Stealing this post from another site I often frequent- Abebooks released a list of the top ten most expensive books ordered on their site last month. Top of the list was a first edition of Franz Kafka’s Die Verwandlung, or The Metamorphosis, published in 1915, sold for $30,000. Looks like K. actually wins this time, or Gregor…
Here is the rest of the list ‘borrowed’ from: http://www.abebooks.com/books/RareBooks/franz-kafka-americans-frank/most-expensive-apr12.shtml
2. The Americans by Robert Frank – $11,745
First American edition, 1959, signed by Frank to a fellow photographer on the half-title page.
3. Breakfast at Tiffany’s by Truman Capote – $7,500
First edition, price clipped but in near fine condition and signed by Capote.
4. The Works of Shakespeare by William Shakespeare – $6,215
Sir Thomas Hanmer (1677 – 1746), Speaker of the House of Commons, produced this edition of Shakespeare in his retirement in 1744. This edition contains six volumes in total, with 36 full-page engraved plates (one for each play) plus an engraved portrait of Shakespeare as frontispiece.
5. De West-Indische Gids by H.D. Benjamins – $5,265
33 volumes of the West Indian Guide series (lacks volumes 35, 36, 38 and 39) written by Surinamese mathematician and physicist Herman Daniël Benjamins.
6. The History of the Rise, Progress, and Accomplishment of the Abolition of the African Slave-Trade by the British Parliament by Thomas Clarkson – $5,068
First edition, in two volumes, published in 1808 complete with plates, two folding, including the famous illustration of the layout of human cargo on a slave ship.
7. The Worst Journey in the World by Apsley Cherry-Garrard – $4,950
The story of the 1910-1913 Antarctic expedition – a first edition in two volumes, including 73 panoramas, maps and illustrations, including the 10 original folding plates issued only in the first edition, by Dr. Edward A. Wilson and other members of the expedition.
by George Orwell
8. Memoirs of the Life of John Constable, Esq. R.A. composed chiefly of his letters by C.R. Leslie, et al – $4,887
First edition of the first book printed on the English romantic painter, one of 186 copies. The work set a new standard for an artist biography written in English, demonstrating Constable’s neglected genius to a previously uninterested public through his own words.
9. View of the Hebrews by Ethan Smith – $4,200
This first edition, published in 1823, argues that native Americans were descended from the Hebrews. Numerous commentators on Mormon doctrine, from LDS Church general authority B. H. Roberts to biographer Fawn M. Brodie, have discussed the possibility that View of the Hebrews may have provided source material for the Book of Mormon, although it should be noted that Ethan is of no relation to Joseph Smith.
10. Nineteen Eighty-Four by George Orwell – $3,975
A signed first edition, first printing of this dystopian classic, with a maroon dust wrapper, published by Secker and Warburgh in 1949, and twice signed by Sir John Hurt (the actor who starred in the film adaptation with Richard Burton) on the title page as himself, as well as his character ‘Winston Smith’.
For those bibliophiles who frequent Melbourne, Kay Craddock Books specilises in selling rare and antiquated books. Located at the Paris end of Collins Sreet, Assembly Hall Building, 156 Collins St, it’s a great place to dig through for some golden oldies, or simply for forgotten authors. Melbourne is, after all, the second literary city after Norwich.