Rare Book Monthly

Articles - February - 2019 Issue

AbeBooks 25 Most Expensive Sales for 2018

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

  • Forum Auctions
    Fine Books, Manuscripts and Works on Paper
    30th May 2024
    Forum, May 30: Potter (Beatrix). Complete set of four original illustrations for the nursery rhyme, 'This pig went to market', 1890s. £60,000 to £80,000.
    Forum, May 30: Dante Alighieri.- Lactantius (Lucius Coelius Firmianus). Opera, second edition, Rome, 1468. £40,000 to £60,000.
    Forum, May 30: Distilling.- Brunschwig (Hieronymus). Liber de arte Distillandi de Compositis, first edition of the so-called 'Grosses Destillierbuch', Strassburg, 1512. £22,000 to £28,000.
    Forum, May 30: Eliot (T.S.), W. H. Auden, Ted Hughes, Philip Larkin, Robert Lowell, Seamus Heaney, Ted Hughes, & others. A Personal Anthology for Eric Walter White, 60 autograph poems. £20,000 to £30,000.
    Forum, May 30: Cornerstone of French Enlightenment Philosophy.- Helvetius (Claude Adrien). De l'Esprit, true first issue "A" of the suppressed first edition, Paris, 1758. £20,000 to £30,000.
    Forum Auctions
    Fine Books, Manuscripts and Works on Paper
    30th May 2024
    Forum, May 30: Szyk (Arthur). The Haggadah, one of 125 copies, this out-of-series, Beaconsfield Press, 1940. £15,000 to £20,000.
    Forum, May 30: Fleming (Ian). Casino Royale, first edition, first impression, 1953. £15,000 to £20,000.
    Forum, May 30: Japan.- Ryusui (Katsuma). Umi no Sachi [Wealth of the Sea], 2 vol., Tokyo, 1762. £8,000 to £12,000.
    Forum, May 30: Computing.- Operating and maintenance manual for the BINAC binary automatic computer built for Northrop Aircraft Corporation 1949, Philadelphia, 1949. £8,000 to £12,000.
    Forum, May 30: Burmese School (probably circa 1870s). Folding manuscript, or parabaik, from the Court Workshop at the Royal Court at Manadaly, Burma, [c.1870s]. £8,000 to £12,000.
  • 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
  • Bid on iGavelAuctions.com: Heller, Joseph, Closing Time, Advance Readers Copy of Uncorrected Proof with a letter from Heller on his personal stationary
    Bid on iGavelAuctions.com: Gates, Bill, How to Avoid a Climate Disaster, N Y: Knopf, 2021; first edition, with a handwritten note from Bill Gates
    Bid on iGavelAuctions.com: Heller, Joseph, Catch-22, New York: Simon & Schuster, 1961, first edition, first printing, first issue dust jacket, inscribed on the front end paper by Heller
    Bid on iGavelAuctions.com: Heller, Joseph, Something Happened, New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1974, first edition, inscribed on the front end paper by Heller
    Bid on iGavelAuctions.com: Austen, Jane, Northanger Abbey and Persuasion, London: John Murray, 1818, in four volumes
  • Manuscript Masterpieces from the Schøyen Collection
    London auction, 11 June
    BROWSE NOW
    Christie’s, Explore now: The Holkham Hebrew Bible. In Hebrew, decorated manuscript on vellum [Toledo, 2nd quarter 13th century]. £1,500,000–3,000,000
    Christie’s, Explore now: The Crosby-Schøyen Codex. In Coptic, manuscript on papyrus [Upper Egypt, middle 3rd century / 4th century]. £2,000,000–3,000,000
    Christie’s, Explore now: The Geraardsbergen Bible. In Latin, illuminated manuscript on vellum [Southern Netherlands, late 12th century]. £700,000–1,000,000
    Christie’s, Explore now : Jean de Courcy (fl. 1420). The Chronique de la Bouquechardiere. In French, illuminated manuscript on vellum [Paris, c.1480]. £200,000–300,000
    Christie’s, Explore now: The ‘Catherine de Medici’ Hours. In Latin and French, illuminated manuscript on vellum [Paris, c.1485]. £120,000–180,000

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