Ulysses makes latest epic price

Though the designer binding was a fine if later one, the original paper covers were still present on one of the 100 signed copies of the 1922, first edition James Joyce’s Ulysses sold by Fonsie Mealy at €85,000 (£75,895).

Stand-out lot in a recent Irish sale was one of the 100 special copies of Ulysses printed on Dutch handmade paper by Van Gelder that James Joyce signed on publication in Paris in 1922.

Extracted from Antiques Trade Gazette | Ian McKay

The June 18 sale held by Fonsie Mealy (20/25% buyer’s premium) contained copy No 30 of that select part of the complete edition of 1000 copies produced by Shakespeare & Company in Paris.

In a later morocco gilt binding by Buddenbrooks of Boston, but with the simple and well-known ‘Greek flag’ or bluish green paper covers bound in, it sold at a near high-estimate €85,000 (£75,895).

The Castlecomer, Co Kilkenny, auction house noted that most of these special copies are now in either institutional or private collections.

In 2004 a fine, as issued example in those paper wrappers made $250,000 (then £140,00) at Sotheby’s New York as part of the fine Neville library, but two years earlier, at Christie’s New York, $410,000 (then £262,400) had been paid for a copy in the Roger Rechler library.

An out-of-series copy on Van Gelder Zonen paper, it was un-numbered and unsigned, but inscribed by Joyce for Henry Kaeser, a Lausanne publisher he had met while in France.

Eric Gill jacket design

One of 500 copies on Japan vellum of the 1936 Bodley Head edition of Ulysses, still in its dust jacket, made £2300 in a recent Tennants sale.

In 1936 the Bodley Head produced a limited edition of Ulysses that contained extra appendices dealing with the book’s difficult legal history.

A hundred copies were printed on mould-made paper and bound in vellum gilt (one example of which made a record £16,500 at a Dominic Winter sale in 2003) but a further 500 were printed on Japan vellum and featured on both the green boards and dust jacket the same gilt bow design by Eric Gill.

One of those copies made £2300 in a June 7 sale held by Tennants (20% buyer’s premium) of Leyburn.