Most Expensive Books of 2008

abebooks.com released their annual list of Most Expensive Books sold:

  1. Etudes à l’Eau-Forte by Francis Seymour Haden$17,216
    A collection of 25 etchings by Seymour Hayden – 24 of the plates depict the landscape around London, the Thames, Ireland and Wales and the final one is a portrait of Thomas Haden.  The text reproduces an article printed in the Gazette des Beaux-Arts by Philippe Burty and contains a catalogue of the etched work of Seymour Haden.
  2. L’Abou Naddara, Journal Arabe Illustre (1878-1884) by James Sanua – $13,000
    First edition published in 1878 and signed by author.  The complete set of the first eight years of Sahifat Abou Naddara issued in Paris. Sanua was called Ya’qub Rufa’il Sanu in Arabic but was often referred to by his pseudonym, Abu Naddara (‘father of spectacles’).
  3. Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban by JK Rowling – $12,874
    Rare first edition signed by JK with the dust wrapper panels signed by the cover artist Cliff Wright. The first issue has a misaligned block of text which was corrected in the subsequent issues.
  4. Specimens of British minerals selected from the cabinet of Philip Rashleigh by Philip Rashleigh – $12,754
    Cornish landowner Philip Rashleigh formed one of the most outstanding early collections of mineral specimens (housed in the Royal Cornwall Museum at Truro) and this work describes his best specimens.
  5. The Holy Land, Syria, Idumea, Arabia, Egypt & Nubia by David Roberts – $12,360
    First American edition from 1855 including 250 lithographed plates with historical descriptions from George Croly and William Brockedon.
  6. The First Six Books of the Elements of Euclid by Euclid $11,750
    Charles Wittingham of the Chiswick Press published this edition of Euclid’s works on Euclidean geometry in 1847.  Written and designed to simplify Euclid’s propositions, this remarkable example of Victorian printing has been described as one of the oddest and most beautiful books of the 19th century.
  7. Autographed Letter by Edward Lear – $11,491
    A two-page illustrated autograph letter by the nonsense poet Edward Lear, most renowned for writing The Owl and the Pussycat, dated 9th September 1867.  The letter contains a detailed self-caricature sketch showing Lear with outstretched limbs, as well as a comedic request to visit the recipient.
  8. Grimms Fairy Tales by Jakob & Wilhelm Grimm – $11,388
    A first edition, first issue copy of these famous fairy tales, including 22 etched plates by George Cruikshank. It is housed in a clamshell box.
  9. Peter Beard Collector’s Edition by Peter Beard – $10,808
    Published by Tashen in 2006, this is one of a limited number of collector’s copies signed by the renowned photographer.
  10. Biblia Latina Printed by Johannes Herbort de Seligenstadt – $10,807
    Printed in 1484, these bibles were the first to use the original Greek and Hebrew manuscripts to improve the common Latin Vulgate bible text. The first ‘Fontibus Ex Graecis’ Biblia Latina was published 1479 by Amerbach and was named after the first line of three distichs (couplets) that were included in the texts. Johannes Herbort de Seligenstadt used Amerbach’s revised second edition for this Biblia Latina.

…and their top-selling religion/theology books:

  1. Goslar Gospels$7,470
    Limited facsimile edition of 300 copies published in 1990.  A replica of one of the most exquisite books from the 13th century.  Bound in leather with 30 biblical scenes.
  2. Sefarad: Revista del Instituto Arias Montano de Estudios Hebraicos y Oriente Próximo by Consejo Superior de Investigaciones – $7,265
    This journal deals with theology and textual criticism of the bible and its ancient versions, with the history and culture of the Jews in Spain.  Vols. 1-63. Madrid, 1941-2003. Vols. 1-15 (1941-1955).
  3. Memories on the Affairs of the Jesuits by C.P. Platel$5,698 Entirely reworked and much enlarged edition of the crushing attack on the Jesuits by Abbot CP Platel, pseudonym of Norbert Parisot, or Father Norbert (1697-1769). Published 1766, Signed by P. Yver, 5 volumes.

Only Roberts’ Holy Land and Biblia Latina catch my eye.  But I can’t say that will happen any time soon (or ever at those prices!).  Maybe Roberts will show up on the dollar table at the Smyrna Public Library…

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