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Peter Harrington

J. D. Salinger.

The Catcher in the Rye.

The reclusive author makes a rare presentation to the teenage son of his childhood friend


First edition, first printing, extremely rare presentation copy, inscribed by the author to the teenage son of his childhood friend Ada on the front free endpaper: “To Charles Kirtz with every good wish from J. D. Salinger (extra greetings to Ada and Victor from Sonny Salinger) New York 10/18/56”.

This is an exceptional rarity: signed or inscribed copies by the reclusive author are legendarily rare. The informal sign-off, “Sonny”, was the nickname given to Salinger by his parents when he was born.

Salinger, who grew up alongside Ada and her brother Victor in the same New York apartment house, presented Ada’s sons, Charles (then around the same age as Holden Caulfield) and William, each with an inscribed first edition. He passed on the copies to the boys via Ada’s mother, Ann, whose bookplate is on the front pastedown.

An inscribed copy of Catcher in the Rye is perhaps the most elusive prize in 20th-century literature. Auction records show only one appearance of an inscribed first edition (at Doyle in 2010).