The most expensive books of 2023 on AbeBooks

The most expensive books of 2023 on AbeBooks

Since 1996, AbeBooks has provided a place for independent sellers to sell their new and used books and for buyers looking for rarities. In addition to first editions and dedicated copies, you can also find magazines, photos, maps and letters on the site. The millions of books and other items come from sellers from more than 50 countries. It is a subsidiary of Amazon since 2008 and it has several international sites. At the site, I read about the most expensive sales of 2023, from which I highlight the books that I am familiar with.

A first edition of Harry Potter sold for £70,000. In 1997, Bloomsbury published only 500 copies, of which 200 were for promotional purposes and 300 were for libraries. One of the latter ones was this book from the Edinburgh Public Library being sold here last year. A total of 27 people borrowed the book before it was ‘withdrawn from service’. Those 27 people were among the first to experience the magic. There was a previous first edition that someone bought on AbeBooks for $37,000 USD, which seems like a bargain in comparison with the current price.

A first edition of the complete 12-volume Swallows and Amazons series by Arthur Ransome was sold for £37,500. The popularity of the series is shown by the fact that while the first volume was published in 2,000 copies, for the last one this number grew to 11,000. The stories show the adventures of two families, the Walkers (the ‘Swallows’) and the Blacketts (the ‘Amazons’), set in the English countryside, the Yorkshire, Norfolk landscape, the English Lake District and the coast. The magic of the books lies in the fact that they show the wonders of the children’s imagination.

A rarity became the 10th most expensive sale in 2023: a signed color proof of Calvin and Hobbes by Bill Watterson was sold for £28,480. Calvin and Hobbes was a comic strip published daily between 1985 and 1995, which was very popular. The signed proof was sent by Watterson himself as a token of appreciation to some newspapers and it shows the last strip of the series, which was published on December 31, 1995 after 10 years and 3100 strips and, like the previous ones, it was very amusing.

Of course, at far more affordable costs, I have also purchased books from AbeBooks. These were books by Michael Palin and by Ulrich Hub.