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, 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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