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Poe's First Book
AP
An image released by Christie's shows a copy of Edgar Allan Poe's first book, "Tamerlane and Other Poems."
updated 12/4/2009 12:47:22 PM ET 2009-12-04T17:47:22

A rare copy of Edgar Allan Poe's first book has sold for $662,500, smashing the previous record price for American literature.

The copy of "Tamerlane and Other Poems" had been estimated to sell Friday for between $500,000 and $700,000 at Christie's auction house in New York City.

The previous record is believed to be $250,000 for a copy of the same book sold nearly two decades ago.

The 40-page collection of poems was published in 1827. Poe wrote the book shortly after moving to Boston to launch his literary career.

No more than 40 or 50 copies of "Tamerlane" were printed, and only 12 remain.

The record-breaking copy is stained and frayed and has V-shaped notches on the outer and lower margins.

Copyright 2009 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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