I might be rich. Or I might own a really bad counterfeit copy of a first edition Breakfast At Tiffany’s.
You tell me.
The provenance of the book is perfect since it came from the wonderful estate of a high-end collector who lived in New York City in the 50s and 60s and was friendly with many in the publishing world. The sale was held in his home where thousands of volumes were double and triple stacked and I, along with many other local book nerds and out-of-town dealers, spent hours that stretched into days combing through the shelves and finding numerous signed first editions.
So, when I spotted the bright orange cover pressed in between two larger books I was confident in its authenticity.This was not a man who bought fake books on street corners.
The jacket cover is worn and bears the first edition pen drawing of Capote on the back. But after I got the book home and examined it further, there are some issues:
- The jacket has no price or printing date.
- There is no copyright page or a Random House imprint anywhere except on the “about the author” page.
- It is not bound in the First Edition bright yellow binding but in a more red/brown tone.
- The paper is thin and upon further examination the typeset is unaligned.
- There are missing words in the text. Some letters are handwritten (which does look like a galley.)
- And most concerning is the side title on the book jacket which reads “EREAKFAST AT TIFFANYS.”
- After some investigation around town, one friend of the original owner told me that he had heard that it was a bound galley copy that Capote had printed for his friends in advance of publication.
- But a book dealer I know was puzzled, thought it might be a bad 1950s fake and suggested I find a modern literature book expert. And that’s where y’all come in.
- If you have any ideas, let me know. I’m prepared for the bad news…but if anyone has some great news that would also be welcomed!
- In the meantime I’m proudly displaying it as my mystery Capote book. It somehow seems appropriate.