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A Wild Price for Sendak’s Classic: May’s Most Expensive Sales

May was an outstanding month for rare and expensive book sales on AbeBooks. As we all know, beloved children’s author Maurice Sendak passed away at age 83 on June 8th, so it was no surprise when sales for his more collectible books – first editions, signed copies, and the like – began rolling in. The top of the crop for May’s Sendak sales was a $25,000 first edition of his iconic classic Where the Wild Things Are, signed by Sendak himself.

The other notable Sendak sales in May included a signed copy of Where the Wild Things Are from 1964 (complete with a Wild Thing sketch) that sold for $4,195 and also five more copies of the book that each sold for more than $500.

What was surprising was that the $25,000 book did not end up being our most expensive sale for May. A few days before month end, we sold an exceptionally rare and exquisite celestial atlas from 1603 for over $47,000. It was a first edition of Uranometria, Omnium Asterismorum Continens Schemata, Nova Methodo Delineata, Sereis Laminis Expressa (which translates to: “Uranometria, containing charts of all the constellations, drawn by a new method and engraved on copper plates”) by Johann Bayer (you know, that one). The book contains 48 stunning and luxuriously illustrated star charts and constellations, and was the first atlas to cover the celestial sphere in its entirety.

The month was so strong that we skipped our usual top 10 in favor of a top 15 most expensive sales of the month.

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