Top 50 Sales of 2014 at AbeBooks

AbeBooks’ 50 Most Expensive Sales of 2014 included five books from the sf and fantasy genres — two of them copies of the same edition of Alice in Wonderland illustrated by Salvador Dali.

However, the highest price paid in 2014 was $43,450 for a collection of books containing posters from Les Maîtres de L’Affiche, a French art magazine that reproduced the finest posters at the height of the Art Nouveau movement, with work by Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec, William Nicholson and Maxfield Parrish.

And in second place was the $40,000 pricetag on an 1867 edition of Karl Marx’s Das Kapital.

The top genre works on the list are:

Salvador Dali art for Alice in Wonderland.

Salvador Dali art for Alice in Wonderland.

8. Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll & illustrated by Salvador Dali$20,000 The 1969 Maecenas Press/Random House edition, signed by the artist. The seller described the book ‘as new’ and its leather Solander box as ‘fine’. Only 2,500 copies were produced, containing 12 memorable illustrations from the surrealist.

12. Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone by JK Rowling$15,956 An uncorrected proof in white with a yellow stripe, 224 pages long. It lists Joanne Rowling on the copyright page and J A Rowling on the title page.

13. Dune by Frank Herbert – $15,000 A 1965 signed first edition of this famous science fiction novel complete with its dust jacket. One of 4,000 first edition copies.

27. Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll and illustrated by Salvador Dali – $11,500 The 1969 Random House edition signed by Dali, who provided 12 color plates. This is number 533 of 2,500 copies. Similar copies sold for $20,000 in January 2014 and $7,650 in November 2013.

30. The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien – $11,000 A second edition and 11th overall impression. Signed by Tolkien on the title page. The book and its jacket are in near fine condition.

Also in the top 50 was this space exploration collectable:

33. Apollo 11 Large Color Photo – Signed – $10,031 Color photo of Buzz Aldrin standing next to a seismic experiment on the moon with the Lunar Module Eagle and U.S. flag prominent in the background. It is mounted to a 20″ x 16″ board signed by Neil Armstrong, Michael Collins, and Buzz Aldrin, and inscribed, “To His Royal Highness/ Prince Bernhard/ of the Netherlands/ From The Apollo 11 Crew”.

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

AbeBooks Most Expensive Sales in 2013

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.]

Eye of the Beholder

night-of-light-philip-jose-farmerAbeBooks’ exhibit of Penguin book covers begins with this line of praise: “One of the many reasons Penguin has been so successful over the years involves its history of creating fantastic book covers.”

I had to laugh – most Penguin covers look to me like high school art projects made with ten cents worth of clipart.

Not that I’m condemning the publisher. I always considered that one source of the savings being passed along to me when I purchased these inexpensive editions.

Besides, if I put any Penguin cover next to an old Gollancz edition – well, it does looks pretty good.

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