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Rare Books

Rare books are a notable investment, particularly for those who appreciate the significance of written language. Books are made rare when there is a high demand from buyers but few known copies in existence. The demand for a book is created by a combination of factors, often including status as a first edition, signed book, or written by a famous historical figure, illustrated by a famous person, or pre-owned and marked by a famous figure. Ultimately, the book is a often a historical record or a work that changed history.

Leonardo Da Vinci’s "Codex Leicester" is one of the most rare books in the world. Da Vinci’s journal focusing on water is one of his more organized manuscripts, although the notes are still the chaotic reflection of brainstorming by a genius. The journal is occasionally on display at various museums. The 1640 Bay Psalm Book was the first book written in British America and the first book printed in English in the New World. It is one of only 11 surviving copies.

Collectors can often find interesting examples of rare books at auction. Another way to develop a collection of rare books is to simply keep the books you love, or seek out modern landmark books that shake up the world and wait for their values to increase.


Quick Facts

  • A first edition first issue copy of "The Sun Also Rises" with the original dust jacket sold for $161,000 at a Sotheby’s auction in 2014
  • "Cosmographia" by Ptolemaeus was the first atlas printed in Germany and the first atlas with woodcut maps. It sold for $609,000 at an auction by Sotheby’s in 2014
  • "The Incredible Hulk #180" by Herb Trimpe and Jack Abel featuring the first appearance of the Wolverine character sold for $657,250 at Heritage Auctions in 2014

Recommended Items at Auction

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2 Bound Volumes of the 1st & 2nd Sessions of the Second U.S. Congress
Dec 14, 11:00 AM EST
2 Bound Volumes of the 1st & 2nd Sessions of the Second U.S. Congress
by University Archives
Est: $200- $300
$6007 Bids
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Clarence Darrow Limited Edition Signed Copy of "The Story of My Life"
Dec 14, 11:00 AM EST
Clarence Darrow Limited Edition Signed Copy of "The Story of My Life"
by University Archives
Est: $700- $800
$6005 Bids
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John F. Kennedy 1st Ed. Early Printing "Profiles In Courage" Rare Uninscribed Signed Example
Dec 14, 11:00 AM EST
John F. Kennedy 1st Ed. Early Printing "Profiles In Courage" Rare Uninscribed Signed Example
by University Archives
Est: $3,000- $3,500
$1,5005 Bids
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Ernest Hemingway Signed Copy of "For Whom the Bell Tolls"
Dec 14, 11:00 AM EST
Ernest Hemingway Signed Copy of "For Whom the Bell Tolls"
by University Archives
Est: $3,000- $4,000
$1,9004 Bids
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Obama & Springsteen Signed "Renegades" Unopened Deluxe Edition!
Dec 14, 11:00 AM EST
Obama & Springsteen Signed "Renegades" Unopened Deluxe Edition!
by University Archives
Est: $500- $600
$4253 Bids
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Signed "Memoirs of Herbert Hoover Years of Adventure 1874-1920"
Dec 14, 11:00 AM EST
Signed "Memoirs of Herbert Hoover Years of Adventure 1874-1920"
by University Archives
Est: $300- $400
$1403 Bids
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JFK Signed Copy of "History of Ireland, Vol. 1", Very Early Signature!
Dec 14, 11:00 AM EST
JFK Signed Copy of "History of Ireland, Vol. 1", Very Early Signature!
by University Archives
Est: $5,000- $6,000
$3,2502 Bids
CATALOGUE DES LIVRES RARES ET CURIEUX COMPOSANT LA BIBLIOTHÈQUE DE FEU M. RENIER CHALON.
Dec 09, 1:00 PM CET
CATALOGUE DES LIVRES RARES ET CURIEUX COMPOSANT LA BIBLIOTHÈQUE DE FEU M. RENIER CHALON.
by Arenberg Auctions
Est: €150- €200
€701 Bid
Mascagni, Paolo Anatomia universale, rappresentata con tavole in rame.
Dec 15, 10:00 AM CET
Mascagni, Paolo Anatomia universale, rappresentata con tavole in rame.
by Aste Bolaffi
Est: €650- €850
€6001 Bid
1909 automobile motorcycle volume rare
Dec 04, 10:00 AM EST
1909 automobile motorcycle volume rare
by Yardley Antiques
Est: $600- $675
$2901 Bid
1878 book on Mesmerism hypnotism occult rare
Dec 04, 10:00 AM EST
1878 book on Mesmerism hypnotism occult rare
by Yardley Antiques
Est: $400- $450
$1901 Bid
1845 occult book on Mesmerism hypnotism Human Magnetism
Dec 04, 10:00 AM EST
1845 occult book on Mesmerism hypnotism Human Magnetism
by Yardley Antiques
Est: $400- $450
$1901 Bid
1844 occult book on Mesmerism hypnotism animal magnetism
Dec 04, 10:00 AM EST
1844 occult book on Mesmerism hypnotism animal magnetism
by Yardley Antiques
Est: $400- $450
$1901 Bid
1879 occult book on Mesmerism hypnotism animal magnetism
Dec 04, 10:00 AM EST
1879 occult book on Mesmerism hypnotism animal magnetism
by Yardley Antiques
Est: $400- $450
$1901 Bid
1894 to 1899 worlds oldest and rarest automobile periodical complete
Dec 04, 10:00 AM EST
1894 to 1899 worlds oldest and rarest automobile periodical complete
by Yardley Antiques
Est: $10,000- $12,500
$4,9501 Bid
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LBJ Signed 1st Ed. of "Vantage Point" w/ Invitation to LBJ Ranch
Dec 14, 11:00 AM EST
LBJ Signed 1st Ed. of "Vantage Point" w/ Invitation to LBJ Ranch
by University Archives
Est: $300- $400
$1001 Bid
Mansi,J.
Dec 15, 10:00 AM CET
Mansi,J.
by Kiefer Buch- und Kunstauktionen
Est: €40- €60
€401 Bid
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Fisiognomica - La Chambre, Martin Cureau de - L'Art de connoistre les hommes
Dec 06, 3:00 PM CET
Fisiognomica - La Chambre, Martin Cureau de - L'Art de connoistre les hommes
by Finarte
Est: €80- €150
€801 Bid

Sellers Who Sell Rare Books


Aste Bolaffi

Aste Bolaffi

Kiefer Buch- und Kunstauktionen

Kiefer Buch- und Kunstauktionen

Casa d'aste ARCADIA

Casa d'aste ARCADIA

Arenberg Auctions

Arenberg Auctions