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>Swann Auction Galleries:</b> Luis de Lucena, <i>Arte de Ajedres,</i> first edition of the earliest extant manual on modern chess, Salamanca, circa 1496-97. Sold for $68,750.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries:</b> Carte-de-visite album with 83 images of prominent African Americans & abolitionists, circa 1860s. Sold for $47,500.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries:</b> Gustav Klimt, <i>Das Werk,</i> Vienna & Leipzig, 1918. Sold for $106,250.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries:</b> Man Ray, <i>[London Transport] – Keeps London Going,</i> 1938. Sold for $149,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries:</b> Thomas Jefferson, Letter Signed, to Major-General Nathanael Greene, promising reinforcements against Cornwallis, 1781. Sold for $35,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries:</b> Nicolas de Fer, <i>L’Amerique Divisee Selon Letendue de ses Principales Parties,</i> Paris, 1713. Sold for $30,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries:</b> Russell H. Tandy, <i>The Secret in the Old Attic,</i> watercolor, pencil & ink, 1944. Sold for $35,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries:</b> Ernest Hemingway, <i>Three Stories & Ten Poems,</i> first edition of the author's first book, Paris, 1923. Sold for $23,750.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries:</b> Walker Evans, <i>River Rouge Plant,</i> silver print, 1947. Sold for $57,500.
  • <b>Bonhams: September 25, New York</b>
    <b>Bonhams, June 12 results:</b> Ernst, Max. <i>Mr. Knife and Miss Fork</i>. Paris, 1932. DELUXE EDITION. Sold for $15,625
    <b>Bonhams, June 12 results:</b> Cage, John. Autograph musical leaf from his Concert for Piano and Orchestra, NY, 1958. Sold for $18,750
    <b>Bonhams, June 12 results:</b> Cage, John. Autograph musical leaf from his Concert for Piano and Orchestra, NY, 1958. Sold for $18,750
    <b>Bonhams: September 25, New York</b>
    <b>Bonhams, June 12 results:</b> Einstein, Albert. Signed Passport Photo for his US citizenship application. Bermuda, 1935. Sold for $17,500
    <b>Bonhams, June 12 results:</b> Verard, Antoine. Illuminated printed Book of Hours. Paris, 1507. Sold for $7,500
    <b>Bonhams, June 12 results:</b> Wetterkurzschlussel. German Weather Report Codebook - for Enigma use. Berlin, 1942. Sold for $225,000
    <b>Bonhams: September 25, New York</b>
    <b>Bonhams, June 12 results:</b> Morelos y Pavon, Jose Maria. Autograph letter signed to El Virrey Venegas, February 5, 1812. Sold for $6,250
    <b>Bonhams, June 12 results:</b> Milne, A.A. Complete set of <i>Winnie-the-Pooh</i> books. 4 volumes. All first issue points. London, 1924-1928. Sold for $5,250
    <b>Bonhams, June 12 results:</b> A 48-star American Flag, battle worn flown at Guadalcanal and Peleliu, 1942-1944. Sold for $35,000
    <b>Bonhams, June 12 results:</b> Locke, John. Autograph Letter Signed mourning the death of his friend, William Molyneaux, 2 pp, October 27, 1698. Sold for $20,000
  • <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>

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