AbeBooks has released their list of the top 15 prices paid on the largest old and rare books selling site in the world during the first quarter of 2023. The publishing dates range from 1529-2020, with almost half coming from the second half of the twentieth century. Most are in English, with a couple in German and one in Latin. The topics are so varied that no trend can be discerned. One thing that can be seen is that these days, no one is more popular among the young than the Wonderful Wizard of … Hogwarts. Here is that list of highest prices from January-March 2023.
15. The Wormser Bibel, published in the city of Worms in 1529 by Peter Schoffer the Younger, son of Gutenberg's assistant. The first Protestant Bible in German. $10,600.
14. Artis Magnae Artilleriae by Kazimierz Sirmienowicz, published in 1650. All about artillery and fireworks. $12,000.
13. 1765 tax stamp for 12s 6d, applied by the British to tax paper goods in colonial America. This was, of course, so loathed a symbol of taxation without representation that it was one of the leading causes of the American Revolution. $12,000.
12. Whispers From Eternity by Paramahansa Yogananda, published in 1944. Yogananda introduced Indian meditation and yoga to Americans. This copy was inscribed. $12,500.
11. Smith of Wootton Major by J. R. R. Tolkien, published in 1967. A book that not unexpectedly explores fantasy. $15,000.
10. I, Robot by Isaac Asimov, published in 1950. In case you were wondering where this AI stuff is taking us. $15,000.
9. A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens, published in 1843. This book is never out of season. $16,000.
8. Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep by Philip K. Dick, published in 1968. Is that a serious or rhetorical question? $17,195.
7. A Vindication of the Rights of Woman by Mary Wollstonecraft, published in 1792. A book and a woman who were ahead of their time. $17,680.
6. Der Hungern Chronica (the Hungarian Chronicles) by Janos Thuroczy published in 1534. First German edition of a book first published in Latin in 1488. It describes Medieval Hungarian history. $20,580.
5. Casino Royale by Ian Fleming, published in 1953. The book that first introduced 007, James Bond, to the world. $21,870.
4. The Sistine Chapel by Vatican Museums, a three-volume, elephant folio masterpiece published in 2020. It contains a selection of the best of 270,000 photographs taken for the project. $22,000.
3. Ichthylogy of South Carolina by John Edwards Holbrook, published 1855-57. If you ever go fishing in South Carolina, this book should help you identify your catch. $26,000.
2. Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone by J.K. Rowling, a paperback first edition published in 1997. One of 5,000 copies printed. Inscribed by Rowling. $26,750.
1. Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone by J.K. Rowling, a true first edition published in 1997. One of 300 copies from a print run of 500 provided to libraries. This one went to the Edinburgh library, Rowling's hometown. The library card shows it was borrowed 27 times from 1997-1999 before being withdrawn. $85,620.