment or, perhaps, ideally a marriage of the two. Collectors of Modern Firsts are usually defined as those who collect books within the duration of the last century, but now more often as those who collect works of current writers or those of the recent past. Many like to follow the major prizes when building up a collection, for instance the Man Booker Prize or the Whitbread Award. The Dublin IMPAC Award is also a highly influential prize. As with all speculative collecting, be aware that the familiar warnings applied to stocks and shares and other investment also apply to books. Once you have decided what to collect, try and buy books in as near perfect condition as possible and store with care.


Identifying a Modern First Edition

Most UK publishers adopt the numbering scheme on the copyright page. A first printing is usually indicated by the presence of numbers between 10 and 1 (sometimes 9 and 1). If the figure 1 is missing, the book is a second printing and so on. Small publishers do not always use this system and you will need then to confirm the publication date and establish that the book is not a reprint from the copyright page. If in doubt, contact the publisher. Be aware, too, that there are often points of issue with dustjackets.