Rare Edition of THE BELLS?

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I have a copy of The Bells by Edgar Allan Poe that was published by Porter & Coates of Philadelphia in 1881. It has a number of engraved pen and ink illustrations by Darley, McCutcheon, Fredericks, Perkins, King, Riordan and Northam.

The book is 6 1/2 by 8 inches, bound in some kind of thick vellum, almost feels like plastic, with scalloped edges and a purple ribbon through the spine, tied with a bow.

The book is in good condition with some discoloration of the covers and some minor water(?) staining on the flyleaf. Does anyone know the value of this book?

-- Anonymous, December 16, 1999


Poe's poem was intitially written in 1848 and first published in November of 1849, a few weeks after his death. The edition of "The Bells" you mention is quite common, though the illustrations are very attractive. It exists in a wide variety of forms and bindings. (I own one in a particularly nice hand-painted, imitation vellum.) I have seen lots of these selling over the last few months on Ebay and nearly a dozen are listed on www.abebooks.com, with prices ranging from $22 to $250. Part of the difference seems to be the binding, and the condition, but much of it is the whim of the seller. I rarely see it sell outside the $50 - $100 range unless there is really something special about it or you find an unusually eager buyer.

-- Anonymous, December 27, 1999

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