This page represents a departure from our typical listing of big game hunting books. Because so many Trophy Room Books customers enjoy reading Wilbur Smith books, we spent a lot of time trying to find them in collectible condition. This page is an effort to share our knowledge and enthusiasm with you.
Wilbur Smith has authored thirty-two books on Africa. His works have been described as a combination of James Michener’s epic-historical, Ian Fleming’s James Bond and Tom Clancey. He is easy to read, enjoyable to read and informative. We personally became interested in Wilbur Smith over thirty years ago after picking up his paperbacks to read on long plane trips. Then we decided to put together a complete collection of his works in first British editions, and with dust jackets. That’s when we realized how hard they were to obtain.
In the early years of Wilbur Smith’s writing, he was known primarily in the United Kingdom, Africa, Australia and New Zealand. His appeal throughout the US and Canada came later and increased greatly in the last several years as the result of speaking engagements at events such as Dallas Safari and the Safari Club International conventions. He is as engaging a speaker as he is a storyteller. With some of his works being made into feature length movies it is likely his popularity will increase even more.
Wilbur Smith’s books were all originally published in the United Kingdom. Heinemann was his publisher from 1964 to 1989 and issued twenty-one titles. Since 1990, Macmillan has published all of his works, issuing eleven titles. In the US, Smith has had at least six different publishers but seems to have settled on St. Martin’s Press as they have published his last six titles.
There has been a steady price increase in Wilbur Smith books over the past few years as collectors realize that books in nice condition are hard to locate. Several factors contribute to this:
1. The early books published by Heinemann were not as well made as current books and were intended to be read, not collected.
2. Dust jacket protectors were not commonly used in the 1960s or 1970s and therefore these jackets did not survive in collector condition.
3. The physical environment of Australia/New Zealand is not favorable to keeping books in collector condition. Browning of pages is common as is jacket deterioration.
4. The practice of collecting first editions in as fine as possible jackets was, until very recently, primarily an American phenomenon. Couple this with the fact that British first editions were primarily sold in places other than the US and, combined with item #2 above, you have a situation almost guaranteeing limited supply. Remember we are talking here about TRUE FIRST EDITIONS, which means the UK published titles and NOT American issued books.
While in the past there has been significant appreciation of Wilbur Smith titles, it is impossible to predict that the same will happen in the future. However, since interest in his works is increasing, and the early supply remains tight, it is likely these works will at least hold their value, ASSUMING one buys collector condition in the first place and keeps them in that condition.
Routine copies, i.e., good to very good condition, of Smith books are fairly common. It is the nice ones that stand out and, relative to the abundance of average copies, seems at times undervalued. American first editions are also much more easily obtained and consequently, much less sought after. Remember these are not “true first editions.”
The best copy of a book: that’s the way to collect. Always has been and always will be.
For those interested in starting or completing a collection, of British First editions we present the following list of books authored by Wilbur Smith. Prepared in chronological order, the list shows all of the “true first” editions i.e. those first published in England
|See Our Collection of Wilbur Smith Books|
List of Wilbur Smith first-edition titles published in England
|When the Lion Feeds||1964||Heinemann|
|Dark of the Sun, The||1965||Heinemann|
|Sound of Thunder, The||1966||Heinemann|
|Shout at the Devil||1968||Heinemann|
|Diamond Hunters, The||1971||Heinemann|
|Eagle in the Sky||1974||Heinemann|
|Eye of the Tiger, The||1975||Heinemann|
|A Sparrow Falls||1977||Heinemann|
|Hungry As the Sea||1978||Heinemann|
|A Falcon Flies||1980||Heinemann|
|Men of Men||1981||Heinemann|
|Angels Weep, The||1982||Heinemann|
|Leopard Hunts in Darkness, The||1984||Heinemann|
|Burning Shore, The||1985||Heinemann|
|Power of the Sword||1986||Heinemann|
|A Time To Die||1989||Heinemann|
|Birds of Prey||1997||Macmillan|
|Triumph of the Sun, The||2005||Macmillan|