Death of a Salesman (Signed Limited Edition - 1981 Viking)

BY Arthur Miller
Book Information1Thus/1/2/US/VK/1981/500  •  222x152x25  •  488  •  Pulitzer'49

Death of a Salesman was sobering lament of paradigm shift and unfulfilled destiny, first published by Viking Press in 1949, that brought Arthur Miller fame and success. It won the Pulitzer and the New York Drama Critics' Circle Award and the book would go on to sell over 3 million copies, in addition to over 700 performances on Broadway, by 1981. It is under the backdrop of this successful book sales that prompted Viking Press to issued this 500-copy signed limited edition, the first with at least three other publisher issued signed limited editions to follow over the years. Based on an ephemera, which came with the book, of what appears to be the receipt of the original purchase in April of 1981, the book retailed for $50, or roughly $100 in 2015 dollar assuming 2% annual inflation.

The three other signed editions that I know of are:
  • A 1500-copy signed limited edition - additionally signed by Leonard Baskin, the illustrator - issued by The Limited Editions Club in 1982.
  • A 50th anniversary signed edition of unknown copies issued by The Penguin Press in 1999.
  • A 50th anniversary signed collector's edition of unknown copies issued by Easton Press in 1999. 

This is  copy 373 of the 1981 signed limited edition issued by Viking Press. The book is bound in brown clothed board with gilt lettering on spine and gilt facsimile of Arthur Miller's signature to the lower right of the front board, and has gilt topstain. The book is issued without dust jacket in a slipcase, also bound in the same brown cloth with gilt facsimile signature. Arthur Miller's signed on the half title page in black and the colophon states that the book is a "special autographed edition" of 500 copies followed by the book's allotted number. There are numerous pictures of the set and actors from the various stage productions between pages 70 and 71.

This book is readily available and a VG copy can be purchased from eBay or Abebooks from $350 onwards. This is a NF copy with a NF slipcase and a NF- book penalized for some minor loss of gilt on spine. The book comes with its original purchase receipt.


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