Rare copy of Joyce's 'Dubliners' fetches €157,600


A copy of Dubliners by James Joyce sold at Sotheby’s in London yesterday for £127,250 (€157,600), the second highest price paid for a rare, first edition copy of the book at auction.

The collection of short stories was published in 1914 by publishers Grant Richards in London priced three shillings and sixpence.

Sotheby’s said the copy sold yesterday had been inscribed and presented by Joyce to his Italian friend Roberto Prezioso in June 1914.

Prezioso was an Italian journalist who had been a student at the Berlitz language school in Trieste where Joyce lived and taught English.

Prezioso was also Joyce’s model for the character of Robert Hand in the play Exiles.

Sotheby’s said inscribed first editions of Dubliners were rare. The book might have made more if it had the original dust jacket.

The highest price ever paid at auction for a copy of Dubliners – with a dust jacket and inscribed by Joyce – was at Christie’s in New York 10 years ago, where a copy fetched €210,000.

Earlier this year, a first edition of Oscar Wilde’s The Importance of Being Earnest sold for just over €263,650 at Sotheby’s New York.

The highest price for a book by an Irish author was for a first edition of Joyce’s Ulysses, which made €368,400 at Christie’s in New York in 2002.

Also in yesterday’s sale, a collection of 10 love letters by Mick Jagger to American singer (and inspiration for Brown Sugar) Marsha Hunt sold for €228,350.

Dr Gabriel Heaton of Sotheby’s said the letters, written in 1969, depict Jagger, “not as the global superstar he is today, but reveal him as a poetic and self-aware 25-year-old with wide-ranging intellectual and artistic interests”.