AbeBooks Lists Its Top 10 Most Expensive Sales for 2016

- by Michael Stillman

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Sam I Am, serving up green eggs and ham.

For many, the AbeBooks' website is a great place to buy used books for a low price. Students and casual readers have made the most of their bargains for twenty years. But then, there is a rarefied group, the serious collector. They inhabit AbeBooks too. At the top of this group, you need to have a five figure credit line on your charge card, and a willingness to use it. Here is the cream of the crop. These are the Top 10 highest prices paid on AbeBooks for 2016.

 

10. To Kill a Mockingbird, by Harper Lee (1960). This one has been a classic from the moment it was published 56 years ago. This is a signed first edition by Ms. Lee, who died in 2016. $16,000.

 

9. A Handful of Dust, by Evelyn Waugh (1934). Inscribed copy of a semi-autobiographical book. $16,450.

 

8. The Complete Works of Oscar Wilde (1908). Fourteen volumes, one of 80 copies of this limited edition. $16,500.

 

7. An original drawing of Sam I Am carrying a plate of green eggs and ham, by Dr. Seuss. $17,832.

 

6. Abstraction Création Art Non Figuratif 1932-1936, a 1973 reprint of the five yearbooks of Abstraction-Création, a loose association of abstract artists in the 1930's. $19,300.

 

5. Description Géographique Historique, Chronologique, Politique et Physique de l'Empire de la Chine, by Jean-Baptiste du Halde (1735). An 18th century French look at China. $19,770.

 

4. The Works of H. G. Wells, (1924-1927). This is a 28-volume set, number 524 of 1,050 copies, signed by H. G. himself (first volume only). $20,792.

 

3. Great Expectations, by Charles Dickens (1861). The personal copy of children's poet Eugene Field. Came with a letter from Rev. Chauncy Hare Townshend, to whom the book was dedicated. $25,000.

 

2. Selectarum Stirpium Americanorum Historia, by Nicolaus Joseph Jacquin (1763). Early detailed account of American botany. $25,679.

 

1. Alice's Adventures in Wonderland, by Lewis Carroll (1866). First American edition, or, technically speaking, second issue of the first edition. The first issue of the first edition was recalled, Carroll and illustrator John Tenniel displeased with the quality. Rather than throw the unused pages out, the publisher shipped them to America, where tastes are less discerning, for use in the American edition. Meanwhile, a revised, or second edition was published in England. Therefore, this is a second issue of the first edition, though it came out after the second edition. $36,000.