I am going to be honest here and tell you that I absolutely do not like books. I do not like reading them. There was a time when I used to be crazy about certain novels but that time is long gone now. Assuming that you are unaware of exactly how expensive certain books have been sold, what price comes to your head when you think of a book? Better yet, if I ask you to imagine the price for the most expensive book, what is the biggest logical number you can possibly think of? To tell you the truth, I had no clue books could fetch this much money, especially if they don’t set some sort of record. Anyway, prepare to have your minds blown. This particular article talks about ten of the most expensive books ever.
10. MOZART’S 9 SYMPHONIES MANUSCRIPT
This is the cheapest book on our list. You can imagine what the book contains if you read the name. This particular book contains nine symphonies from the great Austrian composer, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. The book was autographed by Mozart himself. This manuscript was sold in 1990 for $4,100,000. It’s a pity Mozart died at such a young age, he was such a gifted human being.
9. PTOLEMY’S GEOGRAPHIA
This book is also known as Cosmographia, Geographike Hyphegesis and Geography. It is one of the main works of Ptolemy. The book dates back to somewhere around 2nd century (imagine that). It talks the world’s geography at that time in detail. You can also think of it as the world’s first atlas in a way. The book was sold in 2006 and was able to fetch around $4.2 million. If you ask me, I would say the book should have been able to pull more money than it did; it is the first atlas after all.
8. TRAITE DES ARBRES FRUITIERS
The title can be translated to ‘Treatise on Fruit Trees’. This is a French manuscript and was compiled by Henri-Louis Duhamel du Monceau. The book was compiled somewhere around mid-18th century. It details different varieties of fruit trees. The book sold for $4,500,000 almost six years back in 2006. This book is probably this expensive because of its age.
7. THE GUTENBERG BIBLE
This book marked the era of the movable type printing press. The press was developed by Johannes Gutenberg somewhere in the 1450s. Only around 21 complete copies of this particular book are available in the world now. There have been debates that these copies are perhaps the most valuable in the world. Altogether, they might be, but if you consider one book the come in at number seven spot. The book sold for $5,400,000 in 1987 and that was incomplete. A complete copy hasn’t been sold yet.
6. THE NORTHUMBERLAND BESTIARY
This book is basically a collection of drawings. The drawings depict real and even imaginary animals and the book has been around since the 13th century. The book also depicts moral stories and proverbs that are used to this date. It was bought by a private collector in 1990 at an auction. The book was able to sell for $5,850,000. The book has recently been made to display at the Getty Museum.
5. FIRST FOLIO: COMEDIES, HISTORIES AND TRAGEDIES
This book was first published in 1623. The book contains almost all the plays written by great writers. This book is the only reliable source for twenty different plays of Shakespeare. A copy of this book was sold at an auction held in New York in the year 2001. The copy was able to fetch a little over $6 million. This one will definitely be an interesting read.
4. THE CANTERBURY TALES
This book was written at the end of the 14th century by an English author named Geoffrey Chaucer. The book contains a collection of short stories. Those short stories all together paint a nice critical picture of the church and the society at that time. The theme of the stories vary greatly from love to betrayal to greed. The genres vary from romances to sermons to fables. The stories are actually of the highest cultural relevance.
3. THE BIRDS OF AMERICA
This book was first published in the 19th century by a painter John James. The book contains life-size paintings of different birds (as you can imagine by the name). The book is considered to be one of the greatest picture books. An original print copy was sold in an auction in the year 2000. It was able to go for $8.8 million and that figure made it the most expensive painted book ever. I wonder if I made a picture book with life-size paintings of the birds in my country, would it sell for something like this too or not.
2. THE GOSPELS OF HENRY THE LION
This book is said to be produced in the 12th Century, somewhere between 1175 and 1188. The book was produced in Germany for Henry the Lion. It is slightly over 250 pages and is considered to have been a masterpiece of that particular time. It was sold in an auction in 1983 and was bought by a German national group. The book was sold for $12.4 million.
1. THE CODEX LEICESTER
This particular book contains different scientific writings, notes, sketches and drawings by Leonardo da Vinci and is also known as the Codes Hammer. I am sure you have heard of this guy and even seen the movie. Now I know I mentioned that I have no interest in books, but this one sounds intriguing. It is the most expensive book to be sold. It fetched in $30,800,000 and was sold in an auction in 1994. The book was bought by none other than Bill Gates. It is put on display ever year and the best part is that it’s a different city every year. This book contains very interesting insights apparently.
There you go folks, I am sure this one was a little too much to take. If you had a chance to take two of these books which ones would they be? I would go for the one with Shakespeare’s plays and The Codex Leicester.