Last month’s most expensive sale, a rare Islamic book about the work and words of the prophet Muhammad, was our sixth most expensive sale in the history of AbeBooks and our biggest sale for five years. The $45,000 book is around 800 years old and details Hadith methodology. Hadith are collections of narrations dedicated to explaining the prophet’s actions and words. They are important tools in understanding the Qu'ran and Islamic law, and have existed for more than 1,200 years. They are a cornerstone of Islamic life.
Muhammad died in 632 A.D and his traditions were passed on orally for several centuries before the Hadith were formally recorded. By the 9th century, there were many different versions of the Hadith and today the Shia and Sunni denominations have different ones.
1. Arabic Manuscript of Al Wajaza Fi Sihhat Il Qawl Bi l Ijaza - $45,000
This is an important work on Hadith methodology (narrations concerning the words and deeds of the Islamic prophet Muhammad) that was originally written in the 10th century AD. This copy was published in the 12th-13th century A.D. and contained an ownership mark on the title page from a well known scholar called Ibrahim B. Sulleymanb Muhammad B. Abd Ul Aziz Al Hanafi Al Jinini, who bought it while living in Damascus in 1659 A.D.
2. Traité Sur la Nature et Sur la Culture de la Vign; sur le Vin, la Façon de le Faire, et la Manière de le Nien Gouverner by Bidet - $10,582
Published in 1759, this is the second edition of a manual that defines the proper care of vineyards and wine-making procedures in various parts of France. Augmented and corrected from the first edition by M. Bidet of the Academy of Agriculture.
3. Documental History of the Knights of Malta by Pauli Sebastiano - $9,377
Published in two volumes in 1733, this work includes maps and various documents about the Maltese Knights, also known as the Knights Hospitaller and the Order of St. John. The Knights of Malta were a powerful Christian military order in the Middle Ages.
4. Minotaure by Albert Skira and E. Tériade - $8,324
A complete collection of issues one to 13 published from 1933 to 1939 of this most prestigious journal on surrealism. It includes work by Picasso, Duchamp, Dali, Matisse, Max Ernst and others.
5. Thesaurus Linguae Latinae by Robert Estienne - $6,774
Estienne’s Latin language thesaurus was published over three volumes. This edition was published in 1543 – 12 years after the first edition.
6. Bucolicon, Georgicon, Aeneis Manoscritto Riccardiano by Publius Vergilius Maro - $6,718
A modern reproduction of Publius Vergilius Maro’s (aka Virgil) works The Eclogues, The Georgics and The Aeneid. Published in 2004 as a numbered illuminated manuscript by Biblioteca Riccardiana.
7. Pilze by Harzer - $5,186
This is an extremely rare book on mushrooms and fungi published in 1842, first impression. The text is in German and it contains 81 full-color hand-tinted lithographs.
8. Diary of a Voyage from Liverpool to Melbourne and Back by Albert G. Smith - $4,456
An original manuscript in the hand of an “ordinary” Englishman named Albert G. Smith, who journeyed from Liverpool to Melbourne and back on convict ships in 1860. Includes day-to-day accounts as well as drawings of islands seen along the way.
9. Adnotationes et Meditationes in Evangelia Quae in Sacrosancto Missae Sacrificio by Hieronymus Natalis - $3,951
Published in 1607, this beautifully illustrated text contains meditations on the Gospels by Jerome Nadal (1507-1580). Nadal, a Spaniard, was an early member of the Society of Jesuits and served as the personal representative to St. Ignatius of Loyola
10. Chéri by Alméry Lobel-Riche - $3,833
The first illustrated book by the famed painter, illustrator and engraver Lobel-Riche (1880-1950), limited to 275 copies and published in 1925. This copy, numbered 85, also included an original drawing by Lobel-Riche, who was famed for his romantic perspectives on art.