Determining the Text: Bibliographic Studies, Codicology, and Book Collecting

        These are the first seven hits out of 33 from results of a Spring 2010 search of ABE.com's client bookstores for first editions (1925) of Ernest Hemingway's In Our Time.  What do these descriptions of the text tell you about the work's publishing history between 1925 and now, and about differences of opinion about this text's various versions in print, at least among booksellers, who are a very special breed of literary analyst?  In 2003, a similar search for first editions of In Our Time produced top prices of $7500 for the Paris limited edition copy (press run 1335 copies) and $3250 for the Jonathan Cape first UK edition.  What factors govern the rare book market's estimate of a book's "quality," and how might it relate to a literary critic's methods for determining a book's quality?  If you are reading a modern paperback edition you purchased for around $10, are you reading a better or worse copy than the most expensive one on offer here?

1. In Our Time
Ernest Hemingway
 
Bookseller: Jordan Collins (Chicago, IL, U.S.A.)
Bookseller Rating: 5-star rating
 
Quantity Available: 1
Book Description: Boni & Liverwright, New York, 1925. Hard Cover. Book Condition: Fine. Dust Jacket Condition: Fine. First Edition. 8vo - over 7" - 9" tall. 1st American in beautiful custom clamshell. Unclipped ($2.00), expertly restored (verso of inner spine) ,1st state dust jacket. Inscribed by Hemingway on title page in black ink. Signed by Author. Bookseller Inventory # 000130

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2. In Our Time
HEMINGWAY, ERNEST
 
Bookseller: James Pepper Rare Books, Inc., ABAA (Santa Barbara, CA, U.S.A.)
Bookseller Rating: 4-star rating
 
Quantity Available: 1
Book Description: New York Boni & Liveright 1925, 1925. First Edition. Printed in the tiny edition of only 1335 copies, this is Ernest Hemingway's rarest trade edition in dust jacket. The Paris edition contained only the short chapter vignettes, the New York edition additionally collects, for the first time, the short stories by which this collection is now well-known including "Big Two Hearted River - Parts 1 & 2," "My Old Man," "Soldiers Home," "The Battler," etc. Small sliver of fading at head of spine, else a fine bright copy with gilt-stamping on the spine bright and fresh (most copies have a darkened or flaked spine) in a dust jacket with some expert restoration of a few small chips (in the unprinted plain paper area, none of the printing has been effected) and some strengthening at folds. An attractive copy. Bookseller Inventory # 18123E

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3.
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In Our Time
Hemingway, Ernest
 
Bookseller: Bookbid (Beverly Hills, CA, U.S.A.)
Bookseller Rating: 4-star rating
 
Quantity Available: 1
Book Description: Boni & Liveright, 1925. Hard Cover. Book Condition: Very Good. First Edition. Published in New York by Boni & Liveright in 1925. First Edition, indicated by matching publication dates on the title and copyright pages. Only 1,335 copies of this edition were printed. Although his second published book, In Our Time marks Hemingway's American debut and contains some of the beloved Nick Adams stories. It was published decades before he would win both the Nobel Prize for literature and the Pulitzer Prize. A real treasure for Hemingway fans. Front panel and flap of DJ laid over cover beneath protective Mylar. Book very good, previous owner's name written on front paste-down. DJ price is $2.00. Comes in specially made custom cloth slipcase. Bookseller Inventory # 0104872

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IN OUR TIME (1ST ISSUE BK & 1ST DJ)
Hemingway, Ernest
 
Bookseller: Abound Book Company (Overland Park, KS, U.S.A.)
Bookseller Rating: 5-star rating
 
Quantity Available: 1
Book Description: Boni & Liveright: NY 1925, 1925. Book Condition: Very Good+. Dust Jacket Condition: Good. First Edition; First Printing. First edition, first printing. Very good+. Free of former owner writing or bookplates. Light rub to gilt on spine, still easy to read, gilt lettering and rules on front board are near fine. Last blank endpaper has a couple of smoothed out creases, starting to rear paper joint, board is firmly attached. Only 1, 335cc printed. Rare, original first state, non price clipped ($2.00) DJ. Clean for age, moderate chipping to extremities/folds that are reinforced with acid free archival tissue on verso, and some patches to fill some of the chipping in folds and spine ends. Good. Front panel is ruled into nine separate sections, title, authors name, B&L colophon are on spine with Boni & Livereright at base of spine (less than a 1/4" chip at spine base which takes out the right in Liveright, approx 1/4" off top). The rear panel continues the appreciation excerpts which begin on front flap. A very presentable unrestored copy. Bookseller Inventory # 3478

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In Our Time
HEMINGWAY, Ernest
 
Bookseller: Between the Covers-Rare Books, Inc. ABAA (Gloucester City, NJ, U.S.A.)
Bookseller Rating: 5-star rating
 
Quantity Available: 1
Book Description: Boni & Liveright, New York, 1925. First American edition, and first thus with the inclusion of additional stories, as well as the author's first book published in the U.S. Spine gilt faded but easily readable, near fine, lacking the dustwrapper. One of only 1335 copies published. Connolly 100. See this book in 3D on our site. Bookseller Inventory # 100154

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In Our Time
HEMINGWAY, Ernest
 
Bookseller: Between the Covers-Rare Books, Inc. ABAA (Gloucester City, NJ, U.S.A.)
Bookseller Rating: 5-star rating
 
Quantity Available: 1
Book Description: Boni & Liveright, New York, 1925. First American edition, and first thus with the inclusion of additional stories, as well as the author's first book published in the U.S. Spine gilt faded and readable with effort, else near fine, lacking the dustwrapper. One of only 1335 copies published. Connolly 100. Bookseller Inventory # 100153

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In Our Time.
HEMINGWAY, Ernest.
 
Bookseller: Peter Harrington Antiquarian Bookseller (London, , United Kingdom)
Bookseller Rating: 5-star rating
 
Quantity Available: 1
Book Description: New York, Boni & Liveright, 1925, 1925. First US edition, first printing. Octavo. Finely bound by The Chelsea Bindery in black morocco, titles and decoration to spine, raised bands, single rule to boards, twin rule to turn-ins, marbled endpapers, gilt edges. A fine copy. Bookseller Inventory # 43475

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1. IN OUR TIME
HEMINGWAY, Ernest
 
Bookseller: Houle Rare Books/Autographs/ABAA/PADA (Los Angeles, CA, U.S.A.)
Bookseller Rating: 5-star rating
 
Quantity Available: 1
Book Description: LONDON, JONATHAN CAPE [1926], 1926. Hardcover. Dust Jacket Included. DUST JACKET (UNCLIPPED; FEW TINY NICKS); WITH ROUND STAMP ON FLYLEAF "OVERSEAS EDITION" AND SMALL BOOKSELLER TICKET OF TEL AVIV BOOKSELLER MAAYAN; ORIGINAL BLUE CLOTH STAMPED IN WHITE (THE FIRST STATE IS STAMPED IN GILT); ONE OF A FEW COPIES OF THE ENGLISH FIRST EDITION THAT WERE EXPORTED. THERE COULD NOT HAVE BEEN MUCH INTEREST IN ISRAEL FOR HEMINGWAY AT THIS TIME. FIRST ENGLISH EDITION VERY GOOD. Bookseller Inventory # 194822

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