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Sample Autograph Signature: Zane Grey

American author best known for his popular adventure novels. Pearl Zane Grey (that first name was used very seldom, and his books invariably were authored by "Zane Grey") wrote, for the most part, Western American fiction. He also wrote books on hunting and fishing, a few children's titles, and even a story of pearl diving in New Zealand. He became quite popular early in his career (prior to 1910) and remains so to this day. But that early popularity also means that most of his books are comparatively common and therefore not particularly valuable except in very good condition in dustjackets. His first book was a biography of his grandmother: Betty Zane. It was published by Charles Francis Press in 1903 in an attractive Victorian cloth binding, but for practical purposes was a vanity publication, and the edition probably didn't exceed 2000 copies. A second edition was printed and was probably no larger. Neither, it is believed, had dustjackets. A nice first is certainly worth at least $2500 and a signed copy probably three times that, or more. The second printing is apparently bringing several hundred. The vast majority of his books were first published by Harper. With several exceptions, they generally follow the Harper first edition identification system: that is, until 1912, matching dates on title page and copyright page; 1912-1922, a letter code corresponding to the month and year of publication; and after 1922, a "First edition" statement but also with a letter code. Note that one of Grey's most significant westerns, Riders of the Purple Sage, published in 1912, predated Harper's introduction of the letter code in April, and therefore carries no letter code. Although Harper is known to have been reasonably consistent in applying their stated first edition identification rules, the Zane Grey books they published contain a surprising number of exceptions. Seven titles published after 1922 fail to carry the "First Edition" statement which should be found: Roping Lions in the Grand Canyon, The Wolf Tracker, Zane Grey's Book of Camps and Trails, Zane Grey Omnibus, Rogue River Feud, Captives of the Desert, and Stranger From the Tonto. Bill McBride's "Points of Issue" notes the letter code which would signify the firsts of these items. McBride also lists the letter codes on the earlier titles, which would not, in any event, have stated first edition. However he has a mistake: The Day of the Beast, published in 1922 has a first edition statement, but the letter code is G-W, not C-W. And according to one bibliographical source, The Fugitive Trail carries no code and no First edition statement, an exception not noted by McBride. Three of Grey's books were first published by companies usually identified as reprinters. A.L. Burt published two of his early books: The Spirit of the Border in 1906, and The Last Trail in 1909. McBride lists a series of points on these books, but it is safe to assume a first edition if the publisher's address (52-58 Duane Street) appears on the copyright page. Later printings do not have this. And Grosset & Dunlap published Red Headed Outfield, and is identifiable by the number of Grey titles listed on the advertising in the book (11 titles) and on the jacket (18 titles). Grey did not sign a lot of books, so his signature has significant value. The Last of the Plainsmen, a biography of Buffalo Jones, is fairly frequently found signed by both men. And Grosset & Dunlap did a signed edition of Thunder Mountain which is reportedly fairly common. The values of the first editions decrease precipitously after the early 1920's. Without dustjacket, very few have values over $30 or so. Content provided by Don Gallagher.

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