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Collecting Ayn Rand, Signed Limited Editions: Atlas Shrugged and Capitalism: The Unknown Ideal

Collecting Ayn Rand, Signed Limited Editions: Atlas Shrugged and Capitalism: The Unknown Ideal
Posted on February 14, 2016

Please refer to the entries in Vincent L. Perinn’s book, Ayn Rand: First Descriptive Bibliography, available from Pen Ultimate Rare Books, as it’s an invaluable resource. While I’ve found some mistakes in Perinn's Capitalism 2, explained below, this is a mistake of omission; he simply didn’t know about it. [Even today, many informed Rand collectors don’t know.] Still, Perinn’s book is essential for anyone collecting Ayn Rand.

The Limited Edition [LE] Atlas Shrugged, Perinn’s A4d (p. 28, 29), is described accurately by Perinn. It was issued in 1967 to celebrate the Tenth Anniversary of Atlas and was limited to 2000 signed, numbered copies in a slipcase. Essential to any important Rand collection, the LE Atlas continues to appreciate in value. Indeed, I had a copy, the only one I’ve ever seen inscribed by Rand (to friend and colleague Bea Hessen, who wrote articles for The Objectivist, which you now have), which sold for $7500 in autumn 2015. When a book is inscribed to someone the author knew personally, it’s called an “Association Copy.” As such, its desirability and value increase.

The LE Atlas in collectible condition is currently commanding prices between $3000 and $4500. 

If you own the actual August 1967 issue of The Objectivist, you’ll see an ad for LE Atlas, pictured and beautifully described, on the inside back cover. If only I’d purchased all 2000 copies then!

The LE Capitalism was actually issued in two states, only one of which (I call it Capitalism 1) is described in Perinn (A7b, p. 34–35). (An unpictured promotion for Capitalism 1 appears in the September 1966 issue, inside the back cover, of The Objectivist. (Erroneously, the ad claims that it will be limited to 500 copies; 700 were actually signed and numbered.)

Because the 700 sold out so quickly, Nathaniel Branden Institute, which enjoyed the exclusive right to sell, issued the following statement to customers who’d ordered and paid for LE Capitalism 1: “Due to an unprecedented demand, the New American Library has agreed to publish a second printing, identical to the first printing, except that it will not be numbered. It will be autographed by Ayn Rand.”


This explanation, which took me decades to locate, appears nowhere in The Objectivist. When I found it, it explained the copies I owned—copies that were signed, not numbered, and contained an erratum slip, a slip of paper identifying an error in the book. (Interestingly, the erratum slip also contains an error.) This is the book I identify as Capitalism 2.

Capitalism 2 is currently available only through Pen Ultimate Rare Books. As I said, I have one in very good condition for which I’m asking $1500. 

The other copy is positively gorgeous. It does contain a previous owner’s bookplate, but that owner kept it in immaculate condition. It’s priced at $4000. 

As a decades-long collector of Ayn Rand, I believe no important Rand collection is complete without all 3. 

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