Ever wondered how much a book can sell for? Well this Christmas, AbeBooks, one of the world’s leading book sales sites has compiled a list of its most expensive single books sales for 2022? The list includes a book about Italian architecture and a landmark book about the stock market. There is also poetry and a famous novel about time travel.
1) Quattro Libri dell Architettura by Andrea Palladio - £47,600
A first edition from 1570 of this influential book about architecture. Andrea di Pietro was nicknamed Palladio and worked in the Venice region of Italy where his buildings are famous for their classical style. This volume is divided into four sections - basic architectural tasks such as walls and rooms, private houses, public buildings such as bridges and squares and, town planning and temples. Palladio’s style became known as Palladianism, and it was copied across Europe until the 18th century.
2) Cook’s Voyages by John Hawksworth - £38,250
A rare first edition set of the official accounts of Captain James Cook's three voyages published in nine volumes in 1773, 1777 and 1784 respectively. These books were 18th century bestsellers with readers eager to learn about the other side of the world. These books gave Europeans a greater awareness of world geography, while his maps and charting of coastlines laid the foundation for modern maritime routes.
3) How To Trade in Stocks and Shares by Jesse Livermore - £32,975
A 1940 first edition, signed by the author, published by Duell, Sloan & Pearce. Livermore was one of the great stock traders, worth millions at his peak in the 1920s. He traded with his own money. How to Trade in Stocks revealed his formula for monitoring trends, which is still used today. Edwin Lefèvre wrote a book about Livermore in 1923, called Reminiscences of a Stock Operator, which provides further insight into this remarkable man.
4) Cantiques des Cantiques de Salomon - £31,000
The Song of Songs, also known as the Canticle of Canticles or the Song of Solomon, is an erotic poem. This is a 1931 edition in French produced by the Cranach Press with beautiful wood engravings by Eric Gill, the British artist known for his typefaces and printmaking. Only eight copies were produced in French and they are printed on vellum. The Cranach Press was dedicated to printing fine editions of famous literature. The Song of Songs appears in the Hebrew Bible (the Tanakh) and is read on the Sabbath during Passover.
5) The Time Machine by H.G. Wells - £25,840
Published by Henry Holt, this is the 1895 first edition of The Time Machine with the author's name misspelled as H.S. Wells on the title page. This copy is signed by Wells just below the names of the previous owners. The Time Machine was the author's first novel and has become a cornerstone of science fiction with its time traveling theme.
6) The Tour of the World in 80 Days by Jules Verne -£25,000
Better known as Around the World in 80 Days, this is the first American printing of Verne's story. The book was rebound in 1952 in green calf leather. It was owned by Mrs. Nellie W. Pillsbury. One of Nellie's daughters, Nellie Ruth King, was the mother of the author Stephen King. The book was accompanied by a handwritten note from Verne, signed and dated October1883, where he describes two upcoming titles. In addition, a handwritten note from American author Nellie Bly is tipped into the book. Inspired by Verne, Bly made her own trip around the globe and wrote a book called Around the World in Seventy-Two Days.
7) Hydrodynamica, sive De Viribus et Motibus Fluidorum Commentarii by Daniel Bernoulli - £22,165
Published in 1738, this is a landmark book in the field of theoretical and applied mechanics through its mathematical study of fluid flow. Translated from Latin, the title is ‘Hydrodynamics, or commentaries on the forces and motions of fluids.’ Bernoulli describes an equation that governs the flow of fluids in terms of speed, pressure, and potential energy, upon which much modern technology is based, especially aerodynamics.
8) Les Vitraux by Salvador Dali - £22,165
This is a portfolio of 24 loose colour lithographs, each signed and numbered in pencil by Salvador Dalí. Published in 1973 in Italy, this is a limited numbered edition of 250 copies. These lithographs area typical example of Dali’s work in surrealism, including an appearance of a melting clock made famous by his Persistence of Memory painting from 1931. Les Vitraux translates as stained glass.
9) Hinterlassene Werke Des Generals Von Clausewitz - £21,230
This translates as ‘The surviving works of General Carl Von Clausewitz’, who was a Prussian general and military theorist. His most famous book is Vom Kriege (About War).
10) The Book of Thoth: A short Essay on the Tarot of the Egyptians by Aleister Crowley – £21,035
A study of Egyptian tarot by the world’s most infamous occultist. Published in 1944, this is a signed copy. Thoth was the Egyptian god of writing and knowledge, and his name is associated with numerous ancient Egyptian texts.
Feature by kind permission of Abe Books