Illustrated by Salvador Dali
What would Lewis Carroll have thought of Salvador Dali’s interpretation of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland? Carroll died in 1898 and published Alice in 1865. Dali was born in 1904 and lived until 1989. Perhaps there would have been some initial shock on Carroll’s part before he warmed to Dali’s vibrant use of color to describe Carroll’s fantasy world found down the rabbit hole. Surrealism and fantasy are easy bedfellows. Dali’s edition of Alice in Wonderland was published in 1969, when he had already enjoyed four decades of global fame.
Dali makes regular appearances on our monthly list but last month’s $20,000 sale of an Alice in Wonderland was AbeBooks’ most expensive sale of a Dali item ever. Last November another copy of Dali’ Alice sold for $7,650. In January 2010, a first edition of the 1973 Dali Cookbook sold for $5,000.
Also on this month's list is a 1990 facsimile copy of The Book of Kells, an illuminated manuscript of New Testament Gospels created by Celtic monks around 800. The original manuscript, considered an Irish national treasure, is currently kept on display at Dublin’s Trinity College. Published by Faksimile-Verlag Luzern, this two-volume set is housed in a box and includes German commentary and a foreword by Umberto Eco.
The Salman Rushdie collection that sold for $16,162 is also worthy of note. Last July, a fine uncorrected UK proof of Midnight’s Children sold for $14,000. Rushdie has a lofty collectible status for a writer still producing work on a regular basis.
2. Collection of Salman Rushdie first editions - $16,162
This collection contains a UK proof of the first edition of Midnight’s Children, an inscribed first edition of Midnight’s Children, an inscribed uncorrected proof copy of Shame, a promotional blad (mockup) of The Satanic Verses, and one of the two known copies of the wrappers to the Penguin edition of The Satanic Verses, and also a proof wrapper for The Satanic Verses.
3. The Book of Kells (Facsimile edition) - $13,673
A faithful facsimile of the manuscript in Dublin’s Trinity College. The facsimile is housed in a box and includes original Latin text and commentary, in German, on this historic illuminated Gospel book written by Celtic monks around 800. The foreword is by Umberto Eco. No. 467 of 1480 copies. Published in 1990 by Faksimile Verlag Luzern.
4. Institutiones Calculi Differentialis cum eius usu in Analysi Finitorum ac Doctrina Serierum by Leonhard Euler - $13,055
Published in 1755, this is the first substantial textbook on the differential calculus. Euler (1707-1783) was one of the pioneers of modern mathematics, and defined many mathematical terms in use today. Euler began writing this work in St. Petersburg and completed it in Berlin in 1750.
5. An Illuminated Quran manuscript - $13,002
Published around 1823. This book (pictured left) has black ink on Ottoman polished paper, borders in blue and gold and margins decorated with flowers, and is complete with its original morocco slipcase. It’s a typical Quran published for private use by the middle classes during this period, with beautiful calligraphy and illumination.
6. Auguste Rodin by Rainer Maria Rilke - $12,500
Published in 1903, this first edition sees the poet Rilke describe the skills and work of Rodin. Rilke dedicated this copy to Basque painter Ignacio Zuloaga with the following inscription: "Credo: A Ignacio Zuloaga. A son oeuvre. Rainer Maria Rilke. Viareggio prés Pise (Italie) en avril, 1903." Zuloaga’s bookplate is present.
7. The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien - $11,000
A second edition and 11th overall impression. Signed by Tolkien on the title page. The book and its jacket are in near fine condition.
8. Lyrical Ballads, With Other Poems by William Wordsworth - $9,893
In two volumes. Published in 1800, this first edition is believed to be one of only around 500 copies. This book heralded the entry of the Romantic Movement into English poetry. Wordsworth wrote in the preface, "All good poetry is the spontaneous overflow of powerful feelings emotion recollected in tranquility."
9. Paradise Lost by John Milton- $8,350
Printed in 1688 by Miles Flesher for Richard Bently, at the Post-Office in Russell Street. The fourth edition. The first folio edition and first illustrated edition. One of the first printing productions to be financed through subscription. The bookplate of writer Louis Auchincloss is found within. The stunning illustrations (pictured right) are by John Baptist Medina (1659-1710), a key figure in Spanish art.
10. The Indo-Greek Coins by Mehta Vasishtha Dev Mohan - $8,000
Published in 1967, this is a signed first edition. The book was the first attempt to study Indian coinage and their Greek origins.