This book is in high demand. Approximately 5,000 first printings were produced. "FIRST EDITION" is stated on the copyright page. Boards are brown with green cloth spine.
A first edition dust jacket has no statement of printing and has a price of $3.95 on the lower corner of the front flap. There appears to be two states of the first edition dust jacket. One state has two reviews on the back flap - by Shirley Ann Grau and Phyllis McGinley. We have seen only one of these. The other state dust jacket has a single Jonathan Daniels review, and we have seen many of these. Both states have the Capote blurb in green, the $3.95 price, and no printing statement on the front flap. They both have the author's photo on the back panel. They are identical except for the back flap reviews.
There has been significant debate about the order of the states. The case for the Grau/McGinley state being first is that the Grau and McGinley reviews were replaced by the Daniels blurb on the stated second printing of the dust jacket. Also, an early advertisement establishes that Grau and McGinley read advance copies and "poured out their enthusiasm... weeks before publication of the book". The case for the Daniels state being first is that normally blurbs for a first book progress from obscure reviewers to more famous ones as a book becomes more popular. So it raises questions of the why the publisher would change blurbs from two well known authors to one lesser known minister. This is supported by the fact that the Grau review returns to the back flap, and the McGinley review to the front flap of the seventh printing.
The Jonathan Daniels who wrote the dust jacket review was not Jonathan Myrick Daniels, the Episcopal seminarian killed for his civil rights work in 1965. Rather, the review was written by Jonathan Worth Daniels, who at the time was the editor of the Raleigh News and Observer. Jonathan Worth Daniels was an author and an outspoken supporter of civil rights. He also served as press secretary for Franklin D. Roosevelt and Harry S. Truman. Jonathan Worth Daniels was hardly obscure.
While the stated second printing dust jackets have the Daniels review, we have found that the stated third printing jackets have the Grau/McGinley reviews.
In 1960, To Kill a Mockingbird was issued by at least four book clubs. One of these was the Book-of-the-Month Club (BOMC), which differs from other book clubs by producing books of the same quality and design as the trade editions. BOMC issues of Mockingbird have the same green cloth backing and brown-papered boards as the trade editions, but the well-known BOMC indentation is added to the back cover. The BOMC does NOT have the Capote photograph of Lee on the rear panel. Earlier book club editions (BCEs) do have the desired photograph on the rear panel, but the books are thinner and of cheaper material and of at least three different cover designs.
The first edition does not have a "W" on the copyright page. However, many people write and ask what the "W" means on their later printing copies. We cannot support the common thought that it is a book club indicator. Although we certainly have seen it on BOMC editions, we have also consistently found it on the seventh through thirteenth printings of the genuine Lippincott trade editions (priced dust jackets and no book club indicators). Consequently the presence of the "W" is not an accurate indicator of the BOMC or any other book club edition. So what does the "W" mean? We don't know. We have never seen it on the first through sixth printings, nor have we seen it on the fourteenth through twenty-first printings. One possible explanation is that is a printing-plant indicator.
Signed first printings of the first edition command the highest value. But unsigned first printings are extremely valuable as well. Second printings are very rare and have high value. Book club and anniversary copies are common.
To Kill a Mockingbird won the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction. This book is also one of Time Magazine's 100 Best Novels. Other Time 100 Novels include The Assistant and Catch-22
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Picture of the 1960 first edition dust jacket for To Kill a Mockingbird.
"FIRST EDITION" is stated.
Early printings had Harper Lee's photograph on the back. Later printings have reviews on the back.
The first printing of the dust jacket had a price of $3.95 on the bottom of the front flap with no printing statement.
later printings are stated on the bottom of the front dust jacket flap as is the case with this second printing jacket. Book club jackets did not state printing, nor did they state price. So even thought the price on this jacket is clipped, we know it is not a book club jacket because it states the printing.
First, second, and at least third printing dust jackets have a Truman Capote quote in green ink on the front flap.
The Grau/McGinley state dust jacket has reviews by Shirley Ann Grau and Phyllis McGinley on the back flap.
The Daniels state has the Jonathan Daniels blurb on the rear flap.
Boards are brown with green cloth spine cover.
Caution: the presence of the FEL logo on the bottom back flap indicates that this is a facsimile dust jacket produced by the First Editions Library of Shelton, CT. Beware of a jacket that has damage in this area which may indicate that someone removed the logo.
There are two variants of the advance reading copy of To Kill A Mockingbird. The variant on the left says that the novel "will be published in July", and the variant on the right (photo courtesy of Ernestoic Books) states specifically that it is "to be published July 11, 1960". The more precise publishing reference on the variant on the right suggests that it was issued after the variant on the left.
Other first edition points for books by Harper Lee include: Go Set a Watchman.
December 23, 2008, 11:28 am
What does it mean if the book has a "W" on the copyright page. I have a hardback copy of TKM with no dust jacket. It does not say first edition on the copyright page but the date is 1960.
January 2, 2009, 1:16 pm
"W" on the copyright page means that it is a book of the month club book. It is a cheaper reproduction of the book, but still a nice early printing to own. Probably not worth more than $20.
January 3, 2009, 2:34 pm
Thanks for the info. Good to know. I appreciate the expert advice.
I'll stop counting my chickens. . . I have an Old Man in the Sea from
1960 with a dust jacket in good condition, but it lacks the "s" on the
copyright page so it's probably a book of the month club item also.
Both came from my father in law who is the original owner.
On Fri, Jan 2, 2009 at 1:17 PM, JS-Kit.com Comments
April 11, 2009, 6:59 am
I have a book club edition boards are gray and black cover is decent in a mylar cover cannot seem to get a consistent value of the book pages are crisp and clean any thoughts ?
August 28, 2009, 5:33 pm
I'm trying to determine the value of a book my father inherited from his mother. It is a First Edition and Third Printing in Very Good condition. Any thoughts?
August 28, 2009, 5:39 pm
If it has a complete, unclipped dust jacket, then I would say it is worth between $1,000 and $1,500... depending on condition.
August 28, 2009, 5:55 pm
Would you mind telling me what reviews are on the back dust jacket flap of your third printing? Is there just one by Jonathan Daniels? Or are there two by Shirley Ann Grau and Phyllis McGinley? Or something else?
December 1, 2009, 1:21 am
i am thinking of purchasing a first edition that has a black hardcover, is this an oringinal, it states first ediiton on the indside
December 1, 2009, 1:41 am
The first edition boards were not black. It could have been rebound. Does the copyright page look exactly like the one on this page?
December 2, 2009, 4:19 pm
thanks Tom, no the copyright page only states the year and author and first edition. Could this be a book club edition or a Canadian release, as this is where it its being sold? thanks for your time, amanda
December 3, 2009, 9:21 am
When you say it states year and author and first edition, is the year 1960? or another year?
December 18, 2009, 11:56 am
My husband recently purchased a "first edition" To Kill a Mockingbird. But as I research information about it, I am not certain this is what I have. The book appears to be leather bound and gold letter embossed. It is wrapped in a sealed plastic film that was claimed to be the original wrapper. What do you think I actually have? Will I diminish the value by unwrapping it?
December 19, 2009, 4:27 pm
Definitely not a first edition. My guess is that it is either a Franklin Library or Easton Press Edition. It is not valuable as a collectable, but it probably looks nice on a shelf. You might as well unwrap and read it.
July 27, 2011, 9:17 pm
tom, I have a 30th printing of copyrthe reviewight 1960 with the Library of Congress Number 60-7847. the reviews on the back flap are from grau and elizabeth gray vining. the mcginley review is on the front flap and not the review I keep seeing. Any thoughts?
July 31, 2011, 3:21 pm
I have a copy that matches the description of the UK first edition to the T. However, the dust jacket matches no description anywhere. The oddest thing about the dj is that the back cover is white, blank, nothing printed on it. The text on the flaps that should be green are black. The cover of the dj has the picture of HL that is usually on the back. There is red lettering on the front dj. What do you make of this dust jacket?
October 11, 2011, 3:31 pm
I have what may be a book club TKAM with black spine and tan boards in VG condition. It has no ISBN. Copyright 1960. It does not state "First Edition."
What makes it unique is that both Mary Badham and Phil Alford signed the title page (in my presence, and I have a photo of the 3 of us as provenance.)
Of course, my question is "how do I determine a fair market value?"
Thanks in advance. JJ
January 18, 2012, 8:39 pm
I have a copy of TKM that says "Copyright 1960 By Harper Lee" with "Eleventh Impression" "W". The DJ says "Seventh Printing" it's clipped with a green quote by Phyllis McGinley on the inside. It has 296 pages. It looks like all the First Edition books I've seen on the web. There are NO BOMC symbols or indication anywhere on this book. If this quote from this website is acurate,
"The first edition does not have a "W" on the copyright page. However, many people write and ask what the "W" means on their later printing copies. We cannot support the common thought that it is a book club indicator. Although we certainly have seen it on BOMC editions, we have also consistently found it on the seventh through thirteenth printings of the genuine Lippincott trade editions (priced dust jackets and no book club indicators). Consequently the presence of the "W" is not an accurate indicator of the BOMC or any other book club edition. So what does the "W" mean? We don't know. We have never seen it on the first through sixth printings, nor have we seen it on the fourteenth through twenty-first printings. One possible explanation is that is a printing-plant indicator".
Then this is a seventh printing and Eleveth Impression of the 1st Edition. Righ? It would help if someone could make sense of all these Editions and DJ differences.
February 29, 2012, 10:39 pm
I own a stated third impression book and stated third printing dust jacket. This dust jacket has the Grau/McGinley reviews on the back flap. Is there a significance to this? I read above where it stated that these normally appear on much later printings. Thanks, email@example.com
May 16, 2012, 10:33 pm
I have a tan with black spine that does not say first edition on the copyright page. It just says 1960. Is this a book club edition?
May 24, 2012, 4:45 pm
Does First Edition still have value without dust jacket? Thanks for your help.
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.