I am always amazed by the treasures that turn up when you dig around a little, by the deals discovered, the moments of history as well as by the strange mishaps of fate. One such example is that of a recent listing on a popular auction site of Michael Crichton's book 'Jurassic Park'.
Michael Crichton, as you know is a writer of adventurous fiction, whose work Jurassic Park, The Andromeda Strain, Prey have all become bestsellers worldwide. His appeal as a novelist makes him an instant candidate for a collector's library.
However, sometimes this is just not meant to be, as the collector's market can be a fickle one. Recently an unproofed galley copy of Jurassic Park was made available on a well-known auction site, and hovered around the lowest of bids for weeks. Why is this the case?
To start with, we have to understand what a galley proof is, which, in the publishing industry is the first in-house print run of a book used for editing, reviews and sent out to screenwriters, directors, newspaper critics. In some cases such an item, because of its limited nature, would be remarkably valuable (particularly if it had personal provenance such as authors or editors comments written in/on it). In the case of our Jurassic Park however, the moral of this story is 'too soon and too much'. Even though Crichton was hugely successful with this very book, the book was only published in the 90's, a mere twenty years ago. Also, the huge success and merchandise associated with the film means that the collector's market has probably been flooded with Jurassic-Park themed items (and not just books). In a very real sense, the huge popularity of the film has meant that the book is much less collectible, as it cannot be considered scarce, unique or rare.
Instead, first editions of Jurrasic Park and Michael Crichton's novel languish in the pocket-money level. But will it stay there? Perhaps in another decade or two, this prominent speculative tale will rise to the level of a classic collectible!
Crichton, Michael. Odds On. Signet Books (1966). Writing As John Lange; Paperback Original.
Crichton, Michael. A Case Of Need. NAL/World Publishing Company (1968). Hudson, Jeffery (Pseudonym Of Michael Crichton); First Printing
Crichton, Michael. A Case Of Need. Heinemann (1968). Hudson, Jeffery (Pseudonym Of Michael Crichton); First Uk And Hardcover Edition
Crichton, Michael. The Andromeda Strain. Alfred A. Knopf (1969). First Printing; Authors First Novel (Under His Own Name).
Crichton, Michael. The Venom Business. World Publishing compaNY (1969). Writing As John Lange; First Printing
Crichton, Michael. Five Patients. Alfred A. Knopf, Inc. (1970). The Hospital Explained; First Printing
Crichton, Michael. Dealing. Alfred A. Knopf (1971). Or The Berkeley-To-Boston Forty-Brick Lost-Bag Blues; Writing As Michael Douglas With Douglas Crichton; First Printing
Crichton, Michael. Binary. Alfred A. Knopf (1972). Writing As John Lange; First Printing; $5.95 Price
Crichton, Michael. Eaters Of The Dead. Alfred A Knopf Inc, Westminister, MD (1976). The Manuscript Of Ibn Fadlan Relating His Experiences With The Northmen In A.D. 922; First Printing
Crichton, Michael. Jasper Johns. Harry N Abrams Inc, Boston, MA (1977). Exhibition Catalogue Which Includes 172 Large Plates Including 61 In Full Color With 6 Foldout Plates; 149 black and white Illus. Text By Michael Crichton.
Crichton, Michael. Travels. Franklin Library, Franklin Center, PA (1988). Signed Limited Edition; True First Us Edition; First Printing.
Michael Crichton. Jurassic Park. Franklin Library, Franklin Center, PA (1990). Signed, Limited First Edition With Frontispiece. Leather Bound Edition With Gold Gilt Design On Cover And Spine And Gold Gilt Page Ends.
Crichton, Michael. Jurassic Park. Alfred A Knopf (1990). First Printing; Trade Edition.
Crichton, Michael. The Lost World. Franklin Library, Franklin Center, PA (1990). Limited First Edition Signed By Author; Includes A Special Message For The First Edition From Michael Crichton
Crichton, Michael. Disclosure. Franklin Library, Franklin Center, PA (1993). Hand-Signed In Blue Ink By Michael Crichton On Bound-In Signature Page That States:This Limited, Leather-Bound Edition Has Been Privately Printed And Personally Signed By The Author, Exclusively For The Signed First Edition Society. The True First Edition.
Michael Crichton. Lost World. Franklin Press, Franklin Center, PA (1995). Signed, Leather Bound Edition.
Crichton, Michael. The Lost World. Alfred A. Knopf (1995). First Trade Edition
Michael Crichton. Airframe. The Franklin Library, Franklin Center, PA (1996). Signed Lrather Bound Edition
Crichton, Michael. Airframe. B.E. Trice, New Orleans, LA (1996). Deluxe Limited Edition Signed By Author; Brushed Aluminum Slipcase
Crichton, Michael. Airframe. Alfred A Knopf, Westminister, MD (1996). First Printing Stated; Trade Edition
Crichton, Michael. Prey. Harpercollins Publishers (2002). First Printing Stated.
Crichton, Michael. The Andromeda Strain. The Easton Press, Norfolk, CT (2003). 500 Signed, Numbered Copies; Deluxe Illustrated Edition Features Artwork By Hugo Award Winning Artist Bob Eggleton.
Michael Crichton. Jurassic Park. Easton Press, Norwalk, CT (2008). Signed, Leather Bound Edition Accented In 22Kt Gold. 2 Volumes.