Who was the most famous Detroiter born in 1902 on this day in history? If you answered Charles A Lindbergh you can go to the head of the class. Working in relative obscurity until 1927 when he flew non-stop from Roosevelt Field in Garden City on New York’s Long Island to Le Bourget Field in Paris, France, a distance of nearly 3,600 statute miles (5,800 km), in the single-seat, single-engine purpose-built Ryan monoplane Spirit of St. Louis. This flight put Lindbergh in the spotlight where he would stay the rest of his life.
So why are we discussing an aviator on a bookstore page? Well, Lindberg also became an award winning author. Books like ‘We” and “The Spirit of St Louis” sold as fast as publishers could print them. And today collectors of aviation literature covet these works and they hold rather amazing prices. His works are only slightly overshadowed by another aviator, Amelia Earhart.
So what would a collector have to pay for a first edition of “We” in fine condition today? The book was published on July 15th, 1927 by G.P. Putnam with an initial printing of only 60,000 copies. The book was published in a red cloth and a blue cloth, most collectors favor the blue cloth. Today a collector can look at paying up to $600.00 for a crisp clean copy with a jacket. Signed copies can be had for $3,500 or more.
What about “The Spirit of St Louis”, what does it sell for? This was the book which won Lindbergh a Pulitzer Prize. It was first published by Scribner’s and must have the ‘A’ on the back of the title page to be a first edition. First Edition copies can sell for as much as $500 but the signed presentation copies, which preceded the trade edition can go for up to $5,000 and come in a slipcase.
So look through your shelves and see if you have a copy of these books and we will have more tomorrow. If you don’t, come on down to Landmark Books and we can show you our selection of books by Lindbergh.