A rare first-edition copy of JK Rowling’s Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone recently sold for US$90 000 at auction, fetching a price this high mainly because the title was misspelt, and the book contained several typos. As hefty a sum as US$90 000 is, this price tag is minuscule when you look at what some other books have been bought for. The prices indicated have been adjusted for inflation.
The Babylonian Talmud
The Babylonian Talmud is one of just 14 complete multi-volume sets of this Rabbinic Judaism text from the early 16th century that still exists. The buyer of this artefact wanted to stay anonymous, but reports indicated that the billionaire Leon Black purchased it for almost US$11 million in 2015. The art collector, founder of Apollo Global Management, and investor snapped it up after it had been sitting in Westminster Abbey for roughly 400 years. Apparently, no one had a clue it was as valuable as it turned out to be!
The Canterbury Tales
A very rare 1777 first edition of Canterbury Tales by Geoffrey Chaucer sold for almost US$12 million in 1998 to John Paul Getty Junior. There are only 12 copies confirmed to be in existence.
The Northumberland Bestiary
The Northumberland Bestiary is an astonishing collection of animals, leviathans, and moral tales created in the middle of the 13th century. It includes pictures of donkeys, elephants, hydras, panthers, satyrs, and more in its intricately illustrated pages and is owned by the J. Paul Getty Museum after selling for almost US$8 million in 1990.
While billionaires like the Gettys can easily scoop up incredible items like these, the rest of us will need a little help! Options like winning big at the various NZ betting sites available online offer one possible solution to getting enough money together to own one of these gems.
Shakespeare’s First Folio
The first published collection of William Shakespeare’s plays is one of the most sought-after books in the English Language, as its price indicates.
Published seven years after the author’s death, a copy sold for almost US$9 million dollars in 2001, five years later another copy sold for slightly less, and a set of the first four editions of these first folios fetched almost US$5 million at auction in 2016.
The Gutenberg Bible
The Gutenberg Bible stands as the first complete book to be printed from movable type. It was published in 1455, changed the world of literature forever, and in 1987 a Japanese bookseller known as the Maruzen Company acquired an incomplete copy for US$12 million. There are 49 Gutenberg Bibles in existence, but only 21 of these are complete.
A Treatise of Fruit-Trees
Written by Thomas Hitt in the 18th century, this book tells you everything there is to know about fruit trees. While it may not be the most scintillating subject matter, the paintings inside the book are extraordinary, and this factor combined with its age saw it selling for almost US$6 million in 2006.