News | May 5, 2024

AbeBooks' Most Expensive Sales January to March 2024

AbeBooks/Phillip J. Pirages Rare Books

Battles and Leaders of the Civil War

A rundown of the top ten highest selling sales on AbeBooks during the first quarter of this year.

1. Battles and Leaders of the Civil War - $18,200

A four-volume set, published in 1887, containing firsthand accounts from more than 266 authors, including Union and Confederate generals. Also includes engraved illustrations, orders of battle, telegrams, autographed letters, and satirical images clipped from contemporary publications. Sold by Phillip J. Pirages Rare Books.

2. The Papers of James Madison purchased by order of Congress - $18,000

Rare presentation copy, signed and dated by Dolley Madison, March 21, 1842. Known as the ‘Father of the Constitution' for his role in drafting the Constitution and the Bill of Rights, The Papers of James Madison are a principal source for the legislative process behind these documents. They include personal notes, drafts of letters with the likes of Thomas Jefferson and George Washington as well as Madison’s journal of the 1787 Constitutional Convention. Sold by 19th Century Rare Book & Photography Shop.

3. Complete collection of United States laws for the period from 1789 through March 1849 - $15,000

A complete collection of U.S. laws from 1789 to 1849 in 31 volumes, including treaties with American Indian tribes, reports on the Louisiana Purchase, and accounts of the Lewis and Clark expedition. Sold by William Reese Company

4. The Rubaiyat by Omar Khayyam, illustrated by John Buckland Wright - $14,375

This copy is made unique by eight illustrations supplied by John Buckland Wright, printed from copper engravings and considered some of the artist’s best work. Sold by Bromer Booksellers.

5. The magus, or Celestial intelligencer: being a complete system of occult philosophy by Francis Barrett - $13,500
A handbook of the occult and ceremonial magic, credited with making magic more accessible to the masses. The book includes four hand-colored plates with portraits of demons. Sold by Milestones of Science Books.

6. Photo Album by Carlos Viegas Gago Coutinho and Sacadura Cabral - $13,000

This album of 178 black and white photographic prints captures the geographical mission led by Admiral Gago Coutinho to establish the borders between Angola and Barotze in then-Rhodesia. The prints depict Coutinho and his crew as they traverse the African continent across the 13th parallel. Sold by Livraria Castro e Silva.

7. The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath - $12,600

This true first edition was published in 1963 under Plath’s pseudonym, Victoria Lucas. It is bound in the publisher’s black cloth with its original, unclipped dust jacket. Sold by AlmostAll1stEditions.

8. The Old Man and the Sea by Ernest Hemingway - $12,500

This first edition of Hemingway’s modern classic in its original dustjacket and with a laid in bank check signed by the author for a good friend. Sold by Magnum Opus Rare Books.

9. Orbis Terrae Compendiosa Descriptio Quam ex Magna Universali Gerardi Mercatoris by Rumold Mercator - $12,000

Mercator's map of the world in fine original color. Double-hemisphere engraved world map with four lines of text in Latin, no text on verso. Sold by Daniel Crouch Rare Books Ltd

10. Buddenbrooks. Verfall einer Familie by Thomas Mann - $10,595

A first edition with Morocco bindings and a gold-embossed title on the spine. Sold by Antiquariat J. Voerster