Rare Book Monthly

Articles - January - 2010 Issue

AE Top 500 Auction Results For 2009


Abraham Lincoln's 1864 victory speech, courtesy of Christie's.

Poe's first book, Tamerlane and Other Poems, published in 1827, was #13. $662,500. Then come two early printings of the Declaration of Independence at #12 and #11. $698,500 and $722,500. And, that takes us to the Top 10 highest prices paid at auction in 2009.

10. The North American Indian, 20 portfolios and 20 text volumes, by Edward S. Curtis. This is the copy put up for sale by Delaware's Wilmington Institute (public) Library to support its physical plant and endowment. $775,000.

9. Les Voyages du Sieur de Champlain... an exceptional copy of the first edition of Champlain's voyage to America. $780,000.

8. Livy's Decades, a French translation from the original Latin, in an illuminated manuscript on vellum dated 1440. $790,716.

7. An autograph manuscript from Edgar Allan Poe containing the first 8 stanzas of For Annie. $830,500.

6. Silver Mining in Bohemia, a 15th century illuminated miniature showing the entire mining process. $958,484.

5. Cosmographia of Ptolemy, a 1482 edition from Ulm, the first atlas printed outside of Italy and the first with modern maps. $976,012.

4. Essais, first edition of Michel de Montaigne's groundbreaking work published in 1580. $995,995.

3. Das Buch Von Kaiser Sigmund, an account of Emperor Sigismund by diplomat Eberhard Windeck, an illuminated manuscript circa 1440-50. $1,817,356.

2. An autograph letter from George Washington to his nephew Bushrod, dated 1787, where the General and future first President argues in favor of the proposed U.S. Constitution. $3,218,500.

1. An autograph manuscript of Abraham Lincoln's 1864 election victory speech. $3,442,500.

The complete AE Top 500 may be found by clicking this link.

Note about the Top 500: We have included, along with the obvious - books - manuscripts (including pre-printing illuminated manuscripts, author's original drafts, personal letters and other handwritten or signed items), artwork only with a clear connection to books (such as original drawings used as illustrations in books), broadsides and other printed material, and ephemeral items with a clear connection to the world of books and manuscripts.

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