AbeBooks has released their list of the twenty highest prices paid from the millions of books offered on their website. This list covers the second quarter of 2022, April-June. Here is their list.
20. Earthrise, a photograph taken from Apollo 8 of the earth rising above the horizon of the moon. Apollo 8 was the first mission to go to the moon (it orbited but did not land). Inscribed by James Lovell, one of the three astronauts onboard. $9,300.
18 tie. Moby Dick by Herman Melville, a 1930 edition notable for being illustrated by Rockwell Kent. $9,500.
18 tie. The History of the Royal Residences. Of Windsor Castle, St. James's Palace, Carlton House, Kensington Palace, Hampton Court, Buckingham House, and Frogmore, by William Henry Pyne. Three elephant folio volumes published in 1819. $9,500.
17. The Federalist by Alexander Hamilton, James Madison & John Jay. Published under the pseudonym “Publius” in 1788. $10,000.
16. Paradise Lost by John Milton, published in 1974, three centuries after the first edition by the Bibliophiles of the Automobile Club of France. Huh? Why is this so valuable? Answer – it contains 10 loose illustrations signed and numbered by the artist, Salvador Dali. $12,000.
15. Doctor Sax by Jack Kerouac, published by the Grove Press in 1959. One of 26 lettered copies signed by the author. $12,200.
14. The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne, a first edition from 1850. $12,500.
13. Finnegans Wake by James Joyce, a signed limited edition by the author, published in 1939. $12,645.
12. The Earthly Paradise, an epic poem by William Morris, printed in eight volumes 1896-1897 on Morris' Kelmscott Press. Morris first published his poem 30 years earlier, but this edition was printed on his own private press near the end of his life. $13,500.
11. The Catcher in the Rye by J. D. Salinger, first edition, first printing, published in 1951. Every 1950s schoolboy's favorite book. $13,750.
9 tie. Eleanor Roosevelt letter, to “Harry,” dated February 19, 1944. Calling for equal rights, the First Lady writes, “Something has to happen to people's souls before they are going to give the rights of citizenship to all the people of our country, regardless of color or creed.” It still needs to happen. $15,000.
9 tie. Great Expectations by Charles Dickens. First edition, first issue, published in 1861. $15,000.
8. Une Saison en Enfer (A Season in Hell) by Arthur Rimbaud, self-published in 1873, when he was only 19 years old (Rimbaud retired from writing when he was 20). One of the copies held in storage until 1901 as Rimbaud failed to pay the printing bill. $18,865.
7. The Bar-Tenders' Guide by Jerry Thomas, a rare 1862 first edition of the first American cocktail recipe book. Thomas was a flamboyant bartender who later opened his own saloon in New York. Not everyone suffered through the Civil War. $20,000.
6. Alice's Adventures in Wonderland, a much later edition (1969) valuable for the same reason as the earlier copy of Paradise Lost – it contains 12 woodcut illustrations signed by Salvador Dali. $21,375.
5. The Sistine Chapel by Vatican Museums, a three-volume elephant folio published in 2020. Pictures selected from among 270,000 photographs taken by two photographers over 65 nights in the Sistine Chapel. This is the new book price. $22,000.
4. Le Magnétisme Animal Démontré Selon Les Loix & La Nature Avec Les Figures by Franz-Anton Mesmer, published in 1785. Animal magnetism by the man whose name gave us the term “mesmerize.” $22,080.
3. Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury. Not even a temperature of 451 will light this book on fire. This is the famous asbestos-bound edition, which makes it even more dangerous. #83 of 200 signed and numbered copies. $22,500.
2. How to Trade in Stocks by Jesse Livermore, a signed first edition from 1940. Livermore must have mastered his formula, but if it were that easy we'd all be rich. $40,000.
1. I Quattro Libri dell Architettura by Andrea Palladio, a 1570 first edition. Palladio may well be the most influential architect ever, a promoter of classical styles, which have survived all the trends that have since come and gone. $57,750.