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Annotated Reference Guide to Collectible Books

Twain Tom Sawyer

The Adventures of Tom Sawyer was originally published in 1876 and quickly became an American classic, despite it being somewhat eclipsed by Adventures of Huckleberry Finn. Mark Twain's novel has been in turn praised and censored, but its impact on American literature is undeniable, and so it is one of the most collectible novels of the 19th century.

Because Mark Twain was such a popular figure in his time, as famous for his public speaking as he was his writing, his signature is actually rather common and so a signed copy of The Adventures of Tom Sawyer is not as valuable as one might think. In fact, a signed copy is more likely to derive its value from its age than its signature, since any book with a legitimate inscription was necessarily signed before Twain's death in 1910. Signed copies might sell for just a few thousand dollars, if not in good condition. Conversely, a first edition in great condition without a signature recently sold at auction for nearly $44,000.

The American first edition of The Adventures of Tom Sawyer was published by American Publishing Company in 1876, and is recognizable by a bold blue cover with gold lettering, four gold stars, and a black lined design. The first British edition, which is worth slightly less, was published in the same year with a red cover and gilt lettering. The British edition was actually released about six months earlier than its American counterpart, but because of Twain's nationality and close association with the Mississippi region, the American version is worth substantially more.

Twain, Mark. The Adventures of Tom Sawyer. American Publishing Co: Hartford, CT (1876). First U.S. Edition

Twain, Mark. The Adventures of Tom Sawyer. Chatto and Windus: London (1876).

Twain, Mark. The Adventures of Tom Sawyer. Chatto and Windus: London (1877).

Twain, Mark. The Adventures of Tom Sawyer. Chatto and Windus: London (1889). Second U.K. Edition

Twain, Mark. The Adventures of Tom Sawyer. Random House: New York (1930). Limited Edition; 2000 copies; Illustrated by Donald McKay; Signed by Illustrator

Twain, Mark. The Adventures of Tom Sawyer. Limited Editions Club: Cambridge (1939). 1500 copies; Edited with an introduction by Bernard DeVoto; Illustrated by Thomas Hart Benton

Twain, Mark. The Adventures of Tom Sawyer. Easton Press, Norwalk: CT (1964). Illustrated by Normal Rockwell