Rare Book Monthly

Articles - February - 2019 Issue

AbeBooks 25 Most Expensive Sales for 2018

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Mickey and a skinny horse, #2 & #4.

AbeBooks.com, the largest of the online old and rare book selling websites, has released their list of the Top 25 highest prices paid in 2018. AbeBooks has tens if not hundreds of millions of books listed for sale on their site, mostly in the old and used categories. However, there is also a healthy number of more valuable, rare and collectible works offered, and this list contains the cream of the crop. These are the ones that went to serious collectors with high limits on their credit cards.

 

There is a mix of old and new, fiction and nonfiction, textual and artistic, and different languages. There is something for everyone with a sufficiently large budget. Here they are.

 

25. Naturalis Historia by Pliny the Elder. This was the first illustrated edition, it taking a millennium and a half for someone to get around to illustrating Pliny's first century work $13,926.

 

24. Catalog Raisonne of Pablo Picasso. The name "Picasso" almost guarantees a high price. This consisted of 31 of 34 volumes edited by Christian Zervos. $14,407.

 

22-23. Introductio in Analysin Infinitorum by Leonhard Euler. A 1748 first edition of this noted mathematical textbook. $15,000.

 

22-23. Photographs of Mexico by Paul Strand. Signed copy of Strand's 1940 book of images of Mexico. $15,000.

 

21. La Villanella Rapita Ou La Villageoise Enlevée by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. Sheet music to Mozart's opera published in 1789. $15,300.

 

20. To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee. A signed 1960 first edition of Lee's ever-popular classic. $15,500.

 

19. Opere by Galileo Galilei. First edition of Galileo's collected works, published in 1655-56. $15,640.

 

18. The Wonderful Wizard of Oz by L. Frank Baum. A 1900 first edition in outstanding condition of a book that needs no introduction, unless you were never a child. $16,000.

 

17. Umbra Vitae by Georg Heym. Heym's poetry accompanied by Ernst Ludwig Kirchner's Expressionist art, published in 1924. $16,250.

 

16. For Whom the Bell Tolls by Ernest Hemingway. A first edition of Hemingway's Spanish Civil War novel inscribed to Julia Quesada. $16,396.

 

15. Anne of Avonlea by L.M. Montgomery. A 1909 first edition of the follow-up to Anne's adventures at Green Gables. $17,500.

 

14. Commentaries on the Laws of England by Sir William Blackstone & Robert Bell. The 1771-72 first American edition of what is commonly known as Blackstone's Commentaries. $18,000.

 

13. A Christmas Carol (and four other books) by Charles Dickens. A first edition of this Christmas classic. $18,500.

 

12. A collection of notebooks by Max Newman. The collection consists of 29 items from the British mathematician and pioneer in the field of computer science. $19,700.

 

11. A collection of string quartets by Ludwig von Beethoven. First or early editions of Beethoven's sheet music from 1798-1801. $20,350.

 

10. Die Fröhliche Wissenschaft by Friedrich Nietzsche. A signed first edition of a book generally known as "The Gay Science" in English. $22,500.

 

9. De Humani Corporis Fabrica by Andreas Vesalius. A 1555 second edition of this major medical text in which Vesalius corrected numerous errors in the first edition, such as the heart had a bone in its center, the kidneys did not function as filters, and nerves had no real purpose. $23,300.

 

6-8. The Natural and Civil History of the French Dominions in North and South America by Thomas Jefferys. A 1760 first edition of the geography and cartography of French possessions in the Americas just as they were about to lose most of them, a result of the French and Indian War (or Seven Years' War). $24,000.

 

6-8. Book of Esther scroll. An engraved scroll of the story of the ancient Jewish Persian Queen who saved her people from the evil-doings of the King's advisor, Haman. It was engraved by Shalom Italia, who specialized in decorated Esther scrolls. $24,000.

 

6-8. The Chronicles of Narnia by C.S. Lewis. A complete set of the seven British first editions. $24,000.

 

5. Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand. A 1957 signed first edition which belonged to Rand's secretary, who typed parts of the manuscript. $28,000.

 

4. Cours d'hippiatrique, ou Traité complet de la Médecine des Chevaux by Etienne Guillaume Lafosse. A 1772 first edition of a French anatomy and medical text on horses, containing 56 hand-colored plates. $28,468.

 

3. Discours de la Méthode by René Descartes. A twentieth century edition of a book first published in 1637, noted more for the geometric shapes of the illustrations by Victor Vasarely. $32,500.

 

2. Mickey by Damian Hirst. A screenprint of Mickey Mouse by the British artist from an oil painting created in 2012. Who knew you could draw Mickey from nothing but circles? $47,999.

 

1. Discorsi e Dimostrazioni Matematiche by Galileo. A 1638 first edition of Galileo's "Discourses," often considered to be the first modern physics textbook. $82,500.

Rare Book Monthly

  • <b>Bonhams, Jun 13 results:</b> Darwin, Charles. <i>On the Origin of Species.</i> Presentation Copy. Sold for $500,075.
    <b>Bonhams, Jun 13 results:</b> Darwin, Charles. Autograph Letter Signed, 3 pp, negotiating the 2nd American edition with Appleton. Sold for $21,325.
    <b>Bonhams, Jun 13 results:</b> Hemingway, Ernest. Autograph Letter Signed, 8 pp, Paris, 1924, to his father discussing Bullfighting, Stories, and his new baby. Sold for $25,075.
    <b>Bonhams, Jun 13 results:</b> Shakespeare, William. <i>Corialanus.</i> London, 1623. 1st printing [Extracted from the First Folio]. Sold for $50,075.
    <b>Bonhams, Jun 13 results:</b> Swift, Jonathan. <i>Gulliver's Travels.</i> London, 1726. 1st edition, Teerink's A edition, fine, large copy. Sold for $21,325.
    <b>Bonhams, Jun 13 results:</b> Fitzroy, Robert. Autograph Letter Signed to agent Thomas Stilwell, informing him of the progress of H.M.S. Beagle. Sold for $17,575.
    <center><b>Bonhams<br> Property from the Collection of Nicole and William R. Keck II</b>
    <b>Bonhams, Jun 13 results:</b> Shakespeare, William. <i>Sonnets.</i> 1901. 2 volumes. Printed on vellum and illuminated by Ross Turner, bound by Trautz-Bauzonnet. Sold for $13,825.
    <b>Bonhams, Jun 13 results:</b> Beardsley, Aubrey. <i>The Birth, Life, and Acts of King Arthur.</i> 1893-94. 2 volumes. Contemporary painted vellum gilt by Chivers. Sold for $5,325.
    <b>Bonhams, Jun 13 results:</b> Assisi, St. Francis. <i>The Canticle of Brother Sun.</i> Illuminated on vellum, for the Grolier Society. Sold for $7,575.
    <b>Bonhams, Jun 13 results:</b> Rackham, Arthur. <i>Peter Pan in Kensington Gardens.</i> 1/500 copies signed by Rackham. Sold for $4,825.
    <b>Bonhams, Jun 13 results:</b> Proust, Marcel. <i>Du coté de chez Swann.</i> 1st edition, 1st issue. Inscribed by Proust. Sold for $8,825.
  • <b>Swann Auction Galleries:</b> Ian Fleming, <i>Goldfinger,</i> first edition, inscribed to Sir Henry Cotton, MBE, London, 1959. Sold for $25,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries:</b> Joseph Brant, Mohawk Chief, ALS, writing after pledging support to King George III against American rebels, 1776. Sold for a record $35,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries:</b> Sonia Delaunay, <i>Ses Peintures</i> . . ., 20 pochoir plates, Paris, 1925. Sold for a record $13,750.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries:</b> Diana, Princess of Wales, 6 autograph letters signed to British <i>Vogue</i> editor, 1989-92. Sold for $10,400.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries:</b> Alexander Hamilton, ALS, as Secretary of the Treasury covering costs of the new U.S. Mint, 1793. Sold for $12,500.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries:</b> Benjamin Graham & David L. Dodd, <i>Security Analysis,</i> first edition, inscribed by Graham to a Wall Street trader, NY, 1934. Sold for $20,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries:</b> George Barbier & François-Louis Schmied, <i>Personnages de Comédie,</i> Paris, 1922. Sold for $9,375.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries:</b> Alphonse Mucha, <i>Ilsée, Princesse de Tripoli,</i> Paris, 1897. Sold for a record $13,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries:</b> Ralph Waldo Emerson, <i>The Dial,</i> first edition of the reconstituted issue, Emerson’s copy with inscriptions, Cincinnati, 1860. Sold for a record $3,250.

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