The number one most expensive sale in September was one of only 3000 beautifully bound sets of Winston Churchill’s complete works, in 38 volumes. The sets were produced between 1973-76, to commemorate the centenary of his birth.
An 1894 edition of Austen’s most famous novel, illustrated by Hugh Thomson, in a later green leather binding with peacock decoration by well-known book binders Sangorski and Sutcliffe.
A 1908 first edition of Grahame’s timeless children’s classic, in a green morocco leather binding by Bayntun-Riviere and featuring a frontispiece illustration by Graham Robertson.
A 1668 first edition of one of the best known works by John Wilkins, English clergyman, philosopher, and one of the founders of the Royal Society for Improving Natural Knowledge.
A 1909 edition of Aesop’s fables that includes 25 full color plates by noted Victorian illustrator Edward J. Detmold. Newly bound in full morocco leather by Bayntun-Riviere.
Capote’s classic 1958 novella, finely bound by the Chelsea bindery in pink morocco leather, with black leather onlay silhouette of Audrey Hepburn as Holly Golightly, including real diamond jewelry. Complete with custom drawstring bag in black velvet.
Early edition of German monk and historian Werner Rolewinck’s history of the world from Creation through Pope Sixtus IV. Bound in 19th century calf.
Pivotal 1757 physiology text in 8 volumes, by Swiss anatomist, physiologist, naturalist, and poet Albrecht von Haller, often referred to as ‘the father of modern physiology’.
Frazer’s exhaustive, modernist approach to the comparative study of magic, mythology, and religion had a significant impact on contemporary literature. Originally published in two volumes in 1890, this is the third edition, in 13 volumes.
First US edition of Raymond Chandler's sixth Philip Marlowe novel, published in 1954. Considered Chandler's most personal novel, The Long Goodbye was written while his wife was dying of a terminal illness.
The breadth and depth of the rare and collectible inventory offered by AbeBooks booksellers is never more evident than in our monthly list of some of the most fascinating - and expensive - sales. We've hand-picked a gallery of 10 of the most interesting books sold in September, starting with the first collected works of Winston Churchill and ending with a Raymond Chandler first edition, the second Chandler novel to appear on the list in as many months. Flip through the gallery above and read the list below for a glimpse into the most expensive sales in September - you'll find everything from 17th century philosophy from Descartes to a 1963 French edition of Dante's Divine Comedy, illustrated by Salvador Dali.
1. A New, Authentic, and Complete Collection of Voyages round the World, Undertaken and Performed by Royal Authority by Captain James Cook, compiled by George William Anderson - $7,800
Bound in 2 volumes, these accounts of Captain Cook’s three voyages originally appeared in 80 weekly parts, from 1784-86, priced at six pence each. Complete with 127 illustrations and 26 maps.
2. Le Monde ou le Traité de la lumière et des autres principaux objets des Sens by René Descartes - $6,994
Descartes’s first attempt to explain the formation of the physical world, published in 1664. Originally written in the 1630s, the work was suppressed after receiving a commendation from Galileo.
3. Minotaure 1933-1939 - $6,632
Full set, 13 issues, of this 1930s Surrealist-inspired art magazine. Founded in Paris in 1933, the journal featured original work from artists such as Pablo Picasso and Salvador Dali. It also contained the first published essays by influential French philosopher Jacque Lacan.
4. Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban by J.K. Rowling - $6,479
Signed first edition of the third novel in Rowling’s hugely successful Harry Potter series.
5. A Voyage Round the World ; but more particularly to the North-West Coast of America: performed in 1785, 1786, 1787, and 1788, in the King George and Queen Charlotte by Captain Nathaniel Portlock - $5,703
The 1789 account of Captains Portlock and Dixon’s voyage to the Falkland Islands, Hawaii, and the North American west coast. In contemporary full-calf binding, with 20 plates and maps.
6. Hexapla in Danielem by Andrew Willett - $5,424
Andrew Willet, English clergyman and prolific anti-papal writer, published this highly praised commentary on the prophesies of Daniel in 1610.
7. Poems by Wilfred Owen - $5,273
First edition, first printing of World War I poet Wilfred Owen’s first publication in book form, published posthumously in 1920, with an introduction by friend and mentor Siegfried Sassoon.
8. La Divine Comedie L'enfer Le Purgatoire Le Paradis by Dante Alighieri - $5,176
Deluxe llustrated edition of Julien August Brizeux’s French translation of Dante’s Divine Comedy, published in six volumes in 1963 by Éditions d’Art Les Heures Claires of Paris. Includes 100 full color, woodcut illustrations of original works by Salvador Dali. The paintings were originally commissioned by the Italian government in 1957 but the commission was later cancelled when the Italian public expressed its displeasure at the work being entrusted to a Spaniard.
9. Omnia Divini Platonis Opera by Plato - $5,140
A 1532 Froben folio edition of the works of Plato, as first translated into Latin by Marsilio Ficino in the fifteenth century.
10. Haggadah for Passover, designed, copied, and illustrated by Ben Shahn - $4,500
Lithuanian-born American artist Ben Shahn’s beautifully illustrated version of the Passover Haggadah, in Hebrew calligraphy with translation and historical notes by Cecil Roth. This was one of only 292 copies signed by the artist.