Rare Book Monthly

Articles - January - 2017 Issue

AbeBooks Lists Its Top 10 Most Expensive Sales for 2016

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Sam I Am, serving up green eggs and ham.

For many, the AbeBooks' website is a great place to buy used books for a low price. Students and casual readers have made the most of their bargains for twenty years. But then, there is a rarefied group, the serious collector. They inhabit AbeBooks too. At the top of this group, you need to have a five figure credit line on your charge card, and a willingness to use it. Here is the cream of the crop. These are the Top 10 highest prices paid on AbeBooks for 2016.

 

10. To Kill a Mockingbird, by Harper Lee (1960). This one has been a classic from the moment it was published 56 years ago. This is a signed first edition by Ms. Lee, who died in 2016. $16,000.

 

9. A Handful of Dust, by Evelyn Waugh (1934). Inscribed copy of a semi-autobiographical book. $16,450.

 

8. The Complete Works of Oscar Wilde (1908). Fourteen volumes, one of 80 copies of this limited edition. $16,500.

 

7. An original drawing of Sam I Am carrying a plate of green eggs and ham, by Dr. Seuss. $17,832.

 

6. Abstraction Création Art Non Figuratif 1932-1936, a 1973 reprint of the five yearbooks of Abstraction-Création, a loose association of abstract artists in the 1930's. $19,300.

 

5. Description Géographique Historique, Chronologique, Politique et Physique de l'Empire de la Chine, by Jean-Baptiste du Halde (1735). An 18th century French look at China. $19,770.

 

4. The Works of H. G. Wells, (1924-1927). This is a 28-volume set, number 524 of 1,050 copies, signed by H. G. himself (first volume only). $20,792.

 

3. Great Expectations, by Charles Dickens (1861). The personal copy of children's poet Eugene Field. Came with a letter from Rev. Chauncy Hare Townshend, to whom the book was dedicated. $25,000.

 

2. Selectarum Stirpium Americanorum Historia, by Nicolaus Joseph Jacquin (1763). Early detailed account of American botany. $25,679.

 

1. Alice's Adventures in Wonderland, by Lewis Carroll (1866). First American edition, or, technically speaking, second issue of the first edition. The first issue of the first edition was recalled, Carroll and illustrator John Tenniel displeased with the quality. Rather than throw the unused pages out, the publisher shipped them to America, where tastes are less discerning, for use in the American edition. Meanwhile, a revised, or second edition was published in England. Therefore, this is a second issue of the first edition, though it came out after the second edition. $36,000.

Rare Book Monthly

  • <b>Swann Auction Galleries Aug 13:</b> <i>Manhattan Gay Scene Guide 1969, Summer Edition,</i> Mattachine Book Service. $3,000 to $4,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Aug 13:</b> Harvey Milk, 2 autograph letters signed, to Pat Mormon, during US Navy service, 1954. $3,000 to $4,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Aug 13:</b> Oscar Wilde, <i>“The secret of life is in Art,”</i> autograph quotation dated and signed, 1882. $4,000 to $6,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Aug 13:</b> Daniel Abraham, original art for <i>Stonewall Romances,</i> pen, ink & gouache, 1979. $2,000 to $3,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Aug 13:</b> Antonio Lopez, 9 men’s fashion studies, graphite, 1974. $3,000 to $4,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Aug 13:</b> Susie Gaynes & Amy E. Bartell, <i>March on Washington for Lesbian and Gay Rights,</i> 1987. $600 to $900.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Aug 13:</b> <i>Paris is Burning,</i> photo offset poster by Anne Dutlinger, signed by film director Jennie Livingston, 1991. $400 to $600.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Aug 13:</b> Toyen, pen & ink illustration from <i>Marquis de Sade: Justina cili prokletí ctnosti,</i> 1932. $8,000 to $12,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Aug 13:</b> David Wojnarowicz, <i>Untitled (Genet with Dog),</i> mixed media collage. $8,000 to $12,000.

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