BOOKS A Modern One For US$ 62 500 – Why?

Posted by on 24. Juli 2017


That's the rare book ...

IT WAS AUCTIONED AT SWANN’s IN NEW YORK in May (2017) and even the estimate was stunning: US$ 50 000 to 75 000. Not bad for a book which was published in 1926, not 100 years ago: T. E. Lawrence’s „The Seven pillars of Wisdom“. But it was a privately printed edition, complete with 65 plates or color illustrations by contemporary artists, bound in green leather – and the inspiration for the classic film „Lawrence of Arabia“. The stunning tome is even inscribed (see insert), with „Complete copy.“, the date „I.XII.26“ and his initials TES (the S stands for Shaw, Lawrence’s sometimes and in those years used pseudonymum), and was given to his dentist, Warwick James. The bidding went fast and an unknown collector bought it for US$ 62 500! A very high price for a „modern“ book, but a solace for all „Bookinists“ who lament that their darlings are not worth the paper they are printed on, the moment they are published. Which, in 90 % of all publication worldwide, is unfortunately true.

P. S.: They say that Lawrence had ordered six copies of this edition only, and where the other five are, is a mystery …

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