News-Antique.com - May 14,2012 - 10) The First Book of Urizen - William Blake — $2.5 million
English poet William Blake printed copies of this seminal work in 1794, using his own method of etching combined with hand-painted plates. Each of the copies was unique, featuring different page orders, numbers and artwork, and only eight examples are believed to still exist.
In 1999, one such copy was sold by Sotheby’s in New York for a price of $2.5 million.
9) The Tales of Beedle the Bard - J.K. Rowling — $3.98 million
Rowling produced seven copies of this hand-written and illustrated manuscript, featuring fairy stories mentioned within her Harry Potter books. Bound in leather and 157 pages long, six of the copies were gifted to Rowling’s close associates with a seventh offered up for auction in 2007.
It was purchased by the internet retailer Amazon.com for a price of $3.98 million (a record for a modern literary manuscript), all of which was donated to The Children’s Voice charity.
8) Geographia Cosmographia - Claudius Ptolemy — $3.99 million
Claudius Ptolemaeus’ groundbreaking work was the world’s first printed atlas, created in 1477, and was also the first printed book to feature engraved illustrations.
Of the few remaining copies, just two existed in private hands. A copy formerly belonging to the renowned collector Lord Wardington was sold at Sotheby’s in 2006 for a price of $3.99 million.
7) Traité des arbres fruitiers (Treatise on Fruit Trees) by Henri Louis Duhamel du Monceau, illustrated by Pierre Antoine Poiteau and Pierre Jean François Turpin — $4.5
Formerly belonging to King Louis XV, this five-volume set documents the work of the French scientist Henri Louis Duhamel du Monceau. Featuring superb illustrations from notable artists of the day, the work details his experiments and observations with 16 varieties of fruit trees over the course of thirty years.
It was sold by the Belgian auction house Pierre Bergé & Associés in 2006 for a price of $4.5 million.
6)The Gutenberg Bible — $5.39 million
In 1455 the German printer Johannes Gutenberg created the world’s first book using moveable type, and in doing so changed the world forever.
Just 48 copies of the Gutenberg Bible are believed to still exist, with the vast majority in public collections and national institutions. In 1987, a copy was sold by Christie’s in New York for a then-World Record price of $4.9 million to the Japanese book sellers Maruzen Co. Ltd.
5) First Folio - Comedies, Histories & Tragedies - William Shakespeare — $6 million
Described as “undoubtedly the greatest book in English literature”, Shakespeare’s First Folio features 36 plays and was published seven years after the writer’s death in 1623.
The folio is regarded as the only reliable source for twenty of his most famous works, and just 22 copies are thought to remain in existence.
The record price for a copy of the folio was set in 2001, when one of the few examples to remain in private hands was purchased by Microsoft co-founder Paul