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Pynchon's literary career spans the late modern to hypermodern eras, so the fussy approach of focusing on the very best copies you can locate, insisting on dust jackets, taking exceptional care in presenting them visually to potential buyers, detailing issue points, etc., is once again called for, relaxing the F/F standard only on early titles - V. (1963), The Crying of Lot 49 (1966) and Gravity's Rainbow (1973) - and, only in a pinch, pushing the occasional jacketless copy of one of these through.

All 8 Pynchon firsts are WBW (about $30 and up). Look for mid to high 3-figure outcomes for firsts of V. and Gravity's Rainbow, perhaps 4 figures for exceptional copies, and low 3-figure outcomes for The Crying of Lot 49. Trade softcover firsts of Gravity's Rainbow - about $50. Slow Learner, a collection of short stories also simultaneously issued in hardcover and trade softcover formats, will usually struggle to reach 3 figures in hardcover. The softcover, though less common, will likely struggle at half that. Though published 7 years apart, Vineland, widely regarded as his least successful book, and the later Mason & Dixon will both rise to about $50 in today's markeplace, the more recent Against the Day and Inherent Vice to $20 or $30. Expect all of these prices to head north as we move into better economic times, and despite large numbers of Pynchon's later books in the field, a Nobel nomination or death will spike values of everything. Meanwhile, if his more recent books can be snagged for a buck or two at sales, it would be prudent to start a pile.

Pynchon opportunities:

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1963. Philadelphia: J.B. Lippincott Co. No printing statement on title page verso. Later printings so stated. (Note that Lippincott deviated from its usual practice of stating "First Edition" to accommodate a V-shaped justification of text on the copyright page.) Dust jacket price: $5.95. First issue dust jacket with chapter headings and no reviews on back panel. Reviews added on second issue dust jacket. 1963 National Book Award nominee. 1963 William Faulkner Foundation award for best debut novel of the year.

2. The Crying of Lot 49

1966. Philadelphia: J.B. Lippincott Co. "First Edition" stated on title page verso. Later printings so stated. First issue dust jacket with "366" (publication date) at top of front flap and $5.95 price at bottom. "366" dropped from second issue dust jacket.

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