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Galt before Galsworthy

Library Review

ISSN: 0024-2535

Article publication date: 1 May 1940



LAST week I received a bookseller's catalogue. Working my way slowly and pleasantly to G, I found two names in interesting juxtaposition. The first of these was that of GALSWORTHY. A first edition of In Chancery (“Nice, but upper cover a little spotted”) is offered for 12s 6d: the highest price asked is for a copy of Soames and the Flag—first, limited, de luxe, signed by author, edition, at 16s 6d. Ten years ago when I was, in a small way, buying and selling books, there was a Galsworthy “first” that fetched seventy pounds, if my memory serves me right. There were certainly many at ten to twenty pounds. And what were these books but indifferent modern productions, neither good nor bad to look at, nor for the most part could they be called rare: they had not been long printed, and they had often been issued in impressions of several thousands. Those were crazy days, in which book values were extraordinarily ill‐founded. No doubt Galsworthy's large sales and widespread popularity made it seem as though he were an aspirant to supreme fame to a public less judicious than that of Shaw and other writers whose prices were never so considerable. Stevenson, of course, had brought high prices: he was perhaps the first of the moderns to become largely collected: but for this there was rather more reason. Barrie had realised some ridiculous prices. I remember a bookseller telling me of a Barrie “first” that had been put into a safe on the day on which it was bought, and kept there twenty years, then sold, “in mint state,” for two hundred pounds: surely a record interest on a safe deposit!


Scott‐Moncrieff, G. (1940), "Galt before Galsworthy", Library Review, Vol. 7 No. 5, pp. 207-216.




Copyright © 1940, MCB UP Limited

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