Value of Tom Sawyer Book?

August 2, 2022

The cover of a yellow Tom Sawyer book.I have a Tom Sawyer by Samuel Clemens YELLOW hardcover. Complete New Edition Illustrated. The Goldsmith Publishing Company Chicago. Hartford, 1876. I am trying to find the value of it. Every one I can find has a reddish color hardcover. Is this a unique copy of this book?


The title page of "The Adventures of Tom Sawyer"


Silver Post Medal for All Time! 267 Posts
August 2, 20220 found this helpful
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Here is what I found, although I would definitely talk to an antique store that specialized in old books to be sure of the value.

According to Wikipedia, Tom Sawyer was published under the name "Mark Twain", which was Samuel Clemens' pen name. Here is the information listed under the "Publication" section.

(blockquote)"In November 1875 Twain gave the manuscript to Elisha Bliss of the American Publishing Company, who sent it to True Williams for the illustrations. A little later, Twain had the text also quickly published at Chatto and Windus of London, in June 1876, but without illustration. Pirate editions appeared very quickly in Canada and Germany. The American Publishing Company finally published its edition in December 1876, which was the first illustrated edition of Tom Sawyer." (/blockquote)


As you can see, neither of the original publishers are "The Goldsmith Publishing Company." It is possible that it was published before the official Twain versions, which would make sense using the author's actual name. It could also be a pirated copy. However, more research into that publishing company shows that they were founded in 1931 and specialized in children's books.

I think this book is part of a larger collection of children's books that probably matched, to be sold to schools or libraries.
If you look on the copyright page, on the reverse of the title page, you will see some more information about the version, probably with a date that is after 1931. The "New Edition" is also a clue that it was not original. I have no idea why they would not choose to use the author's chosen pen name, as he is one of the most famous American authors.


It looks to be in relatively good shape so it probably has some value, even if it isn't a first edition. If you find out any new information, please let us know!

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August 2, 20220 found this helpful
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Looks like Jess has provided the information you were asking for.
I can only add that the clue to the value of the book lies in the name of the publishing company.
Goldsmith Publishing Company Chicago
Notice: Made in the USA - none of the original early books have this statement.
"Goldsmith Publishing Company was founded in Chicago around 1931 as a publisher of affordable hardback children's books. From 1937 the firm shared office space with M. A. Donohue Company, but it went out of business around 1939."


This company published versions of many of the children's classics, and most were made with cheap, inexpensive paper and cheap cardboard covers. One article states most of these books had colorful dust covers. The books were marketed to schools as reading material for younger children; hence the inexpensive material, as children were usually rough on books and copies had to be replaced quite often.
Here is a picture of the original book with dust cover.
Judging by other books by this publisher, their favorite color was yellow.

Your book may be in better condition than some listed for sale/sold, but it appears the value of your book would be less than $10.

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August 2, 20220 found this helpful

I found similar book:
Publisher: Goldsmith

There is a photo of Preface and "Hartford, 1876".


Starting bid: US $7.97
0 bids for now, but it is listed from Monday.

Wait a bit and see how much a similar book will sell for.

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August 2, 20220 found this helpful

This Tom Sawyer by Samuel Clemens book has yellow hardcover:
The price is $5.99, starting bid is $1.99, but there are no bids.

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August 2, 20220 found this helpful

This book is over 100 years old, which makes it an antique. I would consult with a dealer on this one.

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August 3, 20220 found this helpful

You might want to have it professionally appraised.
In June of 1876 the first American edition of Tom Sawyer was published by American Publishing Co. in Hartford, Connecticut. The first American edition can sell for upwards of $90,000, while the true first editions sell for closer to $10,000.


The blue cover edition is listed for $ 65,000.00 & 45,000.00 @ Abe Books:

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August 3, 20220 found this helpful

You look at the Preface page and see "Hartford, 1876" there, but that's not the publication date of this book. Jess has provided the right information. I think there is no doubt that the Goldsmith Publishing Company, which existed in the period 1931-1939, could not publish your book in 1876.

Here is the information from the Harry Ransom Center website (the Harry Ransom Center is an archive, library and museum at the University of Texas at Austin, specializing in the collection of literary and cultural artifacts from the Americas and Europe):

"Goldsmith Publishing Company was founded in Chicago around 1931 as a publisher of affordable hardback children's books. From 1937 the firm shared office space with M. A. Donohue Company, but it went out of business around 1939. See 'Dictionary of Literary Biography' 46 (1986), p. 162."

According to one of Goldsmith Publishing's writers, William Dixon Bell in 1938, Goldsmith had "large distributing houses" in England, Canada, and Australia. It published cloth bound novels "to retail at 23 cents", relying on a first printing and sale of 25,000 copies.
-- paraphrase and quotation of Bell, a local writer, by Lee Shippey LA Times 1938-04-23 pA4

There are many similar books "Tom Sawyer, Samuel Clemens, Goldsmith Publishing", but in different color hardcovers, such as red, yellow, gray, etc.:

Sellers who write the year printed of such a book as "1876" are misled into believing that they have a book from the 1800s and a correspondingly valuable book, for example as in these cases:
this one is listed at $189.89

Tom Sawyer by Samuel Clemens 1876 hardcover Goldsmith Complete New Edition at $50

Here is the correct listing:
1934 Tom Sawyer Samuel Clemons complete new edition at $22
And that's the real price for this book.

Here is a similar Tom Sawyer, Samuel Clemens, Goldsmith Publishing sold for $20 on Mar 14, 2021

Your book is from the 1930s, its value is about $20-25.

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