Fact: John Updike was the third author to win the Pulitzer Prize for fiction twice (in 1982 and 1991).
PPrize.com - First Edition Points for Pulitzer Prize Book Collectors
What's New at PPrize.com
March 12, 2015
The second draft of the 2015 PPrize Prediction List has just been published. We will push out a final list before the prize announcement.
PPrize.com strives to provide all the details necessary to help you identify first edition Pulitzer Prize for Fiction books. We put together the definitive guide for collectors that includes first edition points of issue for each book, and plenty of pictures to illustrate what to look for. We even provide quick search links for each book to sellers such as eBay and AbeBooks so you can instantly scan the market and see what's being offered. To get started, click on Winner List and browse all of the winning books from 1918 to present, or click on Search to look for a particular Pulitzer Prize winner. If you would like to clarify points one of our entries, please comment or drop us an e-mail message. If you would like to contribute photos, please check out our Photo Submission Guidelines
December 1, 2015
The Age of Innocence was written by Edith Wharton. The first edition was published in 1920 by Appleton and Company. It was 365 pages long, and the retail price was $2.00.
First edition Points: Title page and copyright page both say 1920 with no statements of subsequent printings. Has "(1)" on the last page of text, which indicates it is the first printing.
A comparison of the first, second, and seventh printings has indicated that there were many changes and edits made at some point after the second printing. They are not first edition points because they are known to exist on all first printings and at least some second printings. The change that is most often noted is on page 186 where line 7 began with "Forasmuch as it hath please Almighty God". It was changed to "Dearly beloved, we are gathered together here".
The first state dust jacket featured quotes about the author from Percy Lubbock on the back panel that were pieced together from an article he wrote in the January 1915 issue of the Quarterly Review entitled The Novels of Edith Wharton. In the second state dust jacket, these original quotes were replaced by specific quotes about the book made by William Phelps that appeared in the New York Times on October 17, 1920.
The first state dust jacket is extremely rare, and the first printing of the book itself has become much more difficult to find in recent years.
Click here for photos...
How Much is a First Edition Pulitzer Worth?
We provide an estimated value range for each Pulitzer Prize novel. The value is based on current market prices for books that are complete with dust jackets, and that meet all first edition points. Books that are in fine condition and signed by the author typically sell for prices on the high end of the range, while unsigned books in fair condition sell for prices on the low end of the range.
What is a First Edition?
When we say "First Edition" we are really referring to the first printing of the first edition. Publishers print books in large batches called "printings." The first batch is the first printing, the second batch is the second printing, the third batch is the third printing, and so on. The first printing is the most desirable for reasons dating back to metal typesetting days when first printings had the clearest type.
Today, there is no real quality difference between various printings of a particular edition, but the preference for a first printing over subsequent printings remains very strong, and this preference is reflected in the price. The price difference between a first and second printing is like the price difference between gold and silver in the sense that if a first printing sells for $600, a second printing in the same condition may only sell for $16.
Second printings can become valuable, but only in cases when the price of a first printing is astronomical. For example, a second printing of To Kill a Mockingbird can be worth $2,000, but a first printing in similar condition could be worth ten times that amount. In this case the price of a first edition is unaffordable to many people, so they settle for a second printing.
While the price difference between printings can be great, the physical difference between them is often subtle. Sometimes the first printing may have a typo that is fixed in later printings. But sometimes the only distinguishing feature is that one says it is the first printing, while the other says that it is a second printing - and each publisher has a different way of communicating that information. Some publishers will state "First Printing", "Second Printing", "Third Printing," etc. Other publisher may have a special numeric code to indicate printing information. These subtleties are referred to as "points of issue," and we tell you what these points are for each Pulitzer Prize winning book.
Sometimes dust jackets remain identical from one printing to the next, but there are cases where "First Edition" or "First Printing" is stated on the dust jacket. There are other instances where the reviews will be different from one printing to the next. Of course if the dust jacket says that it won the Pulitzer Prize, it is definitely not a first printing because the prize is awarded the year after the book is published. We point out these factors out, and we provide plenty of pictures so you can see what a first printing dust jacket should look like. To get started, click on our Winner List.
In addition to printings of a first edition, there are also other editions that are sometimes mistaken for the first edition. The most notorious are know as Book Club Editions, which mislead many people into believing that they have a valuable first edition book when in fact they have a very common book club edition. We show you what to look for so you can determine if you have a true first edition or a book club edition. Check out our links for more information about book club editions and other reprint editions.
For New Collectors
Check out our Winner List and click on a thumbnail. We show you what a first edition (or first trade edition) looks like, and we give you a launching point to quickly find the book's availability at eBay and AbeBooks. Many of the early Pulitzers are rare, so don't be surprised if you cannot locate a first edition of The Able McLaughlins or Years of Grace (they are always hard to find). Likewise don't be alarmed if you see a first edition of The Grapes of Wrath listed for $15,000. In these cases, there are less expensive alternatives, and we will begin to make note of what they are in the coming months.
This website is not affiliated with "Pulitzer Prizes" or related parties in any way. This site is overseen by an experienced collector of Pulitzer novels as a service to help guide other collectors and give them insight into what to look for when identifying first editions. As such, the information presented here may not always be 100% accurate. Gathering and updating information about these books is more an art than a science. We are very thorough in our investigations of first edition points, but occasionally some of our points may be wrong, and some of our valuation estimates may be out-of-date. If you spot a mistake, drop us an e-mail and we will do our best to investigate and fix it.