$15,300 for 1939 Alcoholics Anonymous

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January 28, 2015
By James Massey

ONLINE - A rare first-edition, first-print, 1939 Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) book with original dust jacket has sold for $15,300 on eBay. (What's your book worth? Find out with free research and a free book appraisal.)

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The book, Alcoholics Anonymous - The Story of How More Than One Hundred Men Have Recovered from Alcoholism (subtitle inside cover), was primarily written by Bill Wilson the co-founder of AA, with one chapter written by Henry Parkhurst.

To date, an estimated 30 million copies have sold, making it one of the best-selling books of all time. In 2011, Time Magazine placed it on its list of All-Time 100 Nonfiction Books. The Library of Congress has placed it on its Books that Shaped America list.

What are today's best-selling rare books?


The first-edition, first-print book published in 1939, is often called 'The Big Book' due to the thickness of its paper. It's believed that just over 4,700 copies of the original order run of 5,000 were printed, due to paper shortages.

The books popularity, age, limited number available, and good condition make it rare and valuable.

TOP 25: Rare books on eBay (Today)


The following are related items which have sold in other auctions:

SOLD - $1.4 Million for AA Manuscript - 2004

NEW YORK - In 2013, in another auction listing... Sotheby’s had stated they sold the original working draft of “The Big Book,” the founding document of the Alcoholics Anonymous organization, for $1.4 million in 2004.

SOLD - $21,250 for 1939 AA Book - October 8, 2014

BEVERLY HILLS - A 1939 first edition, first printing of Alcoholics Anonymous sold for $21,250 at Heritage Auctions Rare Book Auction.

SOLD - $15,000 for 1939 AA Book - October 4, 2012

BEVERLY HILLS - A 1939 first edition, first printing of Alcoholics Anonymous sold for $15,000 at Heritage Auctions Rare Book Auction.

SOLD - $13,145 for 1939 AA Book - April 7, 2011

NEW YORK - A 1939 first edition, first printing of Alcoholics Anonymous(Inscribed and signed by Wilson) sold for $13,145 at Heritage Auctions Rare Book Auction.

See the latest rare book sales in the news.


The seller of this book (sold on eBay), describes the book as being in; "Very Good overall condition" with some issues which they described in their eBay listing.


The first-edition, first-print, 1939 Alcoholics Anonymous book received 52 bids from 17 bidders over the course of 5 days. The opening bid on January 12th, 2015, was $49.95. The final bid was $15,300. The auction ended on Saturday, January 17, (2015) at 4:20pm Pacific Standard Time.

For more information and close-up photos of the book; see eBay auction listing; # 121542531100 (auction links may expire after 90 days).

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