All the Pretty Horses

BY Cormac McCarthy
Book Information1/1/0/US/AF/1992/c.190,000  •  220x152x30  •  573  •   NBA'92  •   NBCCA'92

Today's Cormac McCarthy's 82nd birthday, and I thought I'll post his Alfred Knopf books for the occasion. McCarthy published his first five novels with Random House, including his best works "Suttree" and "Blood Meridian", but following the retirement of his Random House editor - the legendary Albert Erskine who was also editor to William Faulkner and Robert Penn Warren, published Ralph Ellison's "The Invisible Man", and was once married to Katherine Ann Porter - he moved to Alfred Knopf to work with Gary Fisketjon whose editorial advertisement made "All the Pretty Horses" McCarthy's first critically acclaimed best-seller; his previous work with Random House were well received by the critics but didn't sell: one New York Times article cited that no title sold more than 5,000 copies. "All the Pretty Horses", published in 1992, sold over 190,000 hardbound  (first edition?) copies in the first six months. The book also won the National Book Award and the National Book Critics Circle Award in 1992. 

"All The Pretty Horses" and the next two books, "The Crossing" and "The Cities of Plain", are collectively known as "The Border Trilogy".

This is the first edition first printing hardbound version with first state dust jacket that is unclipped, showing the correct price of $21.00 and a large green "A" at the beginning of the book description on the front flap . The book is bound in black board and black clothed spine with gilt lettering, gilt "CM" on the front board, and no topstain. The copyright page should state "First edition". There is a rare variant dust jacket with the front flap's large "A" in black rather than green, and with four instead of five reviews at the back of the jacket, the omitted review being the one from Publishers Weekly. Copies with this dust jacket are sometimes listed on eBay for as high as $2,750 often with no taker. A more realistic price, based on the actual auctioned price of one such copy on eBay in Sep 2015, is around $975. Personally, I'm not a fan of this dust jacket because it is too easy to counterfeit, and honestly, there is no authoritative provenance around it.

This book, with the green "A" and five reviews jacket, is not particularly rare and a VG copy can be purchased from eBay or Abebooks, albeit at widely varying prices of between $100 to over $500, and these are not even the (allegedly) signed copies. This is a VG+ copy with a VG+ dust jacket that is slightly sunned and a VG+ book that is tight and clean but has a stain on the verso of the first page where the novel starts.

There are no official signed copy (i.e., publisher issued) for this first edition, and Cormac McCarthy is known for being a very private man who signed very few of his books so signed first edition of this title is very rare and therefore valuable, pricing in excess of $2,000. That also means bogus signatures abound so caveat emptor. The only official signed copy is the advanced reading copy (ARC), of a different design, issued in softbound with a slipcase by the publisher that usually sells for over $500.


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