Two Nabokov items are coming up at Swann Auction Galleries in New York on 21 November, sale 2332. The descriptions are clear but too self-serving to give one a sense of how the items compare to other available copies. For example, the dust jacket on the Laughter in the Dark is in very poor condition. A copy with a decent dust jacket (good to very good) would go for $1000–3000. One without would go for $100–200. So the estimate of $500–700 here is high. The Lolita is also over-estimated. The two volumes show wear through their nicked edges and slightly turned corners. It is neither “uncommon” or “superlative”. A fair estimate would be $2500–3500. I don’t expect either copy to sell even at the low estimates.
To quote from the catalog:
NABOKOV, VLADIMIR. Laughter in the Dark. 8vo, original brown cloth, slight lean; dust jacket, scattered chipping with some loss to spine panel ends and top of front panel, cellotape repairs on verso, overall rubbing; housed in custom cloth drop-back case with leather lettering label to spine. Indianapolis and New York: Bobbs-Merrill, (1938)
Estimate $500 – 750
First American edition, presumed second state binding in the variant brown cloth, of Nabokov’s (here “Nabokoff”) own translation of his first book to be published in the United States. The work appeared first in London in 1936 as Camera Obscura. Nabokov objected to that translation to the extent that he prevented any reprint from appearing. Juliar A142. [That should be A14.2, variant c; brown cloth is the third variant, neither a state and nor the second.]
NABOKOV, VLADIMIR. Lolita. 2 volumes. Small 8vo, publisher’s green, white, and black printed wrappers, clean and bright with no soiling or staining; internally free from any markings, very uncommon in such fine condition; preserved in cloth slipcase with lettering label, and chemise. Paris: The Olympia Press, (1955)
Estimate $6,000 – 9,000
First edition, first issue of Nabokov’s masterpiece with unobscured printed price of 900 Francs on each volume. Lolita was not published in the U.S. and the U.K. until 1959. A superlative example. Juliar A28.1.1.