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Collecting Rare Books and First Editions: Truman Capote

The books of the tiny terror of New York drawing rooms continue to be eagerly sought after. A young phenom, his books were mostly published in relatively large (for the time and genre) first printings. Thus when collecting Capote it is even more important then usual to look for particularly fine copies, as mediocre copies of most of his books abound.

Published on 22 Feb. 2018

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By Tom Congalton


The books of the tiny terror of New York drawing rooms continue to be eagerly sought after. A young phenom, his books were mostly published in relatively large (for the time and genre) first printings. Thus when collecting Capote it is even more important then usual to look for particularly fine copies, as mediocre copies of most of his books abound. Breakfast at Tiffany's (1958), because of it's easily fadeable orange spine, is a difficult book to find in truly fine condition, and is perhaps the most relentlessly sought of his titles. His play House of Flowers (1968) used to be especially difficult to find, but the relatively high price of the book, combined with the advent of the online databases managed to bring some copies out of the woodwork, so a little patience can now result in a nice, not-to-expensive copy. Capote apparently was happy to sign books, so signed copies are not entirely uncommon. However, the fact that his signature is so simply printed ("that's not writing, that's printing"), makes it an attractive example for forgers to attempt to master. If you are going to be signed copies, make sure you either know where the books came from, or buy them from a reputable dealer who you know does his homework (never bad advice about buying any signed material). Beware of any dealer that suggests that his self-generated Certificate of Authenticity (or COA) should be enough to allay your fears. Any reputable dealers invoice is his guarantee of authenticity, but if all it takes is a COA to make you happy, we have a bridge you might like to buy.

The tip is published by permission of Between the Covers Rare Books, Inc. Thank you very much.

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