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WORKS OF ROBERT BURNS ATTRACT HEFTY PRICE-TAGS IN RARE BOOK TRADE AROUND THE WORLD

(Victoria, Canada - January 24, 2005) More than 200 years after his birth, the works of Robert Burns remain as collectible as ever, according to AbeBooks.co.uk, the world’s largest marketplace for new, used, rare and out-of-print books.

With Scots around the globe celebrating his birthday on Burn’s Night, Tuesday 25 January, booksellers from New York to New South Wales are offering highly collectible examples of his literature through the AbeBooks sites – but at a price.

  • A copy of Poems, Chiefly in the Scottish Dialect published in 1787 when Burns was 28 years old is available for £12,500 from Peter Harrington, an antiquarian bookseller based in Chelsea. Printed for the author himself, the book is bound in purple with the initials RB in the centre of the front cover. The back cover features a cluster of thistles inlaid in green and mauve leather.

  • Another rare bookseller, Susan Heller, from Beachwood, Ohio, is offering The Works of Robert Burns, published in 1867, for £10,687. The personal copy of Burns’ publisher, William Patterson, the book has more than 400 inserted engravings.

  • Down under, The Poetic Works of Robert Burns is being offered by Australia’s largest rare bookseller, Messrs Berkelouw, located in Berrima, New South Wales. Priced at £2,720, this copy dates back to 1832 and could be one of the first pirated editions published in Australia.

  • In Haverford, Pennsylvania, James S. Jaffe Rare Books is offering a compilation of the poet’s songs in a Swiss-German translation from 1849 for £1,931. Only 100 copies were ever printed.

“Robert Burns remains popular because he appeals to the common man,” said Cooper Hay, the owner of Cooper Hay Rare Books in Bath Street, Glasgow. “His work shows a real feeling for his fellow man. Collectors look for editions published in his lifetime. They look for the ‘Kilmarnock’ edition, which was the first appearance of his poetry in 1786. Those early books were very successful and his career took off from there.

“He was one of the first true international stars of literature. In 1788, the first American edition was published in Philadelphia and the following year an edition was published in New York. By the early 1800s, his work had gone around the world and been translated in many languages. His international appeal goes beyond expatriate Scots – there’s been global interest since the early days of his publishing career.”

AbeBooks.co.uk currently lists 24 items of Burns’ writings priced at more than £1,000. Most are being offered by booksellers across the US although rare books of this nature also gravitate towards London and Oxford.

“The interest in Burns doesn’t fade,” said Sue Connors, director of bookseller community at AbeBooks, which has been selling used and collectible books since 1996. “There is demand for his work from all corners of the globe. As a literary legend, dealers are keen to obtain his works and collectors are prepared to pay high prices for the right book.”

More than 12,500 independent booksellers in 48 countries list their books on the AbeBooks sites.

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Contacts:
Richard Davies, PR & Publicity Mgr., AbeBooks.com
Ph: 250-412-3238
rdavies@abebooks.com

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