Rare Book Monthly

Articles - November - 2010 Issue

BookFinder Issues List of the 100 Most Sought After Books

Codexserafini

A glimpse at some humanoid creatures from Serafini's world.


By Michael Stillman

BookFinder.com has released its annual list of the most sought after books on their site. In the past, they have given us top 10 lists in several different categories. This year, they have combined all types to provide just one large list of the 100 most "out-of-print and in demand" books.

BookFinder is a meta-book listing search site. Rather than listing books itself, BookFinder searches the listings on numerous book-listing sites. They search over 150 million listings. It is a place to go in particular to locate a title that is hard to find as it searches so many places at once. To get on this list, there must be a great many people trying to find the book.

However, that does not mean the BookFinder list consists of the most popular titles or the most valuable. They are something in between. The most popular, more recent books don't make the list as they are not hard to locate. No one needs to search for them. The highly expensive, collectible books don't make the cut either as few people are looking for these. What we find are books that are both popular and difficult to locate. Generally, these are books whose publishers have not, for whatever reason, reprinted them in many years. This makes them hard to find. Many books will disappear from this list next year as their publishers will have enough sense to reissue them, and people will no longer have to continually search BookFinder to find a copy. Others are not reprinted for some specific reason, and they will reappear year after year.

At the bottom of the list, #100, is a book which, we shall see, is a perfect bookend for #1. It is the biography of a country music legend and remarkable person, Johnny Cash - Man in Black. #87 comes from Creighton Lee Calhoun (with a name like that, you know it must be about something southern) - Old Southern Apples. It's a guide to over 1,800 apple varieties from the American South (and I thought apples only grew in the north). IHOP must have been on to something when they built a restaurant chain around pancakes, for here at #79 is Pancakes A to Z by Marie Simmons. Ms. Simmons is author of other classics such as Muffins A to Z and Puddings A to Z.

#75 provides an interesting look back in time - The Ideal Communist City, by A.E. Gutnov and A. Baburov. Their ideal might not strike us quite that way, small, dull, look-alike apartments stacked on top of each other in high rises. Individuality was not big in the old Soviet Union. However, some of what they had to say is still worth study. They favored these high-rise communities over suburban sprawl as they could provide access to services and transportation efficiently to large numbers of people.

#57 is a book whose presence probably reflects our difficult economic times - Too Good to Be Threw : The Complete Operations Manual for Consignment Shops, by Kate Holmes. #41 is definitely not about senate candidate Christine O'Donnell - Little Witch, by Anna Elizabeth Bennett. Political events of a far more serious note are found in #27, The Torch is Passed: The Associated Press Story of The Death of a President. It is a contemporary account of the assassination of John F. Kennedy and the first few days thereafter.

Here, now is the top 10:

Rare Book Monthly

  • <b>19th Century Shop:</b> Charles Darwin on sexuality and the transmission of hereditary characteristics: Autograph Letter Signed to Lawson Tait. Down, 17 January [1877].
    <b>19th Century Shop:</b> MILTON, JOHN. <i>Paradise Lost. A Poem written in ten books.</i> London: 1667. A very rare example with the contemporary binding untouched and with a 1667 title page.
    <b>19th Century Shop:</b> Hamilton secures the ratification of the Constitution: <i>The Debates and Proceedings of the Convention of the State of New-York, assembled at Poughkeespsie, on the 17th June, 1788.</i>
    <b>19th Century Shop:</b> The social contract “Man is born free, and everywhere he is in chains”: ROUSSEAU, JEAN-JACQUES. <i>Principes du Droit Politique [Du Contract Social]</i>. Amsterdam: Michel Rey, 1762
    <b>19th Century Shop:</b> “The first English textbook on geometrical land-measurement and surveying”: BENESE, RICHARD. <i>This Boke Sheweth the Maner of Measurynge All Maner of Lande…</i>
  • <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 8:<br>Early Printed, Medical, Scientific & Travel Books</b>
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 8:</b> Caius Julius Hyginus, <i>Poeticon Astronomicon,</i> first illustrated edition, Venice, 1482. $15,000 to $20,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 8:</b> Giovanni Botero, <i>Le Relationi Universali... divise in Sette Parti</i>, Venice, 1618. $3,000 to $5,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 8:</b> <i>L'Escole des Filles</i>, likely third edition of the first work of pornographic fiction in French, 1676. $8,000 to $12,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 8:<br>Early Printed, Medical, Scientific & Travel Books</b>
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 8:</b> Illuminated Book of Hours in Latin on vellum, Flanders, early 16th century. $6,000 to $9,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 8:</b> Johannes Regiomontanus, <i>Calendarium,</i> Venice, 1485. $8,000 to $12,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 8:</b> Pedro de Medina, <i>Libro d[e] gra[n]dezas y cosas memorables de España,</i> Alcalá de Henares, 1566. $3,000 to $5,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 8:<br>Early Printed, Medical, Scientific & Travel Books</b>
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 8:</b><br>Luis de Lucena, <i>Arte de Ajedres,</i> Salamanca, circa 1496-97. $10,000 to $15,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 8:</b> Andrés Serrano, <i>Los Siete Principes de los Ángeles, válidos de Rey del Cielo,</i> Spain, 1707. $800 to $1,200.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 8:</b> Johannes de Sacrobosco, <i>Sphaera mundi,</i> first illustrated edition, Venice, 1478. $15,000 to $20,000.
  • <b>Bonhams, Feb. 11:</b> A Rare 3-rotor German Enigma I Enciphering Machine. $70,000 to $90,000
    <b>Bonhams, Feb. 11:</b> Important collection of correspondence between Werner Heisenberg and Bruno Rossi. $40,000 to $60,000
    <b>Bonhams, Feb. 11:</b> Walt Whitman Autograph manuscript containing his thoughts on death. $20,000 to $30,000
    <b>Bonhams, Feb. 11:</b> David Roberts. <i>Holy Land</i>. Six volumes. 1842-1849. First edition. $15,000 to $25,000
    <b>Bonhams, Feb. 11:</b> Extensive collection of Ray Bradbury's primary works, most signed or inscribed. $15,000 to $20,000
    <b>Bonhams, Feb. 11:</b> Peter Force. Declaration of Independence. $12,000 to $18,000
    <b>Bonhams, Feb. 11:</b> Steinbeck. <i>Grapes of Wrath</i>. A fine copy of the first edition. $10,000 to $15,000
    <b>Bonhams, Feb. 11:</b> Lewis & Clark. <i>Travels to the Source of the Missouri River</i>... First English edition, extra-illustrated. 1814. $10,000 to 15,000
    <b>Bonhams, Feb. 11:</b> Manuscript document signed by Nuno de Guzman relating to Hernan Cortes, 1528. $8,000 to $12,000
    <b>Bonhams, Feb. 11:</b> “Nos los inquisidores..." The first book in English printed West of the Mississippi. [1787]. $5,000 to $8,000.

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