Rare book collectors were buying in bulk during September 2009. Stephen King’s Dark Tower series, all signed and numbered first editions, features seven books in total and that collection easily topped our expensive sales for the month. Another buyer snapped up 14 Thomas Pynchon first editions. Also sold was a unique collection of books and letters from Indian literary legends R.K. Narayan & Mulk Raj Anand.
The $6,000 purchase of The Tales of Beedle the Bard was AbeBooks’ most expensive sale of this particular book. It was a first edition of the leather collector’s version – one of only 100 numbered copies that were signed by J.K. Rowling. Apparently, these copies were distributed randomly to buyers who bought the collector’s edition from Amazon.co.uk. Somebody got something very special in the mail considering any book signed by J.K Rowling has instant value on the rare book market. The collector’s edition of Beedle the Bard is also jeweled and comes with an embroidered velvet bag. Everything is housed in a faux book clamshell case.
1. The Dark Tower Series by Stephen King - $14,000
First edition copies of all seven volumes of the series, signed and numbered in a slipcase.
2. Liber Psalmorum Hebraice By Benjamin Kennicott - $8,250
Printed in 1809 this first edition copy of the first American Hebrew Psalter is written in Hebrew and Latin, the psalms appearing in Hebrew on each page, with the Latin commentary and notes below.
3. Various first editions & letters by R.K. Narayan & Mulk Raj Anand - $7,764
A collection of more than 20 books, letters, essays, and drafts from Narayan and Anand, two of the most influential English language writers in India. The books included various editions, many firsts, and the majority were signed.
4 . Fourteen Thomas Pynchon first editions - $6,269
A collection of 14 first edition by this reclusive American author, including The Crying of Lot 49, Gravity’s Rainbow, Vineland, and Mason & Dixon.
5. The Tales of Beedle the Bard by J.K. Rowling - $6,000
A leather-bound collector’s edition copy of Rowling’s much talked about mini-book. Signed and limited to just 100 copies - this was #84.
6. Jackson Pollock: A Catalogue Raisonne of Paintings, Drawings and Other Works - $6,000
Published by Yale University Press in 1978 this collection was printed in four volumes together in a slip case.
7. Les Fleurs Du Mal by Charles Baudelaire - $5,885
Baudelaire’s classic book of poetry republished with illustrations (lithographs and woodcuts) by Henri Matisse. It was also signed by Matisse.
8. Poemes by Charles d'Orléans - $5,866
The poetry of the Duke of Orleans with original lithographs by Henri Matisse. A 1950 edition limited to 1,230 copies, signed in pencil by the French artist.
9. Ootheca Wolleyana: An Illustrated Catalogue of the Collection of Birds' Eggs, begun by the late John Wolley, Jun., M.A., F.Z.S., and continued with additions, by the editor, Alfred Newton - $5,580
Published in 1907, this was a first edition copy of this ornithology book.
10. Copper Engravings by Robert Cami, Rene Cottet, Albert Decaris Robert Jeannisson, Kiyoshi Hasegawa & Paul Lemagny - $4,950
A monograph on engraving by Jean Adhemar followed by short biographies of each of the six artists, accompanied by a suite of six large engravings, one each by Cami, Cottet, Decaris, Jeannisson, Hasegawa, and Lemagny. This edition, limited to 50 copies, also included a second set of engravings in the first state, published 1945.