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Inscribed first edition of The Little Prince goes on sale for £150,000

A remarkable early copy of Antoine de Saint-Exupéry’s classic children’s story featuring a drawing and a note of thanks to Dorothy Barclay, the reporter’s assistant who helped the author estimate the number of stars visible from Earth, has gone on sale for £150,000.

The inscribed copy of The Little Prince

Saint-Exupéry wrote The Little Prince, published in 1943, while living on Long Island in the United States. He asked a friend, Helen Lazeroff, a reporter on the New York Times, to help him find out how many stars can be seen from Earth. Her assistant, Dorothy Barclay, phoned the Hayden Planetarium in Manhattan and reported back to the author.

In the book, the Little Prince meets a businessman who is counting the stars – 501,622,731 – which he claims he owns. The grateful author inscribed this copy to Barclay and drew a picture showing a disappointed Little Prince after landing on Earth.

In the sketch, the downcast Prince says (written in French): “You’d have to be completely crazy to have chosen this planet. It is only pleasant at night when the inhabitants are asleep.”

However, below the figure Saint-Exupéry has added (again in French): “The Little Prince was wrong. There are on Earth some inhabitants whose straightforwardness, sweetness and generosity of heart make up for the avarice and egotism of the others. For example, Dorothy Barclay …”

The book, an English language first edition published by Reynal & Hitchcock, is offered for sale by London-based bookseller Peter Harrington (check out their video below about the book). This copy of The Little Prince is by far the most expensive one for sale on the AbeBooks marketplace.

The book for sale also includes a typed note from Barclay to Saint-Exupéry saying she thought the book was “movingly beautiful.”

The Little Prince remains one of the most iconic books published in the 20th century. Translated into dozens of languages, it tells the story of a crashed pilot who meets a young prince who has fallen to Earth. Saint-Exupéry, a pilot himself, died when his plane disappeared over the Mediterranean in 1944 so collectible copies of this nature are extremely rare.

Saint-Exupéry’s inscription to Dorothy Barclay in The Little Prince

This particular copy is around £150,000 out of my personal price range but I can recommend The Little Prince 70th Anniversary Gift Set which includes an audio CD of the fable narrated by Viggo Mortensen.

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One Response to “Inscribed first edition of The Little Prince goes on sale for £150,000”

  1. avatar

    Merci! What a treat to see this gem and the personal note from its soulful author.