When dedicated bibliophiles want to purchase a book, they generally turn to AbeBooks rather than Amazon Marketplace or ebay. AbeBooks was founded in Victoria, British Columbia, as the Advanced Book Exchange in 1995 by four bibliophiles. The company was acquired by Amazon in 2008. The site lists more than 140 million books from thousands of independent booksellers, many former brick-and-mortar establishments, from more than 50 countries.
Each year, AbeBooks publishes the list of the most expensive rare books sold on the site, providing a glimpse into what books have come onto the market and what bibliophiles are willing to pay for their Holy Grails. Despite how high these numbers are, they pale in comparison to the price that bibliophiles pay for exceptionally rare and valuable books that are only sold at auction or through private broker sales.
(1) The Natural History of Birds (1756) by Saverio Manetti, $191,000
The book is written in Italian and its complete title translated in English is Natural History of Birds Treated Systematically and Adorned with Copperplate Engraving Illustrations, in Miniature and Life-Size. The book is published in five volumes and it took the author 10 years to complet. It is very rare; in the past four decades, only 10 complete sets have come up for auction.
(2) Pangeometria (1856) by Nikolai Lobachevskii, $34,245
A rare edition of a book on the development of geometry.
(3) Charlie and the Chocolate Factory (1964) by Roald Dahl, $25,000
A first edition, signed and inscribed by the author. Knopf printed 10,00 books in the first printing.
(4) Sertum Orchidaceum: A Wreath of the Most Beautiful Orchidaceous Flowers by John Lindley (1838), $24,643
A rare first edition of a book on orchids containing 49 hand-colored pages.
(5) Plantes de la France (1819 – 1822) by Jaume Saint-Hilaire, $22,549
A first edition printed in 10 volumes consisting of a thousand illustrations of the plants of France engraved on copper and printed in color.
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For further reading: http://www.abebooks.com/rare-books/most-expensive-sales/year-2015.shtml?cm_mmc=nl-_-nl-_-C151222-h00-mstexpAH-121214TG-_-herogr&abersp=1