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Della Magnificenza ed Architettura de'Romaniand Osservazioni sopra la Lettre de M. Mariette Last month’s 10 most expensive sales on AbeBooks are spread across the entire spectrum of book collecting.  Topping the list is an 18th century book of etchings from Italian artist Giovanni Battista Piranesi, who is remembered for his prints depicting surrealist prisons as well as amazing illustrations of ancient Roman ruins shown in Della Magnificenza ed Architettura de'Romaniand Osservazioni sopra la Lettre de M. Mariette.  Following closely behind are four titans of literature - Carroll, Dickens, Pound, and Faulkner.

Most Expensive Sales on AbeBooks in May 2009

1. Della Magnificenza ed Architettura de'Romaniand Osservazioni sopra la Lettre de M. Mariette by Giovanni Battista Piranesi - $17,000
Piranesi (1720-1778) is famous for his etchings of ancient Roman ruins and prisons.  This work (published in 1765) translates to Roman Antiquities of the Time of the First Republic and the First Emperors and contains etchings of the structures from this period.

Alice in Wonderland

2. Alice’s Adventures In Wonderland, Through The Looking Glass and And What Alice Found There by Lewis Carroll - $14,377
First London editions in two volumes (1866 & 1872).  Illustrated by John Tenniel and bound in red morocco with a slipcase.

3. A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens - $6,950
First edition from London (1859) from the original seven monthly serial instalments that were bound by Birdsall & Son of Northampton. Illustrations by H.K. Brown.

4. Selected Poems by Ezra Pound - $6,050
First edition, limited to 100 copies and signed by Ezra Pound and hand-numbered (this was No.3). The poems in this collection were selected and edited by T.S Eliot in 1928.

5. Sartoris by William Faulkner  - $6,000
First edition of Faulkner’s third book, and the inaugural effort in his Yoknapatawpha cycle. Published in 1929 and includes the rare Arthur Hawkins-designed dustjacket.

6. Tugboat Annie by Norman Reilly Raine - $5,500Sartoris by William Faulkner
First edition of the book, published in 1934 with dustjacket, based on the Oscar-winning film.

7. Philosophia Moysaica. In Qua Sapientia & Scientia Creationis & Creaturarum Sacra Vereque Christiana (ut Pote Cujus Basis Sive Funamentum Est Unicus Ille Lapis Angularis Iesus Christus) by Robert Fludd - $3,900
First edition from 1638.  Flood was a scientist, philosopher, and doctor.  This was the last of his major works and acted as a summation of his philosophies, it was published the year after his death.

8. Tobler / Lommatzsch: Altfranzosisches Worterbuch - $3,800
German edition of a dictionary of the French Language from the 12th to 14th centuries.  Published in 2002 in 11 volumes (plus CDs and DVDs).  This project is considered to be one of the greatest collections of the French language and took the editors over 75 years to complete.

9. The Historic American Merchant Marine Survey (HAMMS): Works Progress Administration, Federal Project No. 6 - Historic American Philosophia MoysaicaMerchant Marine Survey - $3,500
Published in 1983, first edition, in seven volumes.  Contains over 1,000 scale drawings of wooden ships from the 1936-37 HAMMS survey.

10. Wildflowers of Great Britain by George W. Johnson and Robert Hogg - $3,245
Compiled in 11 volumes containing 924 colored plates and was originally published in 1863.  Johnson was a master gardener who penned numerous works on the subject, and founded the Journal of Horticulture, which published this work.


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