DP Judgment Day | Cover Matters: Charlotte’s $155,000 Web

WP Daily Prompt: If you were to judge your favorite book by its cover, would you still read it?


Source: Aleph-Bet Books, Inc – ABAA; Inventory #35284 http://www.abebooks.com

If the book is one of my absolute all-time favorites–like, Charlotte’s Web–I would read it even if the cover was doused in the ex-husband’s Brut.

On the other hand, if the cover did not grab my interest initially, I may have left it on the shelf, possibly missing a personal-growth experience; Charlotte’s Web helped shape my views and taught me much about life.

Here are two 1952 original hard copies, one with the dust jacket and one with the jacket removed. Wilbur and friends looking up at Charlotte is the book and cover I fell in love with.


Source: Rare Books Cellar; Inventory #21636; http://www.abebooks.com

Now, without the colorful dust jacket depicting a young girl, curiosity piqued and hugging her piglet, the book looks quite drab. I would say, even a little creepy–to a twelve-year-old girl, anyway–with only the Halloween-ish cobweb and the dangling spider! *sorry Charlotte*

Judging books by their covers brings up another very important point. Most of us can name a book’s author, but we don’t often say, or may not even know, who is the book’s cover artist or illustrator.

In the case of Charlotte’s Web, the artist that created that well-known cover scene and related illustrations is Garth Williams. E.B. White brought the heart-tugging tale to life through prose; Williams made it artistically visual. It’s the cover that brings the immediate emotional connection. And the good ones can fetch a pretty price tag. The original Charlotte’s Web cover art, alone, sold at auction for $155,350, over five times the starting bid.

Barry Sandoval of Heritage Auctions:

“For it to break $150,000 is breathtaking. It just shows how universally beloved this book and this art really are,” said Sandoval.

This entry was posted in Vintage Book Covers, Vintage Children's Books, Vintage Illustrations and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to DP Judgment Day | Cover Matters: Charlotte’s $155,000 Web

  1. Boomdeeadda says:

    My grade three teacher, Mrs McQuarrie read Charlotte’s Web outloud to us one chapter each day. We were mesmerized and I’ve loved it ever since. That’s a big impression, only 44 years ago..giggle.

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