January 25th is a significant date in history for two literary giants as it marked the beginning of one great author’s life and the end of another’s.
Virginia Woolf – born Adeline Virginia Stephen, on this is date in London in 1882 would go on to be remembered as one of the greatest novelists of her generation.
Of her 9 published novels and 3 short story collections between 1915 and 1944, her most notable works were Mrs Dalloway (1925) and To The Lighthouse (1927). Both have made more than one list over the years of the top 100 English novels of the 20th century.
From a collector’s point of view, these are both considered very valuable as true First Editions. Both were published by Hogarth Press Of London and are very rare in their original dust jackets which were actually designed by Woolf’s sister Vanessa Bell.
A copy of To The Lighthouse in first state fine condition could list for as high as $25,000, while Mrs Dalloway in its original first printing (limited to only 2,000 copies) in similar condition, could fetch as much as $60,000 by rare book dealers, should you be able to even find one.
George Orwell (Eric Arthur Blair) – passed away in a London Hospital on January 25th 1950 at the age of 46 from a burst artery in his lungs, (complications of tuberculosis).
Orwell penned 6 novels and 3 works of nonfiction between 1934 and 1949. His most notable works: Animal Farm in 1945, and the dystopian Nineteen Eighty Four in 1949, are both still widely read today and considered great classics of English literature.
For collector’s, a First Edition copy of Nineteen Eighty Four (Secker & Warburg, London, 1949) in it’s original red dust jacket is considered a gem and generally lists or auctions off for anywhere between 2 and $12,000, depending on condition of course.
Orwell’s very first novel, Burmese Days (1934), is quite rare in true First Edition. A copy with its original dust jacket intact and in very good to fine condition could easily fetch anywhere between 25 and $50,000.