Considered by many to be one of the finest pieces of literature from the past 50 years, Salman Rushdie’s Midnight’s Children won the Booker Prize in 1981. It also won the Best of the Bookers in 1993 and 2008 to celebrate anniversaries of the award. First edition copies of this landmark novel often sell for up to $4,000 when signed by Rushdie, but even that figure pales in comparison to last month’s chart-topping sale of the extraordinarily rare, uncorrected proof of the first UK edition.
Selling for a shade over $14,000, the fragile copy came in the original proof wrapper, and differs from the first trade edition in that it was bound in a different format (6.125 by 8.375 inches or 15.6 by 21.2 centimetres), meaning it also runs to 442 pages instead of 446. One can only imagine what it would fetch if Rushdie had signed it.
Of course, the major literary news of July was JK Rowling’s unmasking as Robert Galbraith. A signed UK edition of Galbraith’s The Cuckoo’s Calling sold for $4,587 on AbeBooks but failed to crack our top 10. Rowling’s venture into crime writing surprised readers and collectors alike, and signed copies are scarce.
Other items of note include a 97-volume run of an academic philosophy journal called Archiv für Rechts- und Sozialphilosophie which sold for nearly $9,000 as well as the 1617 edition of Robert Hues' Tractatus de globis. This is believed to have been the 6th printing of this landmark treatise on the celestial, terrestrial globe; it was both a scholarly work and an attempt to instruct English sailors on the practicality of astronomical navigation.
2.Poèmes Barbares by Leconte de Lisle - $9,756
Published in 1929 by Lausanne, Gonin & Cie, this limited edition of Lisle’s Poèmes Barbares contains 31 original compositions by French painter Paul Jouve – famed for his artwork of African animals.
3. Archiv für Rechts- und Sozialphilosophie - $8,981
Volumes 1-97 (1907-2011) of the “Archives for Philosophy of Law and Social Philosophy” which is a peer-reviewed academic journal of philosophy.
4. One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel García Márquez - $8,000
Published by Harper & Row in New York in 1970, a true signed first edition and first printing complete with its dust jacket. The book is in fine condition and the jacket has minor wear.
5. Live and Let Die by Ian Fleming- $7,500
First edition first printing (Jonathan Cape, 1954) of Fleming’s second Bond novel which had an initial print run of only 7,500 copies. This copy was presented in a sophisticated (restored) second state dust jacket.
6. Tiers Monde edited by Maxine Haubert- $7,025
Published between 1960 and 1998, this set contains 39 volumes (1-39) of the leading French review in the field of research related to Third World problems. Published by Presses Universitaires de France.
8. Poemes by Charles d'Orléans - $5,274
Published in 1950, this limited edition (1,230 copies) features 100 original lithographed pages by Henri Matisse, with 54 being full page lithographs. Signed by Matisse.
10. Ballet by Alexey Brodovitch - $4,750
Published in 1945, this first edition of Ballet - one of the most influential photo-books of the 20th century - contains 104 plates. Between 1935 and 1937, Brodovitch photographed several of the leading Russian ballet companies while they performed in New York.