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Article: Collecting "The Catcher in the Rye"

20th Century

Collecting "The Catcher in the Rye"

The first edition of J.D. Salinger’s only full-length novel The Catcher in the Rye was published by Little, Brown and Company in Boston on July 16, 1951. It has become a common part of high school and college coursework across America, and has been translated into all major languages. The first edition in its original dust jacket is exceedingly rare, especially those in very good condition, and we have been on the hunt for one for years now. We are happy to have found a first edition, first issue, in the original publisher’s first issue dust jacket to offer to our client base.

Original Dust Jacket back design for Catcher in the Rye

Since it was published and sold for $3.00, The Catcher in the Rye has reportedly sold more than 65 million copies. The book details two days in the life of 16 year old Holden Caulfield, after he is expelled from his school. Confused and disillusioned, Holden is both intrigued and repelled by the realities of adulthood. The work centers around themes of alienation, the loss of innocence, and holding on to hope. It has become a cultural icon for teenage rebellion, though due to use of profanity and portrayal of sexuality, it has been met with censorship challenges in schools.

The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger, First Edition, First Impression in Original Dust Jacket, 1951

The Catcher in the Rye was published in simple black cloth with gilt spine lettering.  As is the custom for Little, Brown, and Company, first editions are so stated on the copyright page. This first edition includes all accurate issue points: the most important regarding the jacket, which has a photographer credit for Lotte Jacobi under the picture of Salinger on the back. The dust jacket is not clipped- adding to its value- and displays the original sale price of $3.00. Today, true first editions in very good condition such as this are becoming more and more scarce, with elusive signed editions reaching list prices as high as $295,000.

If you are interested in owning this classic novel in its original form, now is your chance. The value of this book will increase over time if kept in it the same condition and preserved. This is why we have created a custom, archival clamshell case in which to house the precious book and its dust jacket.

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