First printings have a single statement on the copyright page that says "FIRST PUBLISHED IN APRIL 1939" with no statement of subsequent printings.
The first printing was large - estimated between 20,000 and 50,000. But demand is high on this highly collectible book. Also the Dust Jacket is unique to the first edition (it states "FIRST EDITION"), so it is less abundant than the book.
The advance issue was identical to the first trade edition with the exception that it was accompanied by a publisher's card which was produced on glossy heavy paper, and measures 8" tall by 5" wide. It features the reproduction of a contemporary painting of the author by Stjernstrom. The card notes: JOHN STEINBECK whose new novel, THE GRAPES OF WRATH is published by The Viking Press." This same photo painting reproduction was also utilized as the frontispiece portrait of John Steinbeck for NEW YORK HERALD TRIBUNE critic Lewis Gannett's publication JOHN STEINBECK: PERSONAL AND BIBLIOGRAPHICAL NOTES, published in stapled wrappers by Viking Press also in 1939.
The Grapes of Wrath won the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction. This book is also one of Time Magazine's 100 Best Novels. Other Time 100 Novels include Gone with the Wind and The Heart is a Lonely Hunter
To find the market value for this book, click on the pre-filled eBay, AbeBooks, or Biblio links to the right and look for comparable listings that have all of these first edition criteria.
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Picture of the 1939 first edition dust jacket for The Grapes of Wrath.
First printings have a single statement on the copyright page that says "FIRST PUBLISHED IN APRIL 1939". It must have no other statements below it.
Picture of dust jacket where original $2.75 price is found for The Grapes of Wrath.
Picture of the back dust jacket for the first edition of The Grapes of Wrath.
Picture of the first edition Viking boards for The Grapes of Wrath.
Picture of the back dust jacket flap for the first edition of The Grapes of Wrath.
Picture of the first edition title page for The Grapes of Wrath.
The advance issue was identical to the first trade edition with the exception that it was accompanied by this publisher's card. The card was produced on glossy heavy paper, and measures 8" tall by 5" wide. It features the reproduction of a contemporary painting of the author by Stjernstrom. The card notes: JOHN STEINBECK whose new novel, THE GRAPES OF WRATH is published by The Viking Press.
This is from an eleventh printing. We included it here for an illustration of when various printings were made. Notice that there is a "second printing before publication" and "third printing before publication". It just means that the publishers decided to print more books before the actual date of publication. There is nothing particularly special about these printings - the most desirable one is still the first printing.
This is the front flap of an 11th printing dust jacket. It has reviews on the front flap, and states that that this jacket is somewhere north of over 430,000 impressions. Beware of first printing books that are married later dust jackets such as this one. If this is disclosed and priced according, we see nothing wrong with the practice. We would rather see a book in some kind of jacket that none at all.
March 4, 2009, 7:16 pm
We have a Grapes of Wrath, Viking, with dedication to Carol and Tom wording, copyright 1939 by John Steinbeck, printed in the United States of America. Oatmeal pictorial cloth binding. This seems to be an unusual First Edition. What do you have to say? Thanks and look forward to hearing from you.
April 27, 2010, 8:40 am
i have the second edition before publication and its in excellent condition. found it in a pile of my gramma's old books that my aunt was going to toss out. *big eyes* is there any value to this book, just wondering?
April 27, 2010, 8:51 am
Does it have a dust jacket?
October 2, 2010, 10:13 am
I have a 1939 edition with no stated printing and only 473 pp. No library markings or any markings, and no dust jacket. Can you tell me why it only has 473 pp.?
October 3, 2010, 11:43 am
It's probably a reprint. Check the title page - Is the publisher Viking?
October 16, 2010, 5:34 pm
The copyright states 1939, like Lyn's- To Carol and Tom. It is published by Viking.
October 16, 2010, 5:38 pm
Also, the printing is not stated, does that mean it is a First?
November 22, 2010, 5:01 pm
We have this copy (with 473 pages) as well. It has the same cloth cover. It was published in 1939 by Viking Press: "Copyright, 1939, by John Steinbeck Printed in the United States of America." No indication that it is a reprint.
April 27, 2011, 8:24 am
I found 6 books by John Stienbeck, including Grapes of Wrath....they were published by P.F. Collier and Son Corporation, New York. Copyright, 1939...(Grapes of Wrath) Distributed in Canada By the Macmillian Company of Canada, LTD. Manufactured in the United States of America. Each book has its own Copyright date. ANY VALUE???
January 12, 2012, 11:03 pm
I have a copy that is exactly as described as a First Edition, except it does not have the Battle Hymn of the Republic on the pastdown and free end paper. Is this still a First Editon? I don't have a dj.
Disclaimer: This website is intended to help guide you and give you insight into what to look for when identifying first editions. The information is compiled from the experience of reputable collectors and dealers in the industry. Gathering and updating information about these books is more an art than a science, and new identication criteria and points of issue are sometimes discovered that may contradict currently accepted identification points. This means that the information presented here may not always be 100% accurate. If you spot a mistake, drop us an e-mail and we will do our best to investigate and correct it.