Rare Book Monthly

Articles - January - 2015 Issue

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

Df424e79-7603-4059-8625-2af85879e10a

#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>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.
  • <b>Dominic Winter, March 9:</b> Collection of 131 Herbert Ponting gelatin silver contact prints of Antartica, £6000-8000
    <b>Dominic Winter, March 9:</b> One of several lots of Henri Cartier-Bresson gelatin silver prints, £200-300
    <b>Dominic Winter, March 9:</b> Vintage gelatin silver print of Diego Rivera by Leonard McCombe, £300-500
    <b>Dominic Winter, March 9:</b> Albumen print portrait by Julia Margaret Cameron of Sir John Herschel (April, 1867), £30,000-50,000
    <b>Dominic Winter, March 9:</b> Albumen print by Julia Margaret Cameron, Love, 1864 (from the Norman album), £1000-1500
    <b>Dominic Winter, March 9:</b> Albumen print by Lewis Carroll of Twyford School Eleven (Summer Term, 1859), £1000-1500
    <b>Dominic Winter, March 9:</b> Albumen print portrait by Lewis Carroll of Xie Kitchin as 'Dane' (Oxford, 1873), £500-800
    <b>Dominic Winter, March 9:</b> Calotype print (c1845) by Hill & Adamson of Lady Elizabeth (Rigby) Eastlake, £3000-4000
    <b>Dominic Winter, March 9:</b> Group of 12 waxed paper negatives of Scottish scenes by Thomas Keith, mid-1850s, £3000-5000
    <b>Dominic Winter, March 9:</b> One of 15 lots of Roger Fenton salt prints of his work in the Crimea, mid-1850s, £400-600
    <b>Dominic Winter, March 9:</b> Quarter plate ambrotype (c.1860s) with ethnographic portrait of a woman seated at a table, £400-600
    <b>Dominic Winter, March 9:</b> Rare whole plate thermoplastic union case of the Landing of Columbus (c.1858),part of the John Hannavy collection, £1500-2000
  • <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>

Article Search

Archived Articles

Ask Questions