5 most expensive books ever sold

13 July 2009

http://img195.imageshack.us/img195/2097/2261coolfunnypicturesph.jpgThe next time your flight from Heathrow is delayed by five hours and you grumble at forking over a fiver for a nice thick book from WHSmith to tide you over, think what a bargain you're getting compared to the 5 most expensive books of the 20th century. Here's a countdown:

5. The Gutenberg Bible was the first big project Johannes Gutenberg took on after inventing movable type. In 1987, one sold for £3.3 million.

4. The Northumberland Bestiary sounds like a 13th century version of James Herriot meets C.S. Lewis. It includes detailed illustrations and descriptions of animals both real and imaginary. In 1990 it sold for £3.6 million.

3. The Canterbury Tales, 1st Edition. Only about 12 copies of this 1477 book are still accounted for. In 1998 one of those copies fetched £4.6 million.

2. Gospels of Henry the Lion was commissioned by Henry, Prince of Saxony and Bavaria, in 1188. It consists of 4 holy gospels on parchment with over 50 small gold leaf paintings. In 1983 it sold for £7.4 million.

1. The Codex Leicester is a notebook full of Da Vinci's artistic thoughts, sketches, observations, and notes was bought by a man named Bill Gates in 1994 for £19 million.

Compared to these five, the five most expensive books sold in 2008 by AbeBooks.com (as compiled by CSmonitor.com sound like real bargains:

5. The Holy Land, Syria, Idumea, Arabia, Egypt & Nubia by David Roberts – £7,629
4. Specimens of British Minerals Selected from the Cabinet of Philip Rashleigh by Philip Rashleigh – £7,872
3. Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban by J.K. Rowling – £7946
2. L’Abou Naddara, Journal Arabe Illustre (1878-1884) by James Sanua – £8,024
1. Etudes à l’Eau-Forte by Francis Seymour Haden – £10,626

So, tell us: a few centuries from now, which books from today do you think will sell for huge sums of money?

3 comments

  • > H.
    Sorry, I thought the Guttenberg Bible was a Biography by Mahoney from Police accademy. I have an original print of THE bible signed by Jesus himself, any offers Bill?
  • James
    Killed by a Passing snowflake.
  • Greg W.
    Locate a reference in one book of the Gospels and see the comparable referencs in the other three books.

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