Rare Book Monthly

Articles - November - 2019 Issue

AbeBooks Announces Top 10 Highest Prices for Third Quarter of 2019


The Caterbury Tales.

AbeBooks has released their list of the Top 10 highest prices paid on their book selling website during the months of July-September. They fall into three categories: books or authors you know, very old books, and beautiful books. Most books aren't worth a lot of money, but if you have the right ones, the money still flows. Here are those ten most expensive items.


10. Philosophiae Naturalis Principia Mathematica, by Isaac Newton. This is a third edition from 1726 of what some consider the greatest science book ever written. It covers Newton's laws of motion and of universal gravity. This was the last edition published during his lifetime. $8,847.


9. The Chronicles of Narnia, by C.S. Lewis. A complete set of first editions of the Chronicles. Maybe not as important as Newton's Principia, but many more people have read these books. $9,138.


8. La Geografia di Claudio Tolomeo Alessandrino. This is Alessandrino's geography as translated to Italian by the 16th century Italian cartographer Girolamo Ruscelli. Contains a double hemisphere world map. $9,193.


7. Antarctic Days. Sketches of the Homely Side of Polar Life by Two of Shackleton's Men, by James Murray and George Marston. These two gentlemen accompanied Shackleton on the Nimrod Expedition 1907-1909. They didn't quite make it to the South Pole but came the closest of anyone at that time. Shackleton provided an introduction and this copy was signed by Shackleton, Murray and Marston. $9,500.


6. Hieronymi Cardani Mediolanensis, by Gerolamo Cardano. With a title like that, it is safe to say this is a very old book. Cardano was a 16th century polymath, knowledgeable in philosophy, mathematics, medicine, astronomy, astrology, physics, and probably everything else. This is a 17th century edition of his work. $10,991.


5. Toni Morrison Collection. Thirty books written by Toni Morrison, including signed first editions, proofs and review copies. $11,000.


4. Pride and Prejudice, by Jane Austen. Second edition in three volumes, published in 1813, the same year as the first edition. $12,740.


3. Les Oeuvres de Monsieur de Molière. Eight volumes of the works of Jean-Baptiste Poquelin, better known as Molière. Published in 1682. $13,309.


2. History of the Royal Residences of Windsor Castle, St. James's Palace, Carlton House, Kensington Palace, Hampton Court, Buckingham House, and Frogmore by W.H. Pyne. Three volumes published in 1819 containing 100 engravings of various palatial residences, including the one with a lot of frogs nearby. $15,000.


1. The Canterbury Tales by Geoffrey Chaucer. This is a facsimile of the New Ellesmere early 15th century illuminated manuscript housed at the Huntington Library. This is a lot of money for a 1995 facsimile but it is a spectacular reproduction of an incredibly beautiful work. $19,752.

Rare Book Monthly

  • <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 10:</b> Francis Scott Key, <i>Star Spangled Banner,</i> first printing, c. 1814-16. $8,000 to $12,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 10:</b> William Sydney Porter, a.k.a. “O. Henry,” archive of drawings made to illustrate a lost mining memoir, c. 1883-84. $30,000 to $40,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 10:</b> [Bay Psalm Book], printed for Hezekiah Usher of Boston, Cambridge, c. 1648-65. $50,000 to $75,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 10:</b> Book of Mormon, first edition, Palmyra, 1830. $40,000 to $60,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 10:</b> <i>Noticia estraordinario,</i> probable first announcement in Mexico City of the fall of the Alamo, 1836. $40,000 to $60,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 10:</b> Patrick Gass, first edition of earliest first-hand account of the Lewis and Clarke expedition, Pittsburgh, 1807. $6,000 to $9,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 10:</b> Diploma from the Princeton Class of 1783, commencement attended by Washington & Continental Congress. $10,000 to $15,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 10:</b> <i>Sprague Light Cavalry!</i> color-printed broadside, NY, 1863. $5,000 to $7,500.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 10:</b> <i>The Lincoln & Johnson Union Campaign Songster,</i> Philadelphia, 1864. $3,000 to $4,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 10:</b> Lucy Parsons, labor organizer, albumen cabinet card, New York, 1886. $800 to $1,200.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 10:</b> Daniel L.F. Swift, journal as third mate on a Pacific Whaling voyage, 1848-1850. $3,000 to $4,0000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 10:</b> Two photos of Thomas Moran, Grand Canyon, silver prints, 1901. $1,500 to $2,500.
  • <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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