Expensive Autographed Books

Almost one-third of the most expensive signed books ever sold by AbeBooks have been works of fantasy and science fiction.

But not the one with the highest pricetag, and the most surprising volume on the list — Herman Melville’s Moby-Dick. Why surprising? Because it’s not signed by the author. The copy wasn’t even published in his lifetime. The 1979 Arion Press edition’s worth — $28,900 — is attributable to its fine production values, rarity (only 250 copies sold), and the autograph of Barry Moser, creator of its 200 engravings and 10 drawings.

The top-ranked genre book sales are:

#2 – Where the Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak. $25,000. Signed first edition (1963).

#6 – Set of 6 Harry Potter novels all signed by J. K. Rowling. $16,219.

#7 – The Hellbound Heart by Clive Barker. $15,000. The original manuscript for Barker’s novella that inspired the Hellraiser films. Signed by Barker.

#10 – The Day of the Triffids by John Wyndham. $14,500. First impression of the first British edition published in 1951.

#12 – The Dark Tower Series by Stephen King. $14,000. First edition copies of all seven volumes of the series, signed and numbered.

#14 – Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban by J.K. Rowling. $12,874. First edition signed by Rowling and cover artist Cliff Wright.

#15 – Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? By Philip K. Dick. $12,500. First edition signed by Dick. (1968)

#19 – Set of Harry Potter novels by J.K. Rowling. $11,791. Complete set of deluxe edition Harry Potter novels, signed by Rowling.

#26 – The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint Exupery. $14,450. Numbered copy signed by the author.

#28 – The Moon Is a Harsh Mistress by Robert Heinlein. $9,730. Signed by both Robert and Virginia Heinlein.

[Thanks to Michael J. Walsh for the story.]

One thought on “Expensive Autographed Books

  1. I’ve sold off many of my first editions, mostly because of where I live and the visitations I get. Recently I had looked at my copy of David Lindsay’s rare book A BLADE FOR SALE, only to discover that there were rodent gnawings on the top of one of the boards. F’ing mice.

    I had a pretty good selection of first editions of Philip K. Dick and Clark Ashton Smith: I used that to fund the mortgage for a couple of years.

    A book isn’t worth anything if no one wants to buy it.

    I’ve been of two minds about certain limited editions, especially if the edition is one of those that states that there will be no further editions of that book. Do I read it and lower the value?

    Mostly I wound up with a lot of first editions because I bought them as they came out. It wasn’t an effort.

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