Most Expensive Sales in August 2013
Another month gone and it’s another rare Ernest Hemingway item on our list of expensive sales. A photograph of Hemingway, signed by the author in 1937, the year in which he left for the Spanish Civil War, sold for $8,250 last month. The bookseller was Buddenbrooks located in Boston, Massachusetts. It's a particularly eye-catching image of the author sitting on a boat, barefooted and relaxed.
Hemingway (1899-1961) never goes out of style for the readers and collectors buying from AbeBooks. Last month our marketplace also sold a first edition of A Farewell to Arms in a second state dust jacket for $1,250. That novel was inspired by his experiences in Italy during World War I.
There is an enduring fascination with Hemingway’s writing, but also his life of travel and adventure. Hardly a month goes by without a notable Hemingway sale on AbeBooks.
Talking of rare literary ephemera, a letter from Carl Sagan sold for four figures last month. Our top 10 from August list also includes an historic bible from 1548, a book signed by Britain’s most iconic prime minister, a copy of The Tempest illustrated by one of the great 20th century artists, and a first edition of David Copperfield.
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August's Most Expensive Sales on AbeBooks
1. The New Testament (2 volumes) by Desiderius Erasmus of Rotterdam - $13,808
Published in 1548, this is the first English translation of Erasmus’ account of the New Testament, “Enpriented at London: in Fletestrete at the signe of the sunne by Edwarde Whitchurche the last daie of Januarie.” In 1547, King Edward VI had ordered that a copy of this book be placed in every church within a year. It contains the bookplate of Jacob Post from Islington. Erasmus (1466-1536) was a priest, scholar and theologian. His Greek and Latin editions of the New Testament are key historical texts.
2. Thoughts and Adventures by Winston S Churchill - $12,500
A signed association copy. Churchill signed the book on the half-title page for Herbert Morrison, who served as Home Secretary in Churchill's war cabinet, and later served as Deputy Prime Minister and Leader of the Commons in the post-World War II era. The book is a first printing of the first Odhams edition, previously issued in 1932. Complete with its dust jacket.
3. Memoirs of Extraordinary Popular Delusions by Charles MacKay - $9,607
A first edition from 1841 in three volumes bound in late 19th century red half morocco with gilt on the spines and top edges. This book tackles delusions of the period, including alchemy and witchcraft. It is actually an important text in economics and sociology, and describes the first known economic bubble, which was for tulips in 1637.
4. William Shakespeare’s The Tempest Illustrated by Marc Chagall - $9,000
Chagall (1887-1985) provided 50 original black and white lithographs (31 of them full page) for this 1975 edition of the play printed in Monte Carlo. This is one of 250 copies signed by the artist.
Sitting on a sailboat gunwale, Hemingway looks healthy and tanned. The photo is inscribed “Norma - glad you finally came to Key West - ever, Ernest” and dated 1937. That was the year Hemingway went to Spain to report on the Spanish Civil War.
6. The Personal History of David Copperfield by Charles Dickens - $5,500
The original edition in 20 monthly parts published between May 1849 and November 1850. Illustrations by H.K. Browne, and published by Bradbury and Evans.
7. Le Mas Théotime by Henri Bosco - $5,187
Published in 1945, Bosco (1888-1976) won the Prix Renaudot for this novel. The title translates as The Farm Théotime. Bosco is known for writing about Provençal life.
Two volumes published in 1888 and 1890. Elephant portfolios in half black leather with red embossed and gilt decorated boards. The book contains more than 300 illustrations of fans collected by Lady Charlotte Schreiber (1812-1895), who was an important Victorian figure in the study of Welsh language and literature.
9. A Signed Letter from Carl Sagan - $4,795
Dated January 24, 1969 and typed on Cornell University letterhead, Sagan writes about how to become an astronomer.
10. A Collection of Legal Commentary by Christian Friedrich Glück - $4,567
Seventy volumes published between 1796 and 1896. Glück (1755-1831) was a German jurist, someone who studies law. He taught at Friedrich-Alexander-University (University of Erlangen-Nuremberg) and much of this collection refers to Roman law.