• <b>Forum Auctions: Fine Books, Manuscripts and Works on Paper. May 31, 2018</b>
    <b>Forum Auctions, May 31:</b> Simcoe (John Graves). Plan of the Province of Upper Canada with part of the Adjacent Countries, manuscript map… with numerous contemporary annotations. £6,000 to £8,000
    <b>Forum Auctions, May 31:</b> Ramusio (Giovanni Battista). <i>Delle Navigationi et Viaggi,</i> 3 vol., mixed edition, 3 double-page engraved maps and 7 folding woodcut maps, Venice, Giunti, 1613. £6,000 to £8,000
    <b>Forum Auctions, May 31:</b> Dickens (Charles). <i>A Christmas Carol,</i> first edition, first issue, Chapman & Hall, 1843. £6,000 to £8,000
    <b>Forum Auctions: Fine Books, Manuscripts and Works on Paper. May 31, 2018</b>
    <b>Forum Auctions, May 31:</b> Book of Hours. Hours of the Virgin [Use of Rome] in Latin, miniature illuminated manuscript on vellum with 6 full-page miniatures and 6 large initials with borders, Flanders, [2nd quarter of 15th century]. £6,000 to £8,000
    <b>Forum Auctions, May 31:</b> G.K. Chesterton archive. Collection of poems, drawings, letters and cards sent to Enid Simon, 1920s. £6,000 to £8,000
    <b>Forum Auctions, May 31:</b> Pasternak (Boris). <i>Doktor Zhivago</i> original typescript, 2 vol., with manuscript corrections and insertions by the author, the George Katkov copy, c.1956. £100,000 to £150,000
    <b>Forum Auctions: Fine Books, Manuscripts and Works on Paper. May 31, 2018</b>
    <b>Forum Auctions, May 31:</b> Tolkien (J.R.R.). <i>The Hobbit,</i> first edition, first impression, 1937. £20,000 to £30,000
    <b>Forum Auctions, May 31:</b> Milton (John). <i>Paradise Lost & Paradise Regain'd,</i> 2 vol., one of 10 copies printed on vellum, Cresset Press, 1931. £8,000 to £12,000
    <b>Forum Auctions, May 31:</b> Electricity and the vacuum.- Guericke (Otto von). <i>Experimenta nova (ut vocantur) Magdeburgica de Vacuo Spatio,</i> first edition; bound with <i>Philosophia Universa de Microcosmo</i>. £12,000 to £16,000
    <b>Forum Auctions, May 31:</b> [The Holy Land, Syria, Idumea, Arabia, Egypt & Nubia ...], vignette title and 42 plates from the deluxe subscriber's edition, 1842-1849 (43). £7,000 to £10,000
  • <b>Bonhams: Results from Fine Books and Manuscripts on March 9, 2018</b>
    <b>Bonhams, Mar. 9:</b> BEETHOVEN, LUDWIG VAN. Autograph Manuscript sketch-leaf part of the score of the Scottish Songs, "Sunset" Op. 108 no 2. [Vienna, February 1818]. Inscribed by Alexander Wheelock Thayer. SOLD for $131,250
    <b>Bonhams, Mar. 9:</b> Violin belonging to Albert Einstein, presented to him by Oscar H. Steger, 1933. SOLD for $516,500
    <b>Bonhams, Mar. 9:</b> EINSTEIN, ALBERT. Autograph Letter Signed ("Papa") to his son Hans Albert, discussing his involvement with the atomic bomb, September 2, 1945. SOLD for $106,250
    <b>Bonhams: Results from Fine Books and Manuscripts on March 9, 2018</b>
    <b>Bonhams, Mar. 9:</b> HAMILTON, ALEXANDER. Autograph Letter Signed, to Baron von Steuben, with extensive notes of Von Steuben's aide Benjamin Walker, June 12, 1780. SOLD for $16,250
    <b>Bonhams, Mar. 9:</b> NEWTON, ISAAC. Autograph Manuscript in Latin, being detailed instructions on making the philosopher's stone. 8 pp. 1790s. SOLD for $275,000
    <b>Bonhams, Mar. 9:</b> 1869 Inauguration Bible of President Ulysses S. Grant. SOLD for $118,750
  • <b>Ketterer Kunst Hamburg: Rare Books Auction on May 28th</b>
    <b>Ketterer Rare Books, May 28:</b> Book of Hours. Workshop Vrelant, around 1460-70. Est: € 30,000
    <b>Ketterer Rare Books, May 28:</b> J. J. Marinoni, <i>De Astronomica specula,</i> 1745. Est: € 12,000
    <b>Ketterer Rare Books, May 28:</b> C. S. Lewis, <i>The Chronicles of Narnia,</i> 1950-56. Est: € 7,500
    <b>Ketterer Kunst Hamburg: Rare Books Auction on May 28th</b>
    <b>Ketterer Rare Books, May 28:</b> G. W. Knorr, <i>Regnum florae,</i> 1750. Est:<br>€ 15,000
    <b>Ketterer Rare Books, May 28:</b> A. M. S. Boethius, <i>De philosophico consolatu,</i> 1501. Est: € 8,000
    <b>Ketterer Rare Books, May 28:</b> J. Joyce, <i>Ulysses,</i> 1922. Est: € 5,000
    <b>Ketterer Kunst Hamburg: Rare Books Auction on May 28th</b>
    <b>Ketterer Rare Books, May 28:</b> Ornaments by H. Vogeler, 1900. Est:<br>€ 4,000
    <b>Ketterer Rare Books, May 28:</b> <i>Biblia Germanica,</i> 1490. Est: € 15,000
    <b>Ketterer Rare Books, May 28:</b> F. M. Regenfuss, <i>Auserlesne Schnecken und Muscheln,</i> 1758. Est: € 18,000
    <b>Ketterer Kunst Hamburg: Rare Books Auction on May 28th</b>
    <b>Ketterer Rare Books, May 28:</b> Einband Henry van de Velde, 1929. Est: € 4,000
    <b>Ketterer Rare Books, May 28:</b> <i>Hortus Sanitatis,</i> 1517. Est: € 12,000
    <b>Ketterer Rare Books, May 28:</b> R. Crevel and J. Miró, 1957. Est: € 3,500

Rare Book Monthly

Articles - February - 2012 Issue

AbeBooks Top Ten for 2011 Shows Prices Are Rising on the Book Listing Site

Abe'stokillmock

Harper Lee's To Kill a Mockingbird.

AbeBooks has released their list of the Top 10 highest price paid for books on their website, and the list may be more telling for what prices were paid than what is on it. AbeBooks, even as the leading book listing site, has never been a source for the highest prices. You may see books listed for hundreds of thousands of dollars, but if those books are sold, they are sold outside of the site. Few people will press a “buy” button for a couple hundred thousand dollars without discussing the purchase with the seller first. The big sales are made either directly with the dealer, or at auction, where a well-known auction house provides the description and its own promise of accuracy and authenticity. Indeed, we have never seen a book sell on AbeBooks that would even come close to qualifying for the AE Top 500 list of prices at auction.

Nevertheless, we are seeing price movement at the top on AbeBooks that is hard to ignore. People are paying prices on Abe unheard of in the past. This past year, the top price paid on AbeBooks was over $50,000. This is different. It is also something of an aberration, being more than double the price of number 2. However, when we went back two years to compare to the Abe Top 10 of 2009, what we found is that that year's number 1 item sold for $17,000, which would have only tied for number 7 in 2011. The number 2 item from 2009 would not have even made it to the Top 10 for 2011.

Clearly something is happening here. It isn't that prices are rising quickly, as AE's Trends in Book Auction Prices charts reveal that the market has been, at best, flat over the past two years. Evidently, buyers are becoming more comfortable buying fairly expensive items on AbeBooks. No, they may not be ready to push the “buy” button for a First Folio or a folio edition of Birds of America yet, but the confidence level is rising. Abe is inching its way further into the business of selling higher priced books, more so than ever before.

Here, now, is AbeBooks' list of their Top 10 prices for 2011.

10. Les Fleurs du Mal, a first edition of Charles Baudelaire's classic French poetry, $14,925.

9. An Authentic Account of an Embassy from the King of Great Britain to the Emperor of China, George Staunton's account of a late 18th century mission to China. $15,800.

8. The Botany of the Antarctic Voyage of the H. M. Discovery Ships Erebus and Terror in the Years 1839-1843, a partial set of naturalist J.D. Hooker's report on the voyage. $16,000.

7. An Authentic Account of an Embassy from the King of Great Britain to the Emperor of China, by George Staunton. If this sounds remarkably like #9, it is, except this is a second edition, and it was signed by Staunton. $17,000.

6. The Camels Are Coming, first UK edition of W.E. Johns' first Biggles book. The daring Biggles is not well known in America, but was very popular in England from the 1930s through the 1960s. $17,754.

5. Fourteen pages of manuscript notes about Thomas Carlyle written by John Ruskin. These were used for a book Ruskin was preparing. $18,750.

4. The Hobbit or There and Back Again, by J.R.R. Tolkein. This is a first edition, first impression, with dust jacket, of Tolkein's 1937 book. $20,447.

3. A complete set of the ten issues of Aspen Magazine, the “magazine in a box” that was published from 1965-1971. $22,915.

2. To Kill a Mockingbird, a signed copy of Harper Lee's classic on injustice in the South. $25,000.

1. Oh the irony! Number 1 on the list of highest prices paid was written by a man who despised capitalism and the great wealth it would take to spend over $50,000 on a book. It is Das Kapital, Kritik der politischen Oekonomie, by Karl Marx. What could be a more fitting example of the death of Communism? $51,739.


Posted On: 2012-02-28 00:00
User Name: bartleby

The high cost of Das Kapital says nothing about the continuing validity of Marx's critiques of capital. That insight is revealed every day by


Rare Book Monthly

  • <b>Swann Auction Galleries June 5:</b> Charles Addams, <i>Penguin Convention,</i> watercolor, cover for <i>The New Yorker,</i> 1977. $15,000 to $20,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries June 5:</b> Ludwig Bemelmans, <i>Agreed! No whiskey anywhere is more deluxe than Walker's DeLuxe,</i> pen, ink & watercolor, 1957. $10,000 to $15,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries June 5:</b> Charles Schulz, <i>Do you like Beethoven?,</i> pen & ink, 9-panel <i>Peanuts</i> comic, 1970. $20,000 to $30,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries June 5:</b> Russell Tandy, <i>The Secret in the Old Attic,</i> watercolor & gouache, cover for <i>Nancy Drew,</i> 1944. $15,000 to $25,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries June 5:</b> Arthur Rackham, <i>Danaë & the Infant Perseus,</i> watercolor, ink & wash, for Hawthorne's <i>A Wonder Book,</i> 1922. $10,000 to $15,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries June 5:</b> Tom Lovell, <i>I believe in magic too,</i> oil on canvas, published in <i>Woman's Home Companion,</i> 1947. $7,000 to $10,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries June 5:</b> Enoch Bolles, <i>With Love...,</i> watercolor & gouache, cover for <i>Wow!</i> magazine, 1931. $7,000 to $10,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries June 5:</b><br>Rick Meyerowitz & Maira Kalman, <i>New Yorkistan,</i> pen, ink & watercolor sketch for a <i>New Yorker cover,</i> 2001. $10,000 to $15,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries June 5:</b> Jessie Willcox Smith, <i>Touching,</i> watercolor for <i>The Five Senses</i> by Angela M. Keyes, 1911. $12,000 to $18,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries June 5:</b> Edward Gorey, <i>ABA 75,</i> watercolor & ink, cover for <i>Publisher's Weekly,</i> 1975. $5,000 to $7,500.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries June 5:</b> Aubrey Beardsley, <i>Shelter,</i> pen & ink, for <i>Bon-Mots,</i> 1892. $8,000 to $12,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries June 5:</b> Tedd Arnold, <i>I think it was three days ago...,</i> colored pencil & watercolor, for <i>Parts,</i> 1996. $4,000 to $6,000.
  • <b>Chiswick Auctions: Modern First Editions, Illustrated Books & Limited Editions. May 30, 2018</b>
    <b>Chiswick Auctions, May 30:</b> Hammett (Dashiell). <i>The Maltese Falcon,</i> FIRST EDITION. A very good copy of this most influential detective fiction novel. £8,000 to £12,000
    <b>Chiswick Auctions, May 30:</b> Hemingway (Ernest). <i>In Our Time,</i> FIRST EDITION, NUMBER 137 OF 170 COPIES on Rives handmade paper. £15,000 to £18,000
    <b>Chiswick Auctions, May 30:</b> Hemingway (Ernest). <i>A Farewell to Arms,</i> FIRST EDITION, inscribed by the author to Mike Murphy, a Hemingway biographer and scholar. £4,000 to £6,000
    <b>Chiswick Auctions: Modern First Editions, Illustrated Books & Limited Editions. May 30, 2018</b>
    <b>Chiswick Auctions, May 30:</b> Kerouac (Jack). <i>On the Road,</i> FIRST EDITION, New York, Viking, 1957. £2,000 to £3,000
    <b>Chiswick Auctions, May 30:</b> Ransome (Arthur). <i>Swallows and Amazons,</i> FIRST EDITION, ownership inscription to half title. Only 2,000 copies of the first edition printed. £3,000 to £4,000
    <b>Chiswick Auctions, May 30:</b> Sewell (Anna). <i>Black Beauty: His Grooms and Companions. The Autobiography of a Horse. Translated from the original Equine,</i> FIRST EDITION, engraved frontispiece. £3,000 to £4,000
    <b>Chiswick Auctions: Modern First Editions, Illustrated Books & Limited Editions. May 30, 2018</b>
    <b>Chiswick Auctions, May 30:</b> Capa (Robert). <i>Omaha Beach D-Day, June 6th, 1944,</i> gelatine silver print, printed under the direct supervision of Cornell Capa, 40 x 50.5 cm. £3,000 to £5,000
    <b>Chiswick Auctions, May 30:</b> Cartier-Bresson (Henri). 'Loudres – Pilgrims Assemble', silver print, stamps and annotations on verso, very slight scratch, 170 x 240 mm, 1950. £2,000 to £3,000
    <b>Chiswick Auctions, May 30:</b> Carroll, Lewis [Dodgson, Charles Lutwidge]. <i>The Nursery Alice,</i> FIRST EDITION, a very rare inscribed, dedication copy. £8,000 to £10,000
    <b>Chiswick Auctions: Modern First Editions, Illustrated Books & Limited Editions. May 30, 2018</b>
    <b>Chiswick Auctions, May 30:</b> Potter (Beatrix). <i>The Tale of Peter Rabbit,</i> FIRST EDITION, FIRST PRINTING, limited to 250 copies [with] the FIRST PUBLISHED EDITION. £12,000 to £15,000
    <b>Chiswick Auctions, May 30:</b> Wells (H. G.). <i>War of the Worlds,</i> original Danish manuscript, the text written out in block script ink, with over 620 original drawings in ink and watercolour. £1,800 to £2,200
    <b>Chiswick Auctions, May 30:</b> Toulouse-Lautrec (Henri de).- Clemenceau (Georges). <i>Au Pied de Sinai,</i> NUMBER 104 OF 355 COPIES, with the suite of 10 lithographs by Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec in 2 states. £1,500 to £2,000
  • <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>
  • <b>Sotheby’s Books & Manuscripts<br>Marcel Proust – Collection Marie-Claude Mante<br>Auction Paris 24 May 2018</b>
    <b>Sotheby’s Paris, May 24:</b> Marc Chagall. <i>Daphnis & Chloé</i>. Paris, Tériade, 1961. 42 original lithographs. One of the 10 copies for the collaborators. 80,000-120,000 €
    <b>Sotheby’s Paris, May 24:</b> [Marcel Proust] — Gaston Gallimard. Very important letters to Marcel Proust. 1912-1922. 100,000-150,000 €
    <b>Sotheby’s Paris, May 24:</b> JESUITS. <i>Relation de ce qui s’est passé en la Nouvelle France en 1635</i> […] 1672. Period calf binding. Very rare set of letters about life in the French territories among warring Indian tribes. 12,000-18,000 €
    <b>Sotheby’s Books & Manuscripts<br>Marcel Proust – Collection Marie-Claude Mante<br>Auction Paris 24 May 2018</b>
    <b>Sotheby’s Paris, May 24:</b> Gustave Flaubert. <i>Madame Bovary</i>. Paris, Michel Lévy Frères, 1857. One of the few deluxe copies, with inscription to Adolphe Gaïffe and a letter. 30,000-50,000 €
    <b>Sotheby’s Paris, May 24:</b> A. von Humboldt. <i>Essai politique sur le Royaume de la Nouvelle Espagne.</i> Paris, 1811. Period binding. Complete with the large California/Mexico map. 10,000-15,000 €
    <b>Sotheby’s Paris, May 24:</b> [Affaire Dreyfus] — Georges Clemenceau. <i>Démosthène</i>. Paris, Plon-Nourrit et Cie, 1926. Exceptional copy with an inscription to Mathieu Dreyfus, Alfred Dreyfus’ brother. 8,000-<br>12,000 €
    <b>Sotheby’s Books & Manuscripts<br>Marcel Proust – Collection Marie-Claude Mante<br>Auction Paris 24 May 2018</b>
    <b>Sotheby’s Paris, May 24:</b> Guillaume Apollinaire. <i>Les trois Don Juan</i>. 1914. Unpublished inscription to Madeleine Pagès and 2 original drawings. 25,000-35,000 €
    <b>Sotheby’s Paris, May 24:</b> Marcel Duchamp. <i>L.H.O.O.Q. shaved</i>. [New York, 1965]. One of the 100 deluxe signed copies. With an autographed envelope. 15,000-20,000 €
    <b>Sotheby’s Paris, May 24:</b> Francis Bacon — Michel Leiris. <i>Miroir de la tauromachie</i>. [Paris], Daniel Lelong, [1990]. With 4 signed lithographs. 40,000-60,000 €
    <b>Sotheby’s Books & Manuscripts<br>Marcel Proust – Collection Marie-Claude Mante<br>Auction Paris 24 May 2018</b>
    <b>Sotheby’s Paris, May 24:</b> Gilbert & George. <i>The Red Sculpture Album</i>. [Londres, Gilbert & George], 1975. One of the 100 existing copies, signed by both of the artists, comprised of 11 original photographs. 10,000-15,000 €
    <b>Sotheby’s Paris, May 24:</b> Pablo Picasso — Honoré de Balzac. <i>Chef-d’œuvre inconnu</i>. Paris, Ambroise Vollard, 1931. One of the 65 deluxe copies on Japan paper, with an extra suite of the etchings. 35,000-<br>45,000 €
    <b>Sotheby’s Paris, May 24:</b> Marcel Proust. <i>Les Sources sur Loir</i>. Ca 1907-1908. Handwritten manuscript. Rough draft of one of the more beautiful passages of Swann’s Way. 30,000-50,000 €
  • <b>Archives International Auctions: U.S., Chinese & Worldwide Banknotes, Scripophily & Coins. May 23, 2018</b>
    <b>Archives International, May 23:</b> Chinese-American Bank of Commerce, 1920 "Harbin" Branch Issue Rarity. $5, P-S231s1, S/M#C271-3.5b, Specimen banknote. $25,000 to $35,000
    <b>Archives International, May 23:</b> Deutsch-Asiatische Bank, 1907 "Peking" Branch High Grade Rarity. 5 Taels, P-S280r S/M#T101-11b, Remainder Banknote. $17,000 to $22,000
    <b>Archives International, May 23:</b> Deutsch-Asiatische Bank, 1907, "Tsingtau" Branch Issue Rarity. $1, P-1a S/M#T101-40, Issued banknote. $8,000 to $16,000
    <b>Archives International Auctions: U.S., Chinese & Worldwide Banknotes, Scripophily & Coins. May 23, 2018</b>
    <b>Archives International, May 23:</b> Spanish American War - Three Per Cent Loan of 1898, $20 Bond. Issued and uncanceled. $6,000 to $10,000
    <b>Archives International, May 23:</b> Winnemucca, NV - $5 Ty. 1, The First NB of Winnemucca, Ch# 3575, Fr#1800-1. $3,000 to $5,000
    <b>Archives International, May 23:</b> National Banknote Assortment of Original 1st Charter, Plain Back and Date Back Issues. Lot of 6 notes, Includes Pennsylvania Nationals, First National Bank of Selins Grove, 1865, $1… $3,200 to $4,400
    <b>Archives International Auctions: U.S., Chinese & Worldwide Banknotes, Scripophily & Coins. May 23, 2018</b>
    <b>Archives International, May 23:</b> People's Bank of China, 1950 Issue Banknote. 50,000 Yuan, P-855 KYJ-C157a S/M#C282-, Issued banknote. $7,000 to $12,500
    <b>Archives International, May 23:</b> Pei-Yang Tientsin Bank, ND (ca.1910) Remainder Banknote. $3, P-S2527 S/M#P35-11. $5,000 to $7,000
    <b>Archives International, May 23:</b> Palestine Foundation Fund - Keren Hayesod Specimen Sacrifice Bond 1922. $1,000, Specimen Bond, "For the Up building of Palestine as a Homeland for the Jewish People". $1,500 to $2,500

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