First edition books are a collector’s category in their own right. Literature-lovers will fork out big bucks for an original – the most original, to be specific – copy of a well-known or famous book.
Here are six of the most expensive first-edition books in the world.
#1 Bay Psalm Book
This is one of 11 copies of a translation of biblical psalms written and published by American Puritans in 1640. It’s also considered the first book ever printed in what became the United States of America. It sold for a whopping US$14 million at a 2013 auction to an American businessman.
#2 Birds of America
This ultra-rare book documenting the avian population of America published in 1827 and written by naturist John James Audubon. The four-volume tome sold for $11.5 million in 2010.
#3 The Canterbury Tales
One of only 12 copies still in existence of Geoffrey Chaucer’s classic, this book fetched $7.5 million at a London auction in 1998. It was printed way back in the 1470s.
#4 Shakespeare’s First Folio
The first edition of William Shakespeare’s plays is known as the First Folio. Published in 1623, it auctioned for $6.1 million in 2011.
#5 Traité des Arbres Fruitiers(Treatise on Fruit Trees)
French botanist Henri Louis Duhamel du Monceau recorded his observations of fruit trees – spanning 30 years of study – and compiled them into this 18th century, five-volume book. It sold for $4.5 million at a 2006 auction in Brussels.
#6 The Tales of Beedle the Bard
Here’s an author that everyone can recognize these days – J.K. Rowling. She wrote, by hand, seven copies of this 157-page book, which was featured in the seventh Harry Potter novel. The illustrious book is bound in brown Morocco leather and mounted with semi-precious stones. It auctioned for $3.98 million in 2007, with the proceeds going to a children’s charity.