Wednesday, 8 January 2014

Light in August by William Faulkner

Light in August
by William Faulkner
Some very familiar names appear on December's most expensive sales list. Ernest Hemingway, James Joyce, William Faulkner, J.R.R. Tolkien, and Bram Stoker all make repeat appearances this month, with sales that will inspire some serious book envy, including a signed first edition of Hemingway's A Farewell to Arms, in its original slipcase.
In the number two spot is a copy of Joyce's Ulysses from the Limited Editions Club, illustrated by none other than Henri Matisse and signed by both the author and the artist. Started in 1929, the Limited Editions Club (LEC) specialized in publishing small print runs of beautifully bound, classic titles, illustrated by some of the most renowned artists of the day. In addition to Matisse, LEC editions were illustrated by Pablo Picasso, Arthur Rackham, Norman Rockwell, and many others.
Also on the list this month is a 219 volume set of Patrologiae Cursus Completus. This enormous collection of writings by the Church Fathers consists of many reprints of very old editions that span over 1000 years of Christian writing and scholarship. Originally published in the mid-19th century by Jacques-Paul Migne, this set was a re-issue from the 1950's and was missing only four volumes of the full 223 volume set.
Rounding out December's list is a beautiful signed first edition of Dracula by Bram Stoker. Many editions of this famous Gothic horror novel are highly collectible but this edition, with its immediately recognizable yellow boards and blood-red text, is legendary in rare book circles.

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December's Most Expensive Sales on AbeBooks

Ulysses by James Joyce

1. A Farewell to Arms by Ernest Hemingway - $22,500
A signed, limited edition from 1929. One of only 510 copies printed, this copy included the publisher's original slipcase.
2. Ulysses by James Joyce - $21,000
A 1935 Limited Editions Club edition illustrated by Henri Matisse. One of only 250 copies signed by both the author and artist.
3. Patrologiae. Cursus completus. 219 volumes (of 223) - $17,933
The Patrologiae is an enormous collection of writings by the Church Fathers. Originally published by Jacques-Paul Migne in the mid-19th century, the collection consists of many reprints of old editions that span over 1000 years of Christian writing and scholarship. This set of reprints from the 20th century was missing only four of 223 volumes.
4. A Vindication of the Rights of Woman: with Strictures on Political and Moral Subjects by Mary Wollstonecraft - $17,500
A first edition of Wollstonecraft's 1792 feminist manifesto.
5. Historical and Statistical Information respecting the History, Conditions and Prospects of the Indian Tribes of the United States by Henry Rowe Schoolcraft -$16,500
Schoolcraft's six-volume reference work, commissioned by the U.S. Congress and illustrated by Seth Eastman, is considered the most comprehensive work on Native Americans published in the 19th-century.
Dracula by Bram Stoker

6. Light in August by William Faulkner - $12,500
A 1932 signed first edition in its memorable blue, orange and white dust jacket.
7. Dracula by Bram Stoker - $12,120
Signed, first edition of Stoker's classic gothic horror novel, bound in yellow cloth with distinctive red text legendary in the rare book world.
8. Lamia, Isabella, the Eve of St. Agnes, and Other Poems by John Keats - $11,665
First edition of Keats' third and final volume of poetry, including some of his most well-known works - Ode to a NightingaleOde on a Grecian Urn, and many more.
9. Recueil des meilleurs desseins de Raimond LaFage - $8,667
A 1684 collection of engravings from the drawings of 17th century Baroque artist Raimond LaFage.
10. The Lord of the Rings (3 volume set) by J.R.R. Tolkien - $8,000
Set of first U.S. editions of all three books in the series: The Fellowship of the RingThe Two Towers, and The Return of the King.

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