For the serious collector there is nothing more enticing than that chance to collect one of the literary giants such as Tolstoy, Hugo, or Shakespeare. For most of us, the reality of that opportunity is as fragile as a dream, but I hope to provide a minimal introduction should you ever find yourself in that enviable position!
Leo Tolstoy, the father of Russian literature, has become famous the world over for his accounts of the nineteenth and eighteenth century, which are surprisingly moving and human tales of love, spirituality and obsession in times of vast civil and political upheaval. The only other writers who come close to his level of acumen over personal emotion and political insight are of course Dickens and Hugo.
Tolstoy’s original, First Edition works are obviously some of the most valued collectible items on the planet, with prices in the tens of thousands at least, and more so for any sort of personal author’s provenance. Many of them are held in private collections or in private libraries because of their extreme value. Is still hope for the rest of us?!
Leo Tolstoy is so well regarded that his legacy has undergone many different limited editions over the centuries. Not only such established organizations as the Folio Society and the Limited Editions Club of America, but smaller publishing houses the world over have published his most famous works. This is because a writer of his prestige will always sell books, and his legacy is guaranteed at least for the next few generations! Smaller publishing houses are aware that they can invest money into a specially printed, bound and pretty limited edition version of War And Peace, Anna Karenina for example, secure in the knowledge that they do not need to make many sales.
For the collector this is good news, as it means that there are lots of limited edition print runs of Tolstoy out there on the market, for a very reasonable $300-600.
Tolstoy, Leo. La Guerre Et La Paix. Hachette Et Cie, Paris (1879). Translated by Princess Irina Paskevich; War and Peace; 3 volumes; first foreign language translation, text in French
Tolstoy, Leo. Anna Karnina. Thomas Y. Crowell, New York (1886). 1st US and English language edition
Tolstoy, Leo. War and Peace. William S. Gottsberger, New York (1886). Translated from the French by Clara Bell; 6 volumes; First English language edition
Tolstoy, Leo. War And Peace. Vizetelly & Co., London (1886). Translated from French by Clara Bell; English Edition; 3 volumes
Tolstoy, Leo. War and Peace. Vizetelly & Co., London (1887). Translated from the French by Clara Bell; First English edition; 3 volumes
Tolstoy, Leo. Resurrection. Dodd, Mead & Company, New York (1900). Translated by Louise Maude; Illustrated with 10 full-page drawings by Pasternak; US edition
Tolstoy, Leo. Resurrection. Francis Riddell Henderson, London (1900). Translated by Louise Maude; Illustrated with 10 full-page drawings by Pasternak; UK edition
Tolstoy, Leo. Resurrection. George n. Morang & Co., Toronto (1900). Canadian edition
Tolstoy, Leo. The Death of Ivan Ilyitch and Other Stories. William Heinemann, London (1902). Translated from Russian by Constance Garnett
Tolstoy, Leo. The Novels & Other Writings. Charles Scribner's Sons, New York (1904). Edited by Nathan Haskell; 24 volumes; Limited edition of 150 numbered copies
Tolstoy, Leo. The Complete Works. Dana Estes and Company, Boston (1904). Translated from Russian and edited by Leo Wiener; Illlustrated; 28 volumes; Deluxe edition of 1000 copies; Contains: Childhood, Boyhood, Youth, The Incursion; A Landed Proprietor, The Cossacks, Sevastopol; A Moscow Acquaintance, The Snow Storm, Domestic Happiness, Miscellanies; Pedagogical Articles, Linen-Measurer; War and Peace
Tolstoy, Leo. The Novels and Other Works. Charles Scribner's Son, New York (1907). 24 volumes
Tolstoy, Leo. Hadji Murad. Dodd, Mead & Co, New York (1912). Translated by Aylmer Maude
Tolstoy, Leo. Stories & Dramas. E. P. Dutton, New York (1926). Translated by Lydia Rurin, H.M. Lucas, and C.J. Hogarth; Includes: Varenka, The Dream, The Oasis, The Nihilist, Peter the Pulican and The Story of a Yesterday, and others
Tolstoy, Leo. Resurrection. Grosset & Dunlap, New York (1927). Photoplay edition; illustrated with scenes from the movie
Tolstoy, Leo. The Works. Oxford University Press, London (1929). Translated by Aylmer and Louis Maude; Introductions by Rebecca West, H.G. Wells, Hugh Walpole, Shane Leslie, Robert Hichens, John Galsworthy, St. John Irvine, Harley Granville-Barker, Gilbert Murray, William Lyon Phelps; 2 volumes of 'The Life of Tolstoy' by Aylmer Maude, prefaced by George Bernard Shaw; Centenary Edition; 21 volumes
Tolstoy, Leo. War and Peace. Limited Editions Club, Glasgow (1938). Translated by Louise and Alymer Maude; Illustrated with lithographs and drawings by Barnett Freedman; Limited edition of 1500 copies signed by Freedman; 6 volumes
Tolstoy, Leo. Ann Karenina. Random House, New York (1939). Illustrated by Philip Reisman; Introductory essays by Thomas Mann; 2 volumes
Tolstoy, Leo. Anna Karenina. Limited Editions Club, Cambridge (1951). Illustrated with colour lithographs Barnett Freedman; Translated by Constance Garnett; limited edition of 1500 numbered copies signed by Freedman
Tolstoy, Leo, et al. The Greatest Masterpieces of Russian Literature. Heron Books, London (1960). Various translators and illustrators Constance Garnett, H.J. Hogarth, Roland Topor, and Philippe Jullian; 23 volumes; Contains: Crime and Punishment, The Possessed, The Brothers Karamazov, Poor Folk, The Gambler, Letters from the Underworld, The House of the Dead, The Idiot, Anna Karenina, Resurrection, Smoke, Fathers and Sons, Virgin Soil, Oblomov, Foma Gordyeeff, Tales, The Artamonov Business, The Captain's Daughter and Other Stories, Through Russia, Taras Bulba, The Golovlyov Family
Tolstoy, Leo. Resurrection. Limited Editions Club, New York (1963). Translated by Leo Wiener; Revised and edited by F.D. Reeve; Introduction by Ernest J. Simmons; Illustrated with 19 wood engravings (14 full-page) by Fritz Eichenberg; Limited edition of 1500 numbered copies signed by arist
Tolstoy, Leo. Childhood Boyhood Youth. Limited Editions Club, New York (1972). Translated by Leo Wiener; Illustrated with 20 wood-engravings (14 full-page) by Fritz Eichenberg; Limited edition of 1500 numbered copies signed by illustrator
Leo Tolstoy. War and Peace. The Franklin Library, Pennsylvania (1984). 3 volumes