Top Ten World’s Most Expensive Banned Books Many literary works regarded as classics today were originally banned from publication.
This list features the ten most valuable rare books that were once regarded as too obscene to print!
banned in the U.S in 1821, and continued to be published underground until the 1970s when it was finally released in its original form.
In 2006, an early copy published in 1760 sold for $82,223 at Christie’s in Paris.
4) Leaves of Grass by Walt Whitman
Leaves of Grass is the masterwork of the celebrated American poet Walt Whitman, featuring poems he consistently revised throughout his life. Upon its initial release in 1855, it was described by one critic as “a mass of stupid filth” and regarded as obscene literature by many leading numerous booksellers to ban it from their shelves.
In 2009 a highly rare 1st edition copy, one of just 795 initially published, sold at Christie’s in New York for $218,500.
3) The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain
Although now considered a masterpiece of American literature, Mark Twain’s book The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn was initially banned by numerous libraries and authorities throughout the U.S when it was published in 1885 for its “coarse humour”.
Attempts have also been made to ban it from classrooms across America, due to its racial themes which remain controversial to this day.
In 2004 a 1st edition copy of the book, originally owned by its publisher Charles L. Webster and bearing a unique autographed version of Twain’s dedication, sold for $265,100 at Christie’s in New York.
2) Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov
Vladimir Nabokov’s highly controversial 1955 novel Lolita was banned for obscenity in Britain, France, Canada, Argentina and New Zealand. It is now regarded by critics as one of the finest English-language novels of the 20th century.
In 2002, a 1st edition copy inscribed by Nabakov to the celebrated British author Graham Greene sold at Christie’s for a price of $273,500.
1) Ulysses by James Joyce
James Joyce’s 1922 modernist masterpiece was banned for obscenity in both the U.K and the U.S until the 1930s, due to its sexual references. This ban was later overturned in the U.S in December 1933 by the landmark censorship case ‘United States v. One Book Called Ulysses’.
A rare signed first edition copy of Ulysses sold at Christie’s in 2002 for $460,500.
For further articles and information on rare book collecting, visit http://en.wikicollecting.org/.