Is This Too Much Money Or Not Enough for a First Edition of Pride and Prejudice?

Illustration for article titled Is This Too Much Money Or Not Enough for a First Edition of iPride and Prejudice/i?
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A first edition of Pride and Prejudice is coming up for auction and estimated to go for as much as $23,390. OK, but is that too much, or too little?


The New York Post reported that auctioneer Bonhams is thinking somewhere between $17,400 and $23,390 for the book. On one hand: That is a significant amount of money, enough to buy a new car. On the other: This is one of the most beloved novels in the English language! People have probably spent that on building costume collections for dressing up as Jane Austen characters. Lizzie Bennet would think it an absurd amount; it’s pocket change to Emma Woodhouse

I feel like I’m looking at that optical illusion that’s a beautiful young woman and also a rude crone. Could we get some help from a rare books expert over here before my brain explodes?

Senior Editor, Attic Haunter, Jezebel

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This is an absurdly low price and it shows how much we devalue women’s authors. FACT: Jane Austen was the first canonical female author. OPINION: I would argue that she was the first to master the unwieldy art of novel-writing, though some of her predecessors gave it a good shot. Her books identified and codified (and partially defined) a certain kind of literary Englishness that is still marketable, and beloved, in TV shows, movies, and even new novels. Meanwhile, a first edition of Birds of America went for $8.8m FFS.