You can pick up a new paperback copy of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby for a few bucks at most any bookstore in the U.S. As of last week, for a few more dollars—$15—you can even pick up a copy with a new tie-in cover featuring the cast of the Gatsby movie coming to theaters May 10. But if you want an original first-edition copy of the book, you’ll need Gatsby-level wealth. When sold with its original dust jacket, The Great Gatsby can be one of the most expensive rare books on the market.
A copy went on sale this week via the U.K.-based online rare-book hub The Jones Brothers, and it’s priced at a whopping £125,000, about $194,000. (The site, which serves to connect dealers to buyers, also has access to a few other Gatsby first editions in various conditions, which start at a relatively affordable £90,000.) Another copy sold at Bonham’s auction house in 2009 for a then-record price of $180,000.
So why is the first edition so expensive? There are three main factors, says Jones: rarity, cover art and story.
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