Rare Book Monthly

Articles - January - 2017 Issue

AbeBooks Lists Its Top 10 Most Expensive Sales for 2016

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.

Rare Book Monthly

  • Sotheby’s
    Modern First Editions
    Available for Immediate Purchase
    Sotheby’s, Available Now: Winston Churchill. The Second World War. Set of First-Edition Volumes. 6,000 USD
    Sotheby’s, Available Now: A.A. Milne, Ernest H. Shepard. A Collection of The Pooh Books. Set of First-Editions. 18,600 USD
    Sotheby’s, Available Now: Salvador Dalí, Lewis Carroll. Alice's Adventures in Wonderland. Finely Bound and Signed Limited Edition. 15,000 USD
    Sotheby’s
    Modern First Editions
    Available for Immediate Purchase
    Sotheby’s, Available Now: Ian Fleming. Live and Let Die. First Edition. 9,500 USD
    Sotheby’s, Available Now: J.K. Rowling. Harry Potter Series. Finely Bound First Printing Set of Complete Series. 5,650 USD
    Sotheby’s, Available Now: Ernest Hemingway. A Farewell to Arms. First Edition, First Printing. 4,200 USD
  • Gonnelli:
    Auction 50
    Books, Autographs & Manuscripts
    March 6th-7th 2024
    Gonnelli: Cramer, [Picasso, Chagall , Miró], Trente ans d'activité. Starting price 4800€
    Gonnelli: Futurism
    Gonnelli: Avienus, Opera. 1488. Starting price 1200€
    Gonnelli: Vimont, Relation de ce qui s'est passé en la Nouvelle France, en l'année 1642. Starting price 5000€
    Gonnelli: Goedart, Metamorphosis et historia naturalis insectorum. 1662.
    Gonnelli: Il Petrarcha con la spositione di M. Giovanni Andrea Gesualdo.
    Gonnelli: Poblacion, De usu astrolabi compendium.
  • Il Ponte, Feb. 27-28: KUPKA, Frantisek (1871-1957) - Quatre histoires de blanc et noir. Paris: Marcel Baque, 1926. €5.000-€8.000
    Il Ponte, Feb. 27-28: VASI, Giuseppe Agostino (1710-1782) - Raccolta delle più belle vedute antiche, e moderne di Roma disegnate ed incise secondo lo stato presente. Rome: A. Vasi, 1786. €4.000-€6.000
    Il Ponte, Feb. 27-28: SALAMANCA, Antonio (1478-1562) - [First map depicting the bay of Naples]. [Rome: 1538]. €3.000-€5.000
  • Bonhams, Ending Feb. 21: A JAMES MADISON THANKSGIVING PROCLAMATION. $12,000 - $18,000
    Bonhams, Ending Feb. 21: A JAMES MONROE PRESIDENTIAL SERVICE SOUP BOWL. $6,000 - $9,000
    Bonhams, Ending Feb. 21: A FRANKLIN PIERCE BRUSHED SILK TOP HAT. $10,000 - $15,000
    Bonhams, Ending Feb. 21: LINCOLN ENDORSEMENT: "I AM ALWAYS FOR THE MAN WHO WISHES TO WORK." $15,000 - $20,000
    Bonhams, Ending Feb. 21: A RUTHERFORD B. HAYES CIVIL WAR-ERA TRAVEL DESK. $4,000 - $6,000
    Bonhams, Ending Feb. 21: FRANKLIN D. ROOSEVELT'S FINAL PRESIDENTIAL AUTOMOBILE FLAG. $20,000 - $30,000
    Bonhams, Ending Feb. 21: GARFIELD LS AS PRESIDENT ALLUDING TO THE "STAR-ROUTE" SCANDAL: "REGRETTING THE EMBARRASSMENTS WHICH THE EVENT HAS CAUSED US BOTH." $25,000 - $35,000
    Bonhams, Ending Feb. 21: AN 18K GOLD AND ENAMEL WILLIAM MCKINLEY INAGURATION POCKETWATCH. $15,000 - $20,000
    Bonhams, Ending Feb. 21: A JOHN F. KENNEDY PRESIDENTIAL MOTORCADE FLAG. $80,000 - $120,000
    Bonhams, Ending Feb. 21: PRESIDENT KENNEDY'S LAST DAY: OFFICIAL SCHEDULE ANNOTATED BY SPECIAL ASSISTANT DAVE POWERS WITH A MINUTE-BY-MINUTE DETAIL OF THE DAY'S ACTIONS. $40,000 - $60,000

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