Rare Book Monthly

Articles - May - 2017 Issue

AbeBooks Top 10 Highest Prices for the First Three Months of 2017

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The Whole Works of Homer.

Which books are bringing the highest prices on the listing sites right now? AbeBooks, the largest of them all, has released their list of the top 10 highest prices paid on their site during the first three months of 2017. The works range mostly from old to very old, including two pieces of incunabula (pre-1501). All but two are dated 1753 or earlier, the other two coming from a great 20th century writer and a great 20th century artist. Here is the list.

 

10. Danorum Regum (Danish Kings) by Saxo Grammaticus. Grammaticus was a Danish historian who wrote long before printing. He lived roughly from 1150-1220. This edition is much more recent, barely over 500 years old (1514). It is the earliest known edition of Grammaticus' work. It contains the story of Amleth, on which Shakespeare based his Hamlet, Price of Denmark. Grammaticus' work is not entirely historic, blurring the lines between reality and mythology. $11,436.

 

9. The Whole Works of Homer, Prince of the Poetts... Translated by George Chapman and privately printed for Nathaniel Butler in 1616. This was the first complete collection of Homer's works in English. $11,437.

 

8. Carmen des Carmen, by Louis Aragon, featuring one lithograph and four etchings by Pablo Picasso, published in 1964. $12,650.

 

7. The Ruins of Palmyra, otherwise Tedmor, in the Desart, by Robert Wood and James Dawkins, published in 1753. Sadly, this is the Syrian city where ISIS has been putting even the ruins to ruin. $12,926.

 

6. Actes and Monuments, by John Foxe, the sixth edition, published in 1753. Better known as "Foxe's Book of Martyrs," it was a favorite among English Protestants in the days when they were constantly at war with Catholics. The victims are Protestants, martyred at the hands of Catholics, without much balance for the other side provided by Foxe. $13,000.

 

5. The Catcher in the Rye, by J. D. Salinger, a 1951 first edition, first printing of the schoolboys' favorite book when schoolboys still read books for excitement. $14,000.

 

4. Principia Philosophiae, and Specimina Philosophiae, two 1644 books by Rene Descartes, bound in one. This is where Descartes explained that he thought, therefore he was. $14,535.

 

3. Quadragesimale Aureum, by Leonardo de Utino, published in 1471. Utino was a celebrated theology professor and preacher from Bologna who spoke in various cities of today's Italy. This is a collection of his sermons, more likely valued today for the age and quality of the book than its content. $16,016.

 

2. Les Passions de L'ame (The Passions of the Soul). Once again we find Rene Descartes on our list, this time speaking of the mind-body connection and describing, for the first time, the reflex function. Published in 1649. $17,500.

 

1. Speculum Historiale, by Vincent de Beauvais. This is another one of those "later" editions of a book written in the 13th century, in this case published in 1473. Vincent de Beauvais wrote an encyclopedia in three parts, nature, doctrine, and historical. This is the historical section. The history begins with God and Creation, continues through biblical events to those of the history of the known world up to the Crusades, which was then contemporary times. $18,900.

Rare Book Monthly

  • <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 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.

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