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The Great Gatsby & the $100,000 dust jacket

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Published on Sep 18, 2012

It is possible to judge some rare books by their cover, especially if the book is a first edition of The Great Gatsby by F Scott Fitzgerald.

Published in 1925, The Great Gatsby is famous for being one of the finest American novels of the 20th century. Jay Gatsby and Daisy Buchanan are characters that linger in the memory. But in the rare book world, the value of the Great Gatsby first edition is all in the dust jacket.

A first edition with its dust jacket sold for $182,000 at auction in 2009 and the vast majority of that amazing price was attributed to the presence of the dust jacket.
First editions of this book with dust jackets are very scarce.

A first edition Gatsby without a dust jacket could sell for anywhere between $2,000 and $8,000 depending on its condition. A first edition with a dust jacket is a treasure.

By the 1920s it was common for publishers to issue their books with illustrated dust jackets. The jacket changed from being a protective covering to a promotional tool. The Gatsby jacket is a landmark moment for publishers -- high art met high literature.

The Art Deco artwork is called Celestial Eyes and was created by Francis Cugat, who had been commissioned by the publisher Charles Scribner's. F Scott Fitzgerald instantly adored the artwork and you can see why. The woman's face is sad and melancholy, and the deep blue is almost hypnotic. It's a haunting image of the Jazz Age in all of its decadence and excess.

In case you are wondering, this dust jacket is a $22 facsimile of the original, which is a little beyond my budget.

Learn more about F Scott Fitzgerald at AbeBooks: http://www.abebooks.com/books/legends...

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