Since it was founded in 1973 as a repository for rare and antique tomes, Hermitage Bookshop has seen a few major changes, including a move from downtown to Cherry Creek North in the early ’80s and new owners who took over last year. Its mission, however, remains the same. Although the Denver bookseller carries a wide range of titles, you’re still more likely to find a first-edition Hemingway on its shelves than anything from the For Dummies series. To celebrate Hermitage’s 50th anniversary, we asked general manager Sam Butler to share a few of the store’s most opulent opuses.

Gorillas in the Mist book
Photo by Sarah Banks

Gorillas in the Mist

First Edition
Author: Dian Fossey
Year: 1983 | Price: $3,000

History: Primate conservationist and zoologist Dian Fossey gave this account of her life’s work studying gorillas in Rwanda to her friend Charles Southwick, an author and University of Colorado Boulder biology professor.

Sticker shock: What gives this copy its oversize price tag—other than its first edition status—is the inscription inside. “Fossey’s signature is a really rare find,” Butler says.

Bambi: A Life in the Woods, US book
Photo by Sarah Banks

Bambi: A Life in the Woods

U.S. first edition
Author: Felix Salten
Year: 1928 | Price: $2,000

History: Maria Caroline Rosé-Schmutzer, daughter of famed portrait photographer Ferdinand Schmutzer, grew up in Austria across the street from Bambi author Felix Salten, who gave her this U.S. first edition for her wedding in 1933.

Sticker shock: While not as rare as the 1923 German-language edition, which was often destroyed due to Nazi censorship, this copy of the first English translation includes the letter Salten wrote to Rosé-Schmutzer in his native German.

A Scientific and Practical Treatise on American Football for Schools and Colleges book
Photo by Sarah Banks

A Scientific and Practical Treatise on American Football for Schools and Colleges

Authors: Amos Alonzo Stagg and Henry Llewellyn Williams
Year: 1894 | Price: $1,750

History: As one of American football’s first rulebooks, this volume is a snapshot of the game’s early evolution, including quirky regulations such as field goals being worth five points.

Sticker shock: The original owner was a professor of physical education at Columbia University, one of the Ivy League schools that helped invent the sport in the late 1800s by blending soccer and rugby.