• 1/10 The Simple Art of Murder by Raymond Chandler (Sold for $3,000)
    A 1950 first edition of Raymond Chandler's pulp stories. The eye-catching dust jacket is the work of surrealist illustrator Boris Artzybasheff, best known for his work in books and advertising. During WWII, Artzybasheff served as an expert advisor to the U.S. Department of State's Psychological Warfare Branch.

    The Art of Simple of Murder by Raymond Chandler
  • 2/10 London, a Pilgrimage by Gustave Doré & Blanchard Jerrold (Sold for $1,250)
    Haunting illustrations by world-famous Gustave Doré accompany words by Blanchard Jerrold in this gritty depiction of all levels of London society. This first edition was published in 1872.

    London, a Pilgrimage by Gustave Doré & Blanchard Jerrold
  • 3/10 Lady in Pink Lingerie by John J. Payne (Sold for $1,200)
    A portrait of a woman in pink lingerie painted with oil on board by John J. Payne (1928-2000) in San Fransisco in the 1960s.

    Lady in Pink Lingerie by John J. Payne
  • 4/10 Alice's Adventures Underground by Lewis Carroll (Sold for $1,250)
    A rare collotype facsimile edition commissioned by Eldridge Johnson who owned the original manuscript illustrated by Carroll. Johnson had 50 copies printed in 1936 specifically for presentation to friends.

    Alice's Adventures Underground by Lewis Carroll
  • 5/10 Arabian Nights and Days by Naguib Mahfouz (Sold for $3,500)
    A beautiful limited edition of Arabian Nights and Days signed by author Naguib Mahfouz, the first Arabic writer to receive the Nobel Prize. With only 300 copies printed, the book includes seven large Serigraph prints by Nazli Madkour and is bound in full silk.

    Arabian Nights and Days by Naguib Mahfouz
  • 6/10 Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand (Sold for $2,475)
    A special 10th anniversary edition of Rand's final novel and self-proclaimed magnum opus. Printed in 1967 and signed by the author.

    Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand
  • 7/10 De Viribus Electricitatis In Motu Musculari Commentarius by Luigi Galvani (Sold for $15,987)
    Galvani's theory of animal electricity demonstrated the main phenomenon of galvanism - the production of electric current from the contact of two different metals in a moist environment. Galvani, however, saw his experiments as confirmation of the 18th century theory that animals contain in their muscles and nerves a fluid similar to electricity.

    De Viribus Electricitatis In Motu Musculari Commentarius
  • 8/10 The Charioteer by Mary Renault (Sold for $1,273)
    This beautiful vintage book is a first edition printed in 1953. This was the first of Renault's works to feature homosexuality as a major theme and became an important text for gay advocacy.

    The Charioteer by Mary Renault
  • 9/10 A Bear Called Paddington by Michael Bond (Sold for $3,086)
    A 1958 first edition of this classic children's tale signed and inscribed by the author, 'Please look after this bear. He likes marmalade sandwiches. Michael Bond'.

    A Bear Called Paddington by Michael Bond
  • 10/10 Narrative of a Voyage to the Polar Sea 1875-1876 (Sold for $1,250)
    Captain Sir George Strong Nares' account of the British Arctic Expedition which he commanded, including rare woodbury prints, maps, and plates. The expedition was the first to sail ships through the channel between Greenland and Ellesmere Island and as far north as the Lincoln Sea.

    Narrative of a Voyage to the Polar Sea 1875-1876

Our monthly list of the 10 most expensive sales of the previous month only scratches the surface of the many fascinating sales that happen on AbeBooks everyday. Beyond the five-figure price-tags is an endless list of alluring dust jackets, rare antiquarian art, noteworthy signatures, and beloved vintage books. This month we've hand-picked 10 of the most fascinating sales from August, starting with some vintage pulp and a surreal dust jacket, and ending with a voyage to the North Pole. Flip through the gallery above for a look at all 10, and keep reading below for a list of the most expensive sales in August - you'll find everything from an ancient study in optics to signed modern classics.


August's 10 Most Expensive Sales

1. La Dioptrique oculaire ou la théorique, la positive et la méchanique, de l'oculaire dioptrique en toutes ses espèces - $21,112
The most exhaustive treatise on lens making in the 17th century.

2. Revue Africaine Société Historique Algérienne - $20,718
199 bound volumes dating back to 1900.

3. A Farewell to Arms by Ernest Hemingway - $18,000
A first edition inscribed by the author to his friend Earl Snook, who he met while recovering in hostpital from an automobile accident in Billings, Montana. It reads, 'To Earl Snook- much, much affection from an old friend, Ernest Hemingway'.

4. De Viribus Electricitatis In Motu Musculari Commentarius by Luigi Galvani - $15,987
An 18th century study of animal electricity.

5. The Walls And Gates Of Peking Researches And Impressions by Osvald Siren - $10,000
Published in 1924, the work combines the beautiful photogravures after photographs taken by Siren with illustrations of measured drawings of a number of the gates made by Chinese artists under Siren’s supervision, and historical and descriptive text.

6. Metallotheca by Michele Mercati - $9,164
A posthumous publication of Michele Mercati's (1541-1593) studies in natural history, mineralogy, palaeontology, medicine, and botany. The book was published in 1717.

7. Hell's Angels by Hunter S. Thompson- $8,500
A first edition of Hunter S. Thompson's debut book, signed by the author.

8. Reynard the Fox - $8,100
The fable as translated by famous printer William Caxton. Published in 1892, this was the first Kelmscott Press book to have trimmed edges.

9. Mosel - Reise von Trier bis Koblenz mit geschichtlichen Bemerkungen by Karl Baedeker - $6,714
A German travel guide published in 1839. The Baedeker publishing house set the standard for authoritative guidebooks for tourists.

10. Cat's Cradle by Kurt Vonnegut - $6,500
First edition, signed by Vonnegut with a self caricature on the half title page.


Tell us about the last fascinating book you stumbled upon.