Welcome to the latest issue of Trading Updates/Rare Books – FREE Edition.
Today we’re digging into a special piece of literary history – a Matisse-signed copy of James Joyce’s Ulysses. It’s trading today on Rally from 9:30 am to 4 PM EST.
Want to write for us? We’re looking for writers to cover:
- Rare Books
- Cultural Items
James Joyce: Ulysses (Matisse Signed)
What is the asset?
This is a limited edition copy of Ulysses signed by both Joyce and artist Henri Matisse. The print run went to 1,500, but Joyce only signed 250 of them. Apparently Matisse never read the book before composing the illustrations, and that sent Joyce into a rage. So he stopped signing the books.
Published in 1935, this isn’t a first edition of the book — that came in 1922.
Ulysses is favoured by many as the most important book of the 20th century. Its stream of consciousness writing, structuring, prose, and rich characterisation all contribute to its infamy. Joyce once said he “put in so many enigmas and puzzles that it will keep the professors busy for centuries arguing over what I meant.” I’ve tried reading it a few times and have found it incomprehensible.
I’m not the only one who’s struggled to read it, but author T.S. Eliot has no time for simpletons like us, “The next generation is responsible for its own soul; a man of genius is responsible to his peers, not to a studio full of uneducated and undisciplined coxcombs.”
The book, which is the story of one Irishman’s mundane day in Dublin, roughly follows the structure and plot of Homer’s Odyssey, which gives the book its name (Ulysses is Latinised Odyssey).
It was censored in the US for its first twelve years, culminating in the US Post Office burning hundreds of copies. Eventually this was overturned, because the obscene (sexual) scenes were deemed too metaphorical for the average reader to understand and be offended by.
What is the current status of the asset?
Rally purchased the book for $22,000, and it book IPO’ed in March 2020 for $25,500. Since then it’s bounced up and down a bit with a current market cap of $29,000.
Standard deviation for all rare books trading on fractional marketplaces in Q2 is 25%, which is very low.
Valuation and target share price
- Target Share Price: $25 to $35/share
The book has ticked up probably 10% yearly recently.
Growth Outlook and Future Catalysts
Not many catalysts, unfortunately. It’s not really the sort of book you can turn into a blockbuster film.