AbeBooks’ 25 Most Expensive Sales in 2013 include four Bibles, Shakespeare’s works in French, poetry from Emily Dickinson, handwritten spell-books and classics from Charles Dickens, J.K. Rowling, William Golding, and Frank Herbert.
Of interest to fans —
6. Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone by J.K. Rowling – $20,000
First edition from June 1997 – one of the 500 copies printed.
7. Lord of the Flies by William Golding – $19,877
A 1954 first edition with its dust jacket. Written under the text of the half-title “for Angharad Ryder from William Golding with best wishes.” Loosely inserted is a hand-written envelope from Golding with a hand-written postcard inside, “Dear Miss Ryder, Yes Lord of the Flies is the alleged translation of Beelzebub. I will sign your Nobel Speech if you send it. Yours sincerely William Golding.” Also included are two hand-written letters from Golding to Ryder.
13. The Velveteen Rabbit by Margery Williams – $15,950
Published in 1922, first US edition of one of the first modern picture books for children.
16. Dune by Frank Herbert – $15,000
Signed first edition published in 1965 by Chilton. This copy was complete with the first issue dust jacket and the $5.95 price on the front flap.
19. Original Personal Handwritten Manuscript Grimoire by Persephone Adrastea Eirene – $13,865
Two spiral-bound books of spells handwritten in the 1960s by a high priestess of Wicca called Persephone Adrastea Eirene, an American witch of Swedish and English ancestry who led her own coven.
About the last item AbeBooks adds —
The spell-books, or grimoires to give them the correct Wiccan name, are particularly interesting as they are cursed. We have not heard from the buyer since the purchase – and that could be good or bad. The opening page of the first one is inscribed with the warning:
“To those not of the craft – the reading of this book is forbidden! Proceed no further or justice will exact a swift and terrible retribution – and you will surely suffer at the hand of the craft.”
The first comment on the post makes an interesting case against the authenticity of the grimoire on theological grounds…
[Thanks to John King Tarpinian for the story.]
That #16 is especially scary, since in some sense I could have had one of those — I have a first edition of Dune in very good condition, and I’ve been in Frank Herbert’s presence several times when getting autographs would have been appropriate.
(Luckily, mine is an *18th printing* of the first edition, which I doubt would command any such price even if signed; so I get to keep it.)
When I read that it crossed my mind that the first time I read Dune in the 1960s the book was a library hardback and probably the first edition — though, as with yours, unlikely to have been the first printing of it.