Since hundreds of years ago, Most Expensive Books have been the most important step in human evolution. Ancient Egypt used papyrus scrolls for scrolls and medieval monasteries used manuscripts for manuscripts. Today, digital books have increasingly replaced books and printed versions.
Before the invention of the printing press in 1439, books were expensive and difficult to copy by hand. Nowadays, books have become so cheap and accessible because the process of automation has been so simplified. You would be surprised to learn how one can buy a book for such a high price in the modern era. There are a few Most Expensive Books out there, mostly old copies, valued extremely high.
Here are the Top 10 Most Expensive Books:
1. William Shakespeare first folio of Comedies, Histories & Tragedies
Among the most significant books ever published in English is the First Folio, a collection of Shakespeare’s plays. As the only reliable source for the first 20 of 36 plays published, this play is of great importance.
Back in the day, the book sold for somewhere between 15 shillings and a pound when it came out. First Folios are today among the most valuable books in the world, which makes them quite expensive. How expensive? Christie’s auction house in New York sold one copy of it for an astounding $8.2 million in October 2001.
2. George Washington’s Annotated Copy of the Constitution and Bill of Rights, 1789
In addition to representing important historical documents of the First Congress, this book is among the most important books in American history. Among the handwritten notes and marks in this copy are those from George Washington’s first year in office as president.
Over 200 years later, the book is almost in pristine condition. An auction in 2012 sold it for $10,2 million. Mount Vernon Ladies Association bought the property.
3. The Canterbury Tales by Geoffrey Chaucer
Geoffrey Chaucer’s book The Canterbury Tales, or a collection of stories read in a contest during the 14th century, ranked among the most important works of his time.
This book appears to be in print only in the first dozen copies. An auction in London in 1998 resulted in the sale of one of them for $11.1 million.
4. Birds of America by John James Audubon
John James Audubon wrote Birds of America, a book about birds he studied and painted. Within the book, there are several paintings of birds native to the United States, including six that are now extinct.
Edinburgh and London published the first edition between 1827 and 1838. As the book highly regarded for its artistry, it’s no wonder that the price one art dealer paid in 2010 rose to $12.6 million.
5. The Rothschild Prayerbook
This is an important illuminated Flemish manuscript from the 16th century. Around 1500, several artists contributed to the Rothschild Prayerbook, which includes 254 pages. You didn’t understand much, did you? Christian devotional books are illuminated manuscript books of hours. Often made in gold or silver, a manuscript containing psalms and prayers is decorated with numerous illustrations and decorations.
The Austrian National Library in Vienna sold the book first in 1999, and Christie’s auctioned it again in 2014 in New York. Kerry Stokes, the ultimate buyer, paid $13.9 million. National Library of Australia currently has the book on display.
6. Bay Psalm Book
The first book printed in British America, more precisely in Cambridge, Massachusetts, in 1640. An English translation of Psalms in metrical form. This book contains only eleven copies known to exist. Not metrical in the sense of distance, but metrical in the sense that poetry verses follow a basic rhythm.
The rarity of the book further increased its historic value, increasing the price of the book. Rubenstein purchased this copy at an auction in November 2013. Priced at $14.5 million, this was a tremendous deal.
7. Cuthbert Gospel
When did pocketbooks become popular? As St. Cuthbert Gospel is an eighth-century pocket gospel book, they’re not. This is the earliest known western binding in Latin with an exquisitely decorated leather cover.
There are 94 vellum pages in the book. The interior is simple. As a memorial to Saint Cuthbert of Lindisfarne buried in North East England. It also somehow made it across centuries, ended up at an auction in 2011, and was sold for an outrageous price of $15.1 million to the British Library.
8. Magna Carta Libertatum
England’s political life very influenced by the Magna Carta Libertatum. King John signed the Runnymede Charter on June 15, 1215, and renewed every time the monarch reigned in England. One of seventeen editions has survived the passage of time, but there are no others.
Magna Carta also gained historical significance as it lost its practical importance through the ages. The book sold in 2007 to Ross Perot for the astonishing price of $24.5 million, making it a commercial success.
9. The Gospels of Henry the Lion
The Gospels of Henry the Lion, painted by monks at Saint Blaise’s Abbey in Brunswick in the 12th century, is an amazing work of art that displays the craftsmanship of the Romanesque period.
A total of 266 pages, including 50 full-page illustrations, contain the text of four gospels. To recover and preserve Germany’s national treasures. Several private donors also helped the German government purchase the book for $28 million at an auction in 1983. Every two years, it displayed at Wolfenbuttel’s Herzog August Bibliothek.
10. Codex Leicester Leonardo Da Vinci
Leonardo Da Vinci, the Italian Renaissance master, wrote some of his scientific writings in this codex, which was published in 1510. In 1719, the 72 paged codex was purchased by Thomas Coke, Earl of Leicester.
Leonardo Da Vinci’s Codex Leicester not the only scientific journal written by him, but it stands out due to another fact. It includes observations about astronomy, fossils, water, and rocks, as well as studies about light. As of November 1994, it also sold to Bill Gates for a staggering $49.4 million, making it the most expensive books ever.