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>ALDE, Feb. 26:</b> Leon TOLSTOÏ. <i>Anna Karenina.</i> Moscou, 1878. First and full edition of the Russian novel, in the author’s language.<br>Est. 3 000 / 4 000 €
    <b>ALDE, Feb. 26:</b> Mark TWAIN. <i>Adventures of Huckleberry Finn (Tom Sawyer's comrade).</i> New York, 1885. First American edition.<br>Est. 5 000 / 6 000 €
    <b>ALDE, Feb. 26:</b> Walt WHITMAN. <i>Leaves of Grass.</i> Brooklyn, New York, 1856. Second edition gathering 32 poems. Est. 3 000 / 4 000 €
    <b>ALDE, Feb. 26:</b> Karen BLIXEN. <i>Out of Africa.</i> Londres, 1937. First edition in the UK, before Danish translation and American release.<br>Est. 1 500 / 2 000 €
    <b>ALDE, Feb. 26:</b> Ernest HEMINGWAY. <i>A Farewell to Arms.</i> New York, 1929. First edition with $2.50 on the dust and A on the copyright page.<br>Est. 2 000 / 3 000 €
    <b>ALDE, Feb. 26:</b> James JOYCE. <i>Ulysses.</i> Paris, Shakespeare and Company, 1922. First edition published by Sylvia Beach. Est. 3 000 / 4 000 €
    <b>ALDE, Feb. 26:</b> James JOYCE. <i>Dubliners.</i> Londres, 1914. First edition. Nice copy in publisher’s cardboard. Est. 2 000 / 3 000 €
    <b>ALDE, Feb. 26:</b> Franz KAFKA. 8 novels in German first edition, published in München, Leipzig and Berlin 1916-1931. Est. from 300 / 400 to 2 000 / 3 000 €
    <b>ALDE, Feb. 26:</b> David Herbert LAWRENCE. <i>Lady Chatterley's Lover.</i> Florence, 1928. Privately printed first edition. Est. 4 000 / 5 000 €
    John STEINBECK. <i>The Grapes of Wrath.</i> New York, 1939. First edition. Nice copy with $2.75 on the cover. Est. 1 000 / 1 200 €
  • <center><b>Cowan’s Auctions<br>The Road West: The Steve Turner Collection of African Americana<br>February 20, 2020</b>
    <br>Cowan’s, Feb. 20:</b> Harriet Tubman Cabinet Card by H.S. Squyer, Auburn, NY, 1892. $10,000 to $15,000
    <br>Cowan’s, Feb. 20:</b> Scarce <i>Events of the Tulsa Disaster,</i> First Edition, 1922. $4,000 to $6,000
    <br>Cowan’s, Feb. 20:</b> Unpublished CDV of Frederick Douglass by Benjamin F. Smith, 1864. $3,000 to $5,000
    <center><b>Cowan’s Auctions<br>The Road West: The Steve Turner Collection of African Americana<br>February 20, 2020</b>
    <br>Cowan’s, Feb. 20:</b> California Imprint of <i>President Lincoln's Emancipation Proclamation</i> Broadside, 1864. $10,000 to $15,000
    <br>Cowan’s, Feb. 20:</b> John C.H. Grabill Cabinet Card of Buffalo Soldier Wearing Buffalo Coat, ca 1886. $8,000 to $10,000
    <br>Cowan’s, Feb. 20:</b> Rare <i>What Mrs. Fisher Knows About Old Southern Cooking,</i> 2nd Cookbook Published by African American. $6,000 to $8,000
    <center><b>Cowan’s Auctions<br>The Road West: The Steve Turner Collection of African Americana<br>February 20, 2020</b>
    <br>Cowan’s, Feb. 20:</b> Frederick Douglass Walking Stick, 1888. $3,000 to $5,000
    <br>Cowan’s, Feb. 20:</b> Only Known Slave Narrative Published Independently in California, <i>Life and Adventures of James Williams.</i> $2,000 to $4,000
    <br>Cowan’s, Feb. 20:</b> Rare First Edition of History of Black Literature, Abbé Grégoire <i>De La Littérature des Nègres</i>. $2,500 to $3,000
    <center><b>Cowan’s Auctions<br>The Road West: The Steve Turner Collection of African Americana<br>February 20, 2020</b>
    <br>Cowan’s, Feb. 20:</b> African American Soldier and Medal of Honor Winner Christian A. Fleetwood CDV, PLUS. $8,000 to $10,000
    <br>Cowan’s, Feb. 20:</b> Jack Johnson vs. Jim Jeffries Pennant, 1910 Reno, Nevada. $2,000 to $4,000
    <br>Cowan’s, Feb. 20:</b> Joe Gans Photograph at 1906 Goldfield, Nevada Fight by Percy Dana. $600 to $800
  • <b>Swann Auction Galleries Feb 20:</b> Jane Austen, <i>Sense and Sensibility: A Novel, By a Lady,</i> 3 volumes, London, 1811. $30,000 to $40,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Feb 20:</b> Virginia Woolf, <i>Kew Gardens,</i> limited edition, signed by Woolf & Bell, London, 1927. $5,000 to $7,500.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Feb 20:</b> <i>[Arabian Nights],</i> Calcutta II version, 4 volumes, Calcutta & London, 1839-1842. $12,000 to $18,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Feb 20:</b> Princess Diana, 6 ALS to <i>Harper’s Bazaar</i> editor, anticipating Christie’s sale of her dresses for charity, 1995-97. $6,000 to $9,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Feb 20:</b> Jane Austen, <i>Emma,</i> first edition, London, 1816. $15,000 to $20,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Feb 20:</b> Hirohito & Nagako, Emperor & Empress of Japan, 2 photographs signed, showing Nagako in kimono & obi bearing the imperial seal. $6,000 to $9,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Feb 20:</b> Princess Diana, 6 autograph letters signed to <i>Harper’s Bazaar</i> editor Elizabeth Tilberis, anticipating Christie’s announcement of a sale of her dresses for charity, 1995-97. $6,000 to $9,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Feb 20:</b> Sarojini Naidu, complete galley proof of <i>The Broken Wing</i> signed with several holograph pages & an autograph letter signed to writer Edmund Gosse, 1916. $6,000 to $9,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Feb 20:</b> Fernando Pessoa, <i>Mensagem,</i> first edition, presentation copy, signed & inscribed, Lisbon, 1934. $5,000 to $7,500.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Feb 20:</b> Graham Greene, <i>The Basement Room,</i> first edition, Greene’s personal copy, signed with annotations throughout, London, 1935. $4,000 to $6,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Feb 20:</b> Abraham Lincoln, partly-printed document signed, call for troops issued during America’s first national draft just days before the NYC draft riots, 1863. $15,000 to $25,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Feb 20:</b><br><i>Les Chansons de Bilitis</i> by Pierre Louÿs, illustrated by George Barbier & F.L. Schmied, Paris, 1922. $8,000 to $12,000.
  • <b>Bonhams, Mar. 6:</b> Helvelius. Two Autograph Letters Signed to Francis Aston, Royal Society Secretary, noting his feud with Robert Hooke, 5 pp total, 1685. $70,000 to $100,000.
    <b>Bonhams, Mar. 6:</b> Newton, Isaac. Autograph manuscript on God, 4 pp, c.1710, "In the beginning was the Word...."?$100,000 to $150,000.
    <b>Bonhams, Mar. 6:</b> Beethoven's Ninth Symphony. First edition, first issue. Untrimmed copy in contemporary boards. $30,000 to $50,000.
    <b>Bonhams, Mar. 6:</b> Lincoln, Abraham. Signed photograph, beardless portrait with Civil War provenance. $80,000 to $120,000.
    <b>Bonhams, Mar. 6:</b> IMPEACHMENT. Original engrossed copy of the first Andrew Johnson impeachment resolution vote. $120,000 to $180,000.
    <b>Bonhams, Mar. 6:</b> Mucha, Alphonse. 11 original pencil drawings for?<i>Andelicek z Baroku,</i> "Litte Baroque Angel," Prague, 1929. $10,000 to $15,000.
    <b>Bonhams, Mar. 6:</b> Einstein, Albert. Annotated Galley Proofs for <i>The Meaning of Relativity.</i> 1921. $25,000 to $35,000.
    <b>Bonhams, Mar. 6:</b> Silverstein, Shel. Original maquette for <i>The Giving Tree,</i> 34 original drawings. $10,000 to $15,000.
    <b>Bonhams, Mar. 6:</b> Roth, Philip. Typed Manuscript with substantial autograph corrections for an unpublished sequel to <i>The Breast.</i> $10,000 to $15,000.
    <b>Bonhams, Mar. 6:</b> Taupin, Bernie. Autograph Manuscript, the original draft of lyrics for Elton John's "Candle in the Wind," 2 pp, 1973. $100,000 to $150,000.
    <b>Bonhams, Mar. 6:</b> HARVEY, WILLIAM. <i>De Motu Cordis et Sanguinis in Animalibus Anatomica Exercitatio.</i> Padua: 1643. $12,000 to $18,000.
    <b>Bonhams, Mar. 6:</b> CESALPINO, ANDREA. <i>Peripateticarum Quaestionum Libri Quinque.</i> Venice: 1571. $30,000 to $40,000.

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