Financial titan J.P. Morgan's book collection was so large that he employed a full time librarian. Composer extraordinaire Jerome Kern sold his collection of English and American Lit for $1.7 million in 1929. Michigan lawyer Bruce Kahn's collection of nearly 15,000 books is very likely the greatest gathering of modern first editions ever assembled. Bruce Kahn who?


That's right, since the 1980's Bruce Kahn has been quietly and diligently buying up the rarest and most pristine modern firsts on the market. Not only did Kahn go after a certain book by a particular author, he went after every book, in every collectible edition, for that author. So, for Paul Auster, the Kahn Collection boasts a copy -- 1 of 26 lettered and signed -- of Wall Writing ($1250.00); a copy -- 1 of 20 numbered and signed -- of Fragments from Cold ($1750.00); and a copy -- 1 of 26 lettered and signed -- of the New York Trilogy ($7500.00).


Tom Congalton, of Between the Covers Rare Books, jokingly describes Kahn as "a pain in the ass to sell books to. He always wanted his books to be in perfect condition, and even the slightest flaw would be either unacceptable, or even if he finally decided he could overlook some nearly microscopic flaw, it had damn well better be mitigated by being a unique copy or an exceptionally rare book, or an important association copy, or preferably both."


Bruce Kahn's persistence to perfection is evident in every single volume of his collection, from his edition of James M. Cain's The Postman Always Rings Twice, which is described as "essentially a flawless, perfect copy. While it is pretty much an unalterable rule that somewhere in the world there will always be a better copy, this copy breaks the rule" ($27,500.00); his "immaculate copy" of Harper Lee's To Kill A Mockingbird ($35,000.00), to his signed copy of Margaret Mitchell's Gone With the Wind which "is so fresh it appears to be facsimile, but it is not" ($55,000.00).


J.P. and Jerome who?



Wondering what one of your books is worth? Feel free to PM me through My Profile Page.

by Moderator Melissa_W on ‎05-15-2009 03:43 PM

I was thinking about this post...and then Booking through Thursday has a meme about book gluttony.


While copies of books that are collected for their value and condition are nice (and I enjoy looking at a well-preserved collection), I don't think I could do that even if I had all the money I needed to purchase the books.


I'm too much of a reader.  I have signed firsts of several Jasper Fforde (if he ever makes it back to the midwest then he's going to sign the rest), Diane Setterfield, Alice Sebold, and Elizabeth Kostova but they're not in pristine condition because the books have been read cover to cover and loved.  I try to keep them in good shape so they last but I'm not freaking out about dust or shelf wear.

by on ‎05-16-2009 09:30 AM

pedsphleb.." Book Gluttony " Good title for a book

by on ‎05-16-2009 10:01 AM
Beatles Attorney Kahn..Obsessive Compulsive. if thats him..Who shall he leave them to?   I have a John Irving,because he lives here in Manchester Vt ,a few Local Authors,Howard Frank Mosher, and one  By the Author of Revolutionary Road,..Short Stories..Hardcover,1st e.Richard / I am not recalling his last daughter has them..
About Unabashedly Bookish: The BN Community Blog
Unabashedly Bookish features new articles every day from the Book Clubs staff, guest authors, and friends on hot topics in the world of books, language, writing, and publishing. From trends in the publishing business to updates on genre fiction fan communities, from fun lessons on grammar to reflections on literature in our personal lives, this blog is the best source for your daily dose of all things bookish.


Since 1997, you’ve been coming to to discuss everything from Stephen King to writing to Harry Potter. You’ve made our site more than a place to discover your next book: you’ve made it a community. But like all things internet, is growing and changing. We've said goodbye to our community message boards—but that doesn’t mean we won’t still be a place for adventurous readers to connect and discover.

Now, you can explore the most exciting new titles (and remember the classics) at the Barnes & Noble Book Blog. Check out conversations with authors like Jeff VanderMeer and Gary Shteyngart at the B&N Review, and browse write-ups of the best in literary fiction. Come to our Facebook page to weigh in on what it means to be a book nerd. Browse digital deals on the NOOK blog, tweet about books with us,or self-publish your latest novella with NOOK Press. And for those of you looking for support for your NOOK, the NOOK Support Forums will still be here.

We will continue to provide you with books that make you turn pages well past midnight, discover new worlds, and reunite with old friends. And we hope that you’ll continue to tell us how you’re doing, what you’re reading, and what books mean to you.