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AbeBooks top 10 most expensive sales from December 2008


This (past) month’s list of top sales is one of the most varied that we have seen in some time. Aside from the usual suspects (your Atlas Shrugged and Treasure Islands), we have books on Communism and Capitalism, a prophesier and a prophet (not to be confused with the aforementioned profit), the Dutch and the French, and a stack of 147 copies of Hali, the magazine about the collection and appreciation of Islamic and Oriental art, carpets, and textiles.

Hali Magazine

I always find it fascinating when we sell large collections of ephemera such as magazines, there were a few magazines I collected as a child out of pure interest in the subject matter but the concept that a it could become valuable never entered my brain. I suppose that is how most of these collections started as well. The other thing I sometimes forget about is when sets of books or magazines are sold online they can be quite large. I can imagine the anticipation the buyer is having waiting for their new prize to be delivered, I get excited when a single book arives at my door, imagine 125 kilos of Islamic art….

1. Gedenkweerdige Brasiliaense Zee-en Lant-Reise by Johan Nieuhoff - $6,849
Voyages and Travels into Brazil, and the East Indies by this 17th century Dutch explorer.
2. Security Analysis by Benjamin Graham – $6,000
First edition and first printing of Graham’s legendary book on speculative investing – published in 1934
3. Le Capital by Karl Marx – $5,795
First French edition of Das Kapital, published in 1872 and revised by Marx himself. The English edition, edited by Engels, was based on the French.
4. Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand - $5,750
True first edition, first printing from 1957 – signed by Ayn Rand
5. Cezanne by Duret, Mirbeau et al – $5,600
First edition 1914, limited to 600 copies, one of 400 printed on Papier a Grain.
6. Treasure Island by Robert Louis Stevenson - $4,870
First London edition, published 1883. Includes publisher’s adverts dated October 1883.
7. Hali Magazine (147 issues) – $4,805
A complete run, issues 1 to 147 from 1978 to 1995, of Hali – a London-based magazine devoted to oriental rugs and carpets.
8. On the Anatomy of the Breast by Astley Paston Cooper - $4,729
First edition, published in 1840. Two volumes with 27 lithographed plates. The last book written by the famous English surgeon. *Note first editions available at time of writing
9. The Quran Al-Qur’an of Sultan Mulay Zaidan $4,364
A 1996 Spanish facsimile edition of the 1599 publication from Marrakech, Morocco. Limited pressing of 980 copies.
10. The True Prophecies or Prognostications of Michael Nostradamus by Nostradamus - $4,300
The first English translation of the works of Nostradamus, printed in 1672. Rebound in leather. *Note link leads to archival reprint

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