In 2014 a first edition of Herman Hesse's 1922 novel, Siddhartha, was sold at auction and realized nearly $5,000. Experts had initially expected it to fetch something nearer $800. Clearly for collectors then, Hesse may be an author worthy of significant consideration.
Swiss born Hesse was a novelist, as well as a poet and painter, active in the first half of the twentieth century. Eventually settling down to live in Germany his work was to become an inspiration to the nation's young people with novels such as Siddhartha, Der Steppenwolf and The Glass Bead Game. His work was to be banned by the Nazi party in the 1930s; but following the war his novels became available to a new generation of readers and collectors.
The first of the great novels by Hesse came in 1904 with, Peter Camenzind. This story of emotional self-discovery introduces a theme that recurs in a number of his novels. A first edition of the novel published by Fischer Verlag in Berlin can be expected to reach $600. Later first editions of English translations from the 1960s are much cheaper at less than $30.
As with Siddhartha, a German first edition of Der Steppenwolf from 1927 might also now be quite valuable. The earliest translation of the book came in 1929 and was published by Secker in the UK. First editions of this translation can be found for about $600.
Hesse wrote nearly twenty novels as well as numerous collections of poetry during his career. This gives collectors a not insignificant choice of collectable material. With books available in the original German and also various translations, collectors are likely to find works from Hesse that are affordable and of historical and literary importance.
Hesse, Hermann. Siddhartha. S. Fischer Verlag, Berlin (1922). first edition withErste bis Sechste Auflage printed on the copyright page.;
Hesse, Hermann. Sinclairs Notizbuch. Rascher and Cie, Zurich (1923). 1000 signed and numbered copies; 4 Color reproductions of H. Hesse watercolor.
Hesse, Hermann. Siddhartha. Fischer, Berlin (1924). Elfte his vierzehnte Aufage on the copyright page;
Hesse, Hermann. Der Steppenwolf. Fischer, Berlin (1927). First edition, first printing with1. bis 15. Auflage 1927 on the copyright page
Hesse, Hermann. Steppenwolf. Henry Holt, NY (1929). First U.S, edition; Translated from the German by Basil Creighton
Hesse, Hermann. Siddhartha. New Directions, New York (1951). First American Edition; Translated from the German by Hilda Rosner; with original $5.00 price on rear; Dust jacket designed by Alvin Lustig,NC 34 on the spine
Hesse, Hermann. Siddhartha. Peter Owen and Vision, London (1954). first UK edition in translation by Hilda Rosner
Hesse, Hermann. The Journey to the East. Noonday, New York (1957). Translated by Hilda Rosner; Original $3.00 retail price on front flap intact; First American Edition.
Hesse, Hermann. Demian. Peter Owen, London (1958). W J Strachan (illustrator)
Hesse, Hermann. Steppenwolf. The Limited Editions Club, Westport (1977). Illustrated with 10 full-page and 12 text woodcuts by Helmut Ackermann; 1600 copies;