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Big Brother sells rare books – first edition of 1984 goes for $3,000


Two first editions of George Orwell’s Nineteen Eighty-Four have sold this week on AbeBooks as surveillance by our governments continues to be the No.1 news story around the world. A first edition, first printing in a green dust jacket sold for $3,000 (about £1,913) and a first edition, first printing in the red dust jacket sold for $2,845 (about £1,814).

It is uncertain whether the green or red version came first, so it’s common to see both books listed as the true first edition. The book was published in 1949 by Secker and Warburg and, of course, is one of the most important novels of the 20th century. It seems remarkable that a man who wrote so few books should have so much impact with his writing. Orwell died of Tuberculosis in January 1950.

Nineteen Eighty-Four, and its themes of Big Brother and state censorship, has never been more pertinent. In April of this year, AbeBooks sold another first edition, in a red dust jacket, of the book for $10,000 (£6,438) – easily the most expensive copy of Orwell’s masterpiece that we have ever sold.

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