Rare Book Monthly

Articles - November - 2010 Issue

BookFinder Issues List of the 100 Most Sought After Books

Codexserafini

A glimpse at some humanoid creatures from Serafini's world.


By Michael Stillman

BookFinder.com has released its annual list of the most sought after books on their site. In the past, they have given us top 10 lists in several different categories. This year, they have combined all types to provide just one large list of the 100 most "out-of-print and in demand" books.

BookFinder is a meta-book listing search site. Rather than listing books itself, BookFinder searches the listings on numerous book-listing sites. They search over 150 million listings. It is a place to go in particular to locate a title that is hard to find as it searches so many places at once. To get on this list, there must be a great many people trying to find the book.

However, that does not mean the BookFinder list consists of the most popular titles or the most valuable. They are something in between. The most popular, more recent books don't make the list as they are not hard to locate. No one needs to search for them. The highly expensive, collectible books don't make the cut either as few people are looking for these. What we find are books that are both popular and difficult to locate. Generally, these are books whose publishers have not, for whatever reason, reprinted them in many years. This makes them hard to find. Many books will disappear from this list next year as their publishers will have enough sense to reissue them, and people will no longer have to continually search BookFinder to find a copy. Others are not reprinted for some specific reason, and they will reappear year after year.

At the bottom of the list, #100, is a book which, we shall see, is a perfect bookend for #1. It is the biography of a country music legend and remarkable person, Johnny Cash - Man in Black. #87 comes from Creighton Lee Calhoun (with a name like that, you know it must be about something southern) - Old Southern Apples. It's a guide to over 1,800 apple varieties from the American South (and I thought apples only grew in the north). IHOP must have been on to something when they built a restaurant chain around pancakes, for here at #79 is Pancakes A to Z by Marie Simmons. Ms. Simmons is author of other classics such as Muffins A to Z and Puddings A to Z.

#75 provides an interesting look back in time - The Ideal Communist City, by A.E. Gutnov and A. Baburov. Their ideal might not strike us quite that way, small, dull, look-alike apartments stacked on top of each other in high rises. Individuality was not big in the old Soviet Union. However, some of what they had to say is still worth study. They favored these high-rise communities over suburban sprawl as they could provide access to services and transportation efficiently to large numbers of people.

#57 is a book whose presence probably reflects our difficult economic times - Too Good to Be Threw : The Complete Operations Manual for Consignment Shops, by Kate Holmes. #41 is definitely not about senate candidate Christine O'Donnell - Little Witch, by Anna Elizabeth Bennett. Political events of a far more serious note are found in #27, The Torch is Passed: The Associated Press Story of The Death of a President. It is a contemporary account of the assassination of John F. Kennedy and the first few days thereafter.

Here, now is the top 10:

Rare Book Monthly

  • <b>Bonhams, Oct. 23:</b> SMITH, CHRISTOPHER WEBB. 1793-1871. <i>Indian Ornithology.</i> [Patna, India]: 1828. $50,000 to $80,000.
    <b>Bonhams, Oct. 23:</b> DUPRÉ, LOUIS. 1789-1837. <i>Voyage à Athènes et à Constantinople, ou Collection de portraits, vues et costumes grecs et ottomans.</i> Paris: Dondey-Dupré, 1825. $60,000 to $90,000.
    <b>Bonhams, Oct. 23:</b> ADAMS, JOHN. Autograph Letter Signed ("J Adams"), [to Dr. Perkins?] while recovering from his small pox inoculation, [late-April, 1764]. $30,000 to $50,000.
    <b>Bonhams, Oct. 23:</b> AUSTEN, JANE. Autograph Letter Signed ("J. Austen"), to her sister Cassandra, 4 pp, "Thursday – after dinner," [September 16, 1813,] Henrietta St. $80,000 to $120,000.
    <b>Bonhams, Oct. 23:</b> AUDUBON, JOHN JAMES. 1785-1851. <i>The Birds of America, from Drawings Made in the United States and Their Territories.</i> New York & Philadelphia: J.J. Audubon & J.B. Chevalier, 1840-1844. $20,000 to $30,000.
    <b>Bonhams, Oct. 23:</b> DODWELL, EDWARD. 1767-1832. <i>Views in Greece.</i> London: Rodwell and Martin, 1821. $20,000 to $30,000.
    <b>Bonhams, Oct. 23:</b> JAMES, JESSE. Autograph Letter Signed ("Jesse W. James"), to Mr. Flood demanding Flood retract spurious accusations, 3 pp, June 5, 1875. $200,000 to $300,000.
  • <b>Swann Auction Galleries Sep 26:</b> Textile of the Great White Fleet, with portraits of Theodore Roosevelt, Rear Admiral Robley D. Evans & successor Charles Stillman Sperry, 1908. $3,000 to $4,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Sep 26:</b> William J. Stone, <i>Declaration of Independence,</i> Force printing, 1833. $15,000 to $25,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Sep 26:</b> Shugart family papers including documentation of the Underground Railroad, 63 items, 1838-81. $30,000 to $40,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Sep 26:</b> Records of the Dickinson & Shrewsbury salt works, over 2000 items, with extensive slave labor correspondence, legal records & receipts, bulk 1820-1865. $80,000 to $120,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Sep 26:</b> Gloria Steinem, typescript for her speech <i>Living the Revolution,</i> with related letters and documents, 1941-77. $5,000 to $7,500.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Sep 26:</b> <i>Liberty Triumphant or the Downfall of Oppression,</i> depicting the aftermath of the Boston Tea Party, c. 1774. $12,000 to $18,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Sep 26:</b> Juan Eusebio Nieremberg, <i>Historia naturae, maxime peregrinae, libris XVI distincta,</i> Antwerp, 1635. $6,000 to $9,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Sep 26:</b> Antonio de Mayorga, manuscript map of Mexico City, 1779. $6,000 to $9,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Sep 26:</b> Thomas L. McKenney & James Hall, <i>History of the Indian Tribes of North America,</i> first edition, 3 volumes, Philadelphia, 1842-44. $25,000 to $35,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Sep 26:</b> Samuel Walker, diary of the entire first cruise of the USS Kineo, a gunboat on the Mississippi, 1854-69. $10,000 to $15,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Sep 26:</b> Scrapbook on early Stanford football, with letters from Walter Camp, 1893-95 & 1931. $8,000 to $12,000.
  • <b>Lark Mason Associates, Aug 8-27:</b> Roberts, David. Twenty Lithographs of the Holy Land, 19th Century. $2,000 to $4,000.
    <b>Lark Mason Associates, Aug 8-27:</b> Declaration by the Reps. of the United Colonies of N.A. 1775. $8,000 to $12,000.
    <b>Lark Mason Associates, Aug 8-27:</b> Composer Jerome Kern personal Letters, Albums and Other. $15,000 to $25,000.
    <b>Lark Mason Associates, Aug 8-27:</b> Paine, Thomas. <i>Common Sense,</i> London 1776. $8,000 to $12,000.
    <b>Lark Mason Associates, Aug 8-27:</b> Stowe, Harriet Beecher. <i>Uncle Tom’s Cabin,</i> Cleveland 1852. $4,000 to $6,000.
    <b>Lark Mason Associates, Aug 8-27:</b> Hobbes, Thomas. <i>Leviathan,</i> 3rd edition, London 1651. $2,000 to $3,000.
    <b>Lark Mason Associates, Aug 8-27:</b> Anno Regni Georgii III. Intolerable Acts and other Bills, 1774. $15,000 to $20,000.
    <b>Lark Mason Associates, Aug 8-27:</b> Wilberforce, William. An Abstract of the Evidence, 5 Letters, and two books. $6,000 to $9,000.
    <b>Lark Mason Associates, Aug 8-27:</b> Nightingale, Florence. Notes on Nursing and Signed Letters, ca. 1860 $4,000 to $6,000.
    <b>Lark Mason Associates, Aug 8-27:</b> Tolstov, Leo. <i>War and Peace,</i> 5 volumes, 1886. $3,000 to $5,000.
    <b>Lark Mason Associates, Aug 8-27:</b> Dickinson, John. Letters from a Farmer in Pennsylvania, 1768. $1,500 to $2,500.
    <b>Lark Mason Associates, Aug 8-27:</b> Twain, Mark. <i>Tom Sawyer,</i> 1877 [and] <i>Huckleberry Finn,</i> 1885. $4,000 to $6,000.

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