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Copy of Das Kapital sells for $40k just as Dow Jones hits record high


On Thursday,  the day that the Dow Jones index closed at an all-time high of 17,068 points, AbeBooks.com sold a first edition of Karl Marx’s Das Kapital for $40,000.

Published in 1867 by Otto Meissner with German text, this copy of Das Kapital was the only one published in Marx’s lifetime (he died in 1883). The book is housed in a slipcover with cloth wrapping.

Das Kapital famously attributes the growth of capitalism to the exploitation of labor and the book became the basis for Marxism, which influenced many subsequent political systems and labor movements, including Communism. Marx lived in London from 1849 until his death. He is buried in Highgate Cemetery.

It’s not the first time that a copy of Das Kapital has sold for a high price via AbeBooks. In November 2011, a very rare copy in three volumes sold for $51,739. Interest in Marx’s book, which arguably did indeed help change the world, remains as strong as ever.

The $40,000 sale is AbeBooks’ second most expensive sale of the year. A collection of French Art Nouveau posters sold for $43,450 in March.

On a bumper day for the stock markets and used bookselling, a copy of the first ever Rupert the Bear annual from 1936 sold for $8,497 on Thursday. The first edition, illustrated by Alfred Bestall, was unmarked with the “Belongs to” box left empty, a rarity for this children’s favorite.

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Richard Davies

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Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. The Book Booth: Bastille Day Edition - The Political Carnival - November 15, 2014

    […] In the Department of Irony we find that Karl Marx still has readers. Even as the stock market soars. ABE Books recently sold a first edition of Das Kapital for some big bucks. […]