Rare Book Monthly

Articles - November - 2016 Issue

AbeBooks Top 10 Highest Prices for the Summer of 2016

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The British Gazette.

AbeBooks has released the top 10 most expensive prices paid on their listing site for the three months ending in September. AbeBooks has been selling many related ephemeral items at the top of late, but this period was solidly back in the camp of traditional books. Nine of the top 10 were books, though it should be mentioned that two of those books were notable more for their art than their text. The remainder reminded us that the great authors of the past two centuries are still highly collectible in the 21st. As AbeBooks described the list, it features "two Alices, two Waughs, and two Brontës." Here is the top 10.

 

10. Sports et Divertissements (1914), by Erik Satie. Satie was various things, but primarily a composer and pianist. This work is actually a cooperative effort with French artist Charles Martin, a collector's album featuring Satie's compositions and Martin's Art Deco illustrations. $8,826.

 

9. Wuthering Heights and Agnes Grey (1850), by "Ellis and Acton Bell" (actually Emily and Anne Brontë, respectively). This is a second edition of these two volumes combined, including some poems by the two sisters not previously published and a "Biographical Notice" by "Currer Bell" (actually third sister Charlotte). By this time, only Charlotte was still living. $9,029.

 

8. Alice's Adventures in Wonderland (1969), by Lewis Carroll (another fake name, he was actually Charles Lutwidge Dodgson). As to why such a later edition is on a top 10 list, the answer is the illustrations. It includes 12 surrealist drawings (appropriate enough for Alice) from Salvador Dali in this limited edition. $9,500.

 

7. Brideshead Revisited (1945), by Evelyn Waugh. This is a first U.S. edition, inscribed by Waugh to his agent's wife. $9,719.

 

6. Great Books of the Western World (1970). The Franklin Press' 25th anniversary edition, containing 96 volumes, from Plato to Darwin. $9,775.

 

5. The British Gazette (1926), issues 1-8, a full run. This short-lived newspaper was published by the government during the General Strike of 1926. Among those to walk out were printers. It was edited by Winston Churchill as Chancellor of the Exchequer, and it is signed by Churchill, Stanley Baldwin, and J.C.C. Davidson. It was accompanied by Churchill's handwritten notice to the Press that the strike had ended. $9,825.

 

4. First editions of Flappers and Philosophers, The Beautiful and Damned, Tales Of The Jazz Age, The Great Gatsby, All The Sad Young Men, and Tender Is The Night, (1921-1934) by F. Scott Fitzgerald, in facsimile dust jackets. The lot included some works about Fitzgerald and his wife, Zelda. $15,096.

 

3. To Kill a Mockingbird (1960), by Harper Lee. We can now say this was Harper Lee's first book, not her only book. $16,000.

 

2. A Handful of Dust (1934), by Evelyn Waugh. This book is also inscribed by Waugh, to "Bertie & Diane." $16,450.

 

1. Alice's Adventures in Wonderland (1866), by Lewis Carroll. This copy doesn't have Dali's illustrations, but it does have precedence. The first edition was withdrawn because of poor quality, only 22 copies known to survive. However, the poorly printed pages were shipped off to America to be sold to the rabble. This is therefore not only the first American edition, but technically the second issue of the overall first edition. $36,000.

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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