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Shopping habits of the rich and famous: the amazing books that could be unwrapped on Christmas Day


A copy of Poetical Works of Henry Wadsworth Longfellow featuring a fore-edge painting of a baseball game by Martin Frost

One of the joys of this time of year is seeing the orders come in for fascinating books. Here’s a brief list of just some of the amazing books and ephemera being purchased on AbeBooks at the moment. We looked at orders since November 15 in order to identify what the world’s rich and famous bibliophiles are buying for Christmas.

Field Guide to the Birds of the West Indies by James Bond

Somebody could be unwrapping a copy of Thunderball containing a signed photo of Sean Connery, a bird book written by the real James Bond, a copy of Moveable Feast signed by Ernest Hemingway’s sister, a cookbook signed by Vincent Price, a letter from T.S. Eliot about cricket, a signed limited edition of Go Set A Watchman, a book of Henry Wadsworth Longfellow’s poetry (above) featuring a fore-edge painting of a baseball game, or even a book signed by six pioneering astronauts.

Notable AbeBooks’ Sales since November 15

A 1961 first edition of Ian Fleming’s Thunderball containing a photograph of Sean Connery signed by the actor – $570, purchased by a customer in the United Kingdom.

Field Guide to Birds of the West Indies by James Bond, yes, that’s the real James Bond, the ornithologist who Ian Fleming named his character after – $800, purchased by a customer in the USA.

A 1996 signed first edition of A Game of Thrones by George R.R. Martin – $1,000, purchased by a customer in the United Kingdom.

A 1962 copy of We Seven signed by six of the seven Project Mercury astronauts – Gus Grissom, John Glenn, Alan Shepard, Deke Slayton, Scott Carpenter and Wally Schirra. Project Mercury was the United States’ first human spaceflight program – $3,250, purchased by a customer in the USA.

A first edition of The Velveteen Rabbit by Margery Williams from 1922 – $4,940, purchased by a customer in the USA.

A signed first edition, one of only 300 printed, of The Loney by Andrew Michael Hurley, which was recently shortlisted for the 2015 Costa first novel award – $913, purchased by a customer in the USA.

A 40th anniversary edition of To Kill a Mockingbird signed by Harper Lee – $800, purchased by a customer in the USA.

A page from The Billibonga Bird illustrated by Australia’s Harold Gaze

The Billibonga Bird, an Australian illustrated children’s book from 1919, by Harold Gaze. Only two other copies are available on AbeBooks – $855, purchased by a customer in Australia

A 1964 first edition of Ernest Hemingway’s Moveable Feast inscribed with a message from the author’s sister, Ursula: “For Gayle Hemingway Jepson Schnack, from her mother Ursula Hemingway Jepson, written by her uncle, Ernest Miller Hemingway / August 14th, 1964.” – $500, purchased by a customer in the United Kingdom.

A signed 1979 first edition of A Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams – $2,480 purchased by a customer in the USA.

A signed 1958 first edition of Ray Bradbury’s Martian Chronicles – $528, purchased by a customer in France.

A 1927 first edition of Der Steppenwolf by Herman Hesse – $975, purchased by a customer in the USA.

A 1930 Lakeside Press edition of Moby Dick illustrated by Rockwell Kent – $10,000, purchased by a customer in the USA.

TS Eliot’s letter about cricket

A letter typed on Faber and Faber headed paper and signed by poet T.S. Eliot where he explains that although he likes the game of cricket he has not coached the sport because he’s American and never played it in his youth – $990, purchased by a customer in the USA.

A copy of Harry Potter and The Prisoner of Azkaban signed by J.K. Rowling – $601, purchased by customer in the USA.

A 1965 first edition of The Treasury of Great Recipes signed by authors Mary and Vincent Price – $650, purchased by a customer in the USA.

A 1910 copy of Poetical Works of Henry Wadsworth Longfellow featuring a fore-edge painting of a baseball scene by Martin Frost – $1,250 purchased by a customer in the USA.

A 1963 Faber and Faber first edition of A Mind to Murder (pictured below) by P.D. James, her second book – $9,000, purchased by a customer in the USA.

A large folding map of the Siberian Railway from 1910 – $570, purchased by a customer in the United Kingdom.

A History of the City of Strasbourg (printed in German in 1775) – $957, purchased by a customer in Germany.

Among the Bells: The Ringing Career of Rev. F.E. Robinson (who was one of the great campanologists of the Victorian era). It was the only copy available on our site – $532, purchased by a customer in the United Kingdom.

And finally a signed leather-bound limited edition of Go Set A Watchman by Harper Lee, one of only 100 copies – $4986, purchased by a customer in the USA.

The first edition of A Mind to Murder by P.D. James

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