There's a richness to antique books that transcends their status as one of the world’s most beloved collectibles. Books document the evolution of our need to make sense of the world around us. This urge can be seen in the first Gutenberg bible of 1455; the ‘First Folio’ of plays by William Shakespeare, published in 1623; John James Audubon’s monumental “Birds of America,” which was printed between 1827 and 1838; and even the pocket-size Beat-poetry paperbacks, published by City Lights bookstore in the 1950s and ’60s. Each, in its own way, reveals the priorities and passions of the culture.

Whatever the genre—be it biographies or cookbooks, children’s books or classic works of science fiction—and regardless of the title, most collectors focus on first editions. First editions are coveted because their print runs tend to be small. They're also considered to be the closest a reader can get to the author’s original intent for his or her work. Thus, first editions are particularly desirable if a book has been changed for the second printing.

Especially collectible are first editions of books that went on to win literary awards. The landmark children’s book “Where the Wild Things Are” earned author and illustrator Maurice Sendak a Caldecott Medal in 1964, so its first-edition cover from 1963 does not feature the famous Caldecott seal.

Another, more recent, famous first edition is the 1997 version of J.K. Rowling’s “Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone,” which was published by Bloomsbury in the U.K. in a print run of 1,000. The book went on to sell millions of copies for Scholastic in 1998, when it was re-titled for the U.S. market as “Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone.” No wonder copies of the Bloomsbury first edition routinely sell in the five figures.

Some people collect books for their aesthetic value. For these collectors, antique and vintage leather-bound books and sets are particular favorites. Some are covered in calf skin, which book binders found easy to dye. Others were made of Levant leather, which is goat skin and sometimes called Moroccan leather.

Examples of leather-bound books include individual works or collections by 19th century authors, from naturalist Charles Darwin, whose “On the Origins of Species” was first published in 1859 before being re-titled as “The Origins of Species” in 1872, to novelist Charles Dickens, whose monthly and weekly serialized stories were bound into classics such as “The Adventures of Oliver Twist” and “A Tale of Two Cities.”

American 20th-century novels such as F. Scott Fitzgerald’s “The Great Gatsby” (1925), John Steinbeck’s “The Grapes of Wrath” (1939), and J.D. Salinger’s “The Catcher in the Rye” ...

Prized science-fiction books from the past 150 years include Jules Verne’s “Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea,” which was first published in France in 1870 before being translated into English in 1872. H.G. Wells gave us “The War of the Worlds” in 1898 and “When the Sleeper Wakes” a year later. Collectible modern science-fiction authors range from Isaac Asimov, Ray Bradbury, and Arthur C. Clarke to Robert Heinlein, Frank Herbert, and Philip K. Dick, whose 1968 “Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep” was the basis for the 1982 sci-fi-film classic, “Blade Runner.”

In all cases, a book that has been signed by its author is more sought-after than one that has not, although books with inscriptions (eg: ‘To my dear friend, so-and-so’) are usually not as collectible as ones with just a signature. Biographies and memoirs are a favorite of former politicians and retired generals, who have been known to use the bully pulpit of a book to tell their version of history. Such books can often be found with the author’s signature on the title page.

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The New Lieutenant's Rap By Stephen King - Signed Limited Edition - 1 / 500Real Life Ireland *1821* Hand Coloured Plates Binding Heath Slipcase AlkenChinese Porcelains From The Palace Museum Large Folio All In ColorChinese Porcelain In The Shanghai Museum A Superb BookCa. 1495: A Miniature Book Incunable Printed In German! 83 Wonderful Woodcuts!!!Magna Carta/1680/rare 1st Edward Cooke Edition In English/fine Leather Bndg.J. R. R. Tolkien - The Lord Of The Rings - 3 Vol 1st Dj 1955-1956 King James Bible 1613 Folio Complete Kjv Speed Map & Genealogies 2nd Edition NrAlice`s Adventures In Wonderland - Carroll - 1907 Rackham First Edition RareStunning Binding *1823* Life Soldier Poem Col Plates Leather/gilt Heath SlipcaseEstienne 1544 Caesar On Gallic War France Spain Africa Celts Rome/ Maps WoodcutsAutographed Limited Edition 1951 Robert Frost New Hampshire Poem Book, NrStephen King The Stand Uncorrected Proof (arc)--extremely Rare!Casino Royale 1953 Original Dust Cover 1st Edition 2nd - Ian FlemingHarry Potter Chamber Of Secrets - Rowling - 1998 Uk First Edition Signed - RareChinese Paintings In The Nanjing Museum Large Folio All In ColorPride And Prejudice Jane Austen Illus Hugh Thomson 2nd Imp 1895 Peacock CoverRare Poisons *1702* Richard Mead 1st Viper Plants Tarantula Mad-dog Opium PlateIan Fleming - Casino Royale - 1957 U.k. Hb Dj - 1st Pat Marriott / Jonathan CapeRare Signed & Dated 1st Edition Roald Dahl 'charlie And The Chocolate Factory' The Jungle Book - Rudyard Kipling - 1894 True First Edition - Very Rare Antique1855 California Gold Rush Native American Indians Oregon Trail Farnham Plates1812 Antique 3-vol Set Books, History Of New Hampshire, Jeremy Belknap 1791 MapUtopia *1808* Sir Thomas More 1st Dibdin Ed Political Philosophy Large PaperTravels Russian Empire *1815* Johnston Col Plates Dress Manners Customs HistoryLot Of 240 Original Lithos Etching Chagall Picasso Matisse Dali Mourlot SignedArthur Rackham. 1st Edition 1st Issue. Undine. Very Scarce 1st State 1909Easton Press - Masterpieces Of Science Fiction - Nineteen Eighty-four 1984Grand Old Lady Of No Man's Land Vickers Machine Gun Author Signed By GoldsmithRichard Bachman (stephen King!) "the Running Man" 1st Ed. 1982 Nm-mt1837 Hand-colored Engraved United States Railroad Map Tanner American Traveller1817 Atlas Voyages Of Captain James Cook Illustrated Pacific New Zealand OceaniaTrout Fishing/1929/eric Taverner Signed First Limited Edit./fine Morocco LeatherThe London Magazine For 1765. Beast Of Gevaudan, Florida, French Louisiana, MapsTo Kill A Mockingbird By Harper Lee Easton Press Leather Book LeatherboundMount Everest - Multi Signed Mountaineering / Climbing BookLive And Let Die - Ian Fleming - 1964 First Edition / Early Print - Nice Dj 1736-1890 Antique Full Leather Book Lot 13 Books Ills Pope Goethe Poetry ScienceC1490 Philosophy Incunable Boethius Socrates Julius Caesar Aristotle IncunabulaThe Illustrated Man By Ray Bradbury Gauntlet Press Signed Numbered Limited New!Easton Press - Masterpieces Of Science Fiction - Fahrenheit 451 - Ray BradburyPresident Richard M Nixon Signed Memoirs Autograph Book Watergate Signature 1st1998 Signed Arthur Miller Death Of A Salesman Rare Easton Press Old Leather BookLewis Carrol 1897 Through The Looking Glass & What Alice Found There 1796 Morse's American Universal Geography Rare Early Engraved United States MapsGrand Royal Magazine Beastie Boys Extremely Rare Full Collection Issue 1 - 6Binding Nimrod *1842* Life Sportsman Col Plates Henry Alken 1st Apperley Riviere1640 St Thomas Aquinas Summa Theologica Wiggers Commentary Catholic MetaphysicsFreemasonry Illuminati Rosicrucian Book Knight Templar Antique Occult Free Mason1250- Book Of Hours, France, Brevier, Middle-ages -over 750 Years Old- Rarely!!!1868 Alice's Adventures In Wonderland First Edition Lewis Carroll Antique BookLot (13): Easton Press "aubrey Series" By Patrick O'brian-master&commander Etc. President George W Bush Signed 41 Autograph Signature Book 1st Printing Jsa CoaFlorence K Upton, The Golliwog's Desert Island, 1906, 1st, RareThomas The Tank Engine. Rev W Awdry. 1st Edition 1st Issue [1946] Edmund Ward1957 The King Ranch Limited 1st Edition Saddle Blanket Edition Tom Lea Texas1250- Book Of Hours, France, Brevier, Middle-ages -over 750 Years Old- Rarely!!!Torah-scroll,handwriting On Sheep-skin,russia,exodus,chronicles, 400 Years Old !Assassination Of Abraham Lincoln, Late President, William Seward, 1867, LeatherIan Fleming - Dr. No - 1958 U.k. Hb Dj - Pat Marriott / Jonathan Cape

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