This emblem indicates that the book was bought by the University System of Georgia as part of the James Walter Mason Collection and is owned by Georgia State College.
This page of this book is of a copy of a handwritten note by the author Lew Wallace.
The publication page of the text indicates that this book was published in 1880 which is further indication that this is a first edition copy.
This is the dedication for “The Wife of My Youth” which is only present on the first edition copies.
Ben-Hur's True Value:
There are around 300 books of the first edition of Ben-Hur as indicated by the World Catalogue Database. The Special Collections James Walter Mason Collection at the Georgia State University Library acquired the collection in January of 1952. A letter to the administrative councils was sent regarding the Mason collection. This letter discusses the total cost of the purchase for the twenty-two thousand books and planphets which were purchased by the College from Mr. Walter Mason.
The entire collection with which Ben-Hur was purchased cost a total of $19,875.88. The Special Collection records indicate that the library most likely paid too much for the Mason Collection and likely did so due to sentimental value that Mr. Mason had attached to the collection. The opinion of John Bonner, Head of Special Collections at the University of Georgia at that time, mentioned that the amount paid was twice of what should have been paid.
True First Edition:
The true first edition texts published had the six-word dedication "To the Wife of My Youth," and after these original publications the dedication was changed to "To the Wife of My Youth Who Still Abides with Me." There is a copy of a handwritten note from the author Lew Wallace himself discussing the trials and tribulations faced by Ben-Hur. This note is immediately preceding Wallace's signature.