Rare Book Monthly

Articles - January - 2015 Issue

AbeBooks Announces Their List of the 50 Most Expensive Books Sold on Their Site in 2014

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#3. Mediterranean marine life.

Abebooks.com has released its list of the 50 most expensive sales on its website during 2014. We all know that some very high prices are paid on occasion for books, but through a click on a website? It turns out some surprisingly high amounts are spent that way, absent face-to-face contact. This past year, 50 items achieved prices of $9,000 or greater, with a simple click of a “buy” button.

 

Before we get to the ubiquitous Top 10 list, there were numerous fascinating items to be found between 11 and 50. There is a copy of Alice's Adventures in Wonderland, illustrated by a man who depicted worlds as strange as Alice's, Salvadore Dali. We have a postcard from Mohandas Gandhi and a signed photograph of the Apollo 11 crew, inscribed to Prince Bernhard of the Netherlands (Queen Juliana's husband). There is an incomplete copy of Romeyn Hough's American Woods, which came with wafer-thin samples from American trees, and a very complete copy of Voltaire's Oeuvres Completes de Voltaire – all 70 volumes.

 

The first substantial textbook on differentiated calculus appropriately achieved a high number. A 1584 book on witchcraft, and questioning its persecution, might have come in handy in Salem a century later. A signed Hobbit, signed by Tolkien, not a Hobbit, made the list. Mark Twain's first book, his Celebrated Jumping Frog, hopped onto the list. Then there is Metallotheca, which is not about a heavy metal rock band, but mineralogy and such as it was understood centuries ago.

 

And now, here is Abe's Top 10.

 

10. Lexicon Iconographicum Mythologiae Classicae, eight double volumes published 1981-2009 concerning mythology as seen in sculpture and ceramics. $17,655.

 

9. A Farewell to Arms, an inscribed first edition by Ernest Hemingway to a friend. $18,000.

 

8. Alice's Adventures in Wonderland, another copy of the 1969 Dali illustrated edition, but this copy was signed by the artist. $20,000.

 

7. Revue Africaine Société Historique Algérienne, 199 bound volumes of Algerian history from this French journal. It's barely $100 per volume. $20,718.

 

6. Recueil des Noticies et Mémoires de la Société Archéologique... a mere 71 volumes covering 96 years of a French archeological magazine. $21,060.

 

5. La Dioptrique oculaire ou la théorique... a 17th century treatise on lens making. $21,112.

 

4. Call for the Dead, by John le Carré, a signed 1961 first edition of the author's first book. $22,500.

 

3. Aquatilium animalium historiae... Italian Ippolito Salviani's book of Mediterranean fishes, the first book to use copper-engravings, rather than woodcuts, to depict marine life. $22,638.

 

2. Das Kapital, Karl Marx's 1867 treatise on economic concerns that changed the world in ways he probably never would have imagined. $40,000.

 

1. Les Maîtres de L'Affiche, the five volumes (1895-1900) of this French magazine devoted to Art Deco posters, 256 of them by 97 artists featured. $43,450.

 

Sure, AbeBooks is a great place to go to get a reading copy of an old book you like, but there is much more here, including fine rare and antiquarian material, highly collectible.

 

Here is a link to see the complete list of AbeBooks 50 most expensive items for 2014: www.abebooks.com/rare-books/most-expensive-sales/year-2014.shtml

Rare Book Monthly

  • <b>Bonhams: Exploration and Travel, Featuring Americana, Part I. September 25, 2018</b>
    <b>Bonhams, Sep. 25:</b> Shackleton, Ernest. <i>Aurora Australis.</i> Printed at the sign of 'The Penguins'; East Antarctica, 1908. $70,000 to $100,000
    <b>Bonhams, Sep. 25:</b> Shackleton, Ernest. <i>South Polar Times.</i> 1st edition, limited issue. from the library of Michael Barne. $20,000 to $30,000
    <b>Bonhams, Sep. 25:</b> General Washington's <i>Proceedings of a General Court Martial... of Major General Lee.</i> Philiadelphia, 1778. 100 copies printed for Congress. BOUND WITH: ...Court Martial... of St Clair and ...Schuyler. $25,000 to $35,000
    <b>Bonhams: Exploration and Travel, Featuring Americana, Part I. September 25, 2018</b>
    <b>Bonhams, Sep. 25:</b> <i>The Voice of the People.</i> Boston, 1754. Rare pamphlet on the Excise Tax. Nathaniel Sparhawk's copy. $4,000 to $6,000
    <b>Bonhams, Sep. 25:</b> Autograph Letter Signed ("S.L. Clemens"), offering extensive hard-earned advice on writing, 5 pp, 1881. $30,000 to $50,000
    <b>Bonhams, Sep. 25:</b> After Fra Egnazio Danti. <i>L'Ultime Parti not:e nel Indie Occid:ntli" [The last known parts of the Western Indies].</i> Painted Map of California, Western Mexico, and Japan. $70,000 to $100,000
    <b>Bonhams: Exploration and Travel, Featuring Americana, Part I. September 25, 2018</b>
    <b>Bonhams, Sep. 25:</b> Ptolemaeus, Claudius. <i>Geographie opus nouissima...</i> 1513. The most important edition of Ptolemy, containing the Admiral's Map. $250,000 to $350,000
    <b>Bonhams, Sep. 25:</b> De Arellano, Don Alonso. Manuscript, his <i>"Relación mui singular y circunstanciada... Capitán del Patax San Lucas,"</i> manuscript copy from the Sir Thomas Phillips collection. $50,000 to $80,000
    <b>Bonhams, Sep. 25:</b> Purchas, Samuel. <i>Purchas his Pilgrimes.</i> First edition. With John Simth's engraved map of Virginia. $70,000 to $100,000
    <b>Bonhams: Exploration and Travel, Featuring Americana, Part I. September 25, 2018</b>
    <b>Bonhams, Sep. 25:</b> Lewis, Meriwether. Contemporary manuscript true copy of his final power of attorney, 1809. $8,000 to $12,000
    <b>Bonhams, Sep. 25:</b> <i>A New Method of Macarony Making, as Practiced at Boston in North America.</i> Mezzotint. London, 1774. $5,000 to $7,000
    <b>Bonhams, Sep. 25:</b> <i>Scientific Base Ball Pitching: A Treatise on the Pitcher, Pitching, Origin and Philosophy of the Curve.</i> Chicago, 1897. $2,000 to $3,000
  • <b>Leland Little: Important Fall Auction. September 22, 2018</b>
    <b>Leland Little, Sep. 22:</b> Published Half Plate Ambrotype of a North Carolina Confederate Officer. $2,000 to $4,000
    <b>Leland Little, Sep. 22:</b> Two 19th Century Books Pertaining to Canada's Red River Settlement. $400 to $800
    <b>Leland Little, Sep. 22:</b> Two Books With Fore-Edge Paintings of British Architectual Landmarks. $400 to $600
    <b>Leland Little: Important Fall Auction. September 22, 2018</b>
    <b>Leland Little, Sep. 22:</b> Andy Warhol (American, 1928-1987), "Torte a la Dobosch" from <i>Wild Raspberries</i>. $1,000 to $3,000
    <b>Leland Little, Sep. 22:</b> Keith Haring (American, 1958-1990), <i>Pop Shop II,</i> One Plate screenprint in colors, on wove paper, 1998. $8,000 to $12,000
    <b>Leland Little, Sep. 22:</b> Thomas Rowlandson (British, 1756-1827), Twenty-Two Prints from the <i>Tours of Dr. Syntax</i>. $500 to $1,000
  • <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>Swann Auction Galleries Sep 27:</b> Franklin H. Brown, <i>State Sovereignty, National Union,</i> Chicago, 1860. $6,000 to $9,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Sep 27:</b> Thomas Paine, <i>The American Crisis,</i> Fishkill, NY, December 1776. $25,000 to $35,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Sep 27:</b><br>The Aitken Bible, Philadelphia, 1781. $20,000 to $30,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Sep 27:</b> Francisco Loubayssin de Lamarca, probable first edition of the first novel set in the Spanish New World, Paris, 1617. $15,000 to $25,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Sep 27:</b> Juan de la Anunciación, <i>Sermonario en lengua mexicana,</i> first edition, first book of sermons in Nahuatl, Mexico, 1577. $30,000 to $40,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Sep 27:</b> Maturino Gilberti, <i>Thesoro spiritual en lengua de Mechuacá,</i> first edition, Mexico, 1558. $15,000 to $25,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Sep 27:</b> Commission of William O. Stoddard as secretary to the president, signed by Lincoln, Washington, 1861. $7,000 to $10,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Sep 27:</b> <i>Clay and Frelinghuysen,</i> flag banner, circa 1844. $8,000 to $12,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Sep 27:</b> Daguerreotype of a man believed to be Frederick Granger Williams Smith, son of Joseph Smith, circa late 1850s. $10,000 to $15,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Sep 27:</b> John C. Wolfe, <i>Portrait of Abraham Lincoln,</i> oil on board in period wooden frame, circa 1860s. $12,000 to $18,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Sep 27:</b> Francis W. Winton, manuscript on pow-wows with indigenous Canadians, 1881. $15,000 to $25,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Sep 27:</b> Family letters from two young daguerreotype artists, 1826-79. $10,000 to $15,000.

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