It could be a record-breaking afternoon in the book world. Today, Christie’s New York will auction off a copy of John James Audubon’s Birds of America, which already holds the title of most valuable printed book in the world, having sold for about $11.5 million in 2010. In fact, according to The Economist, a true list of the ten most valuable single books ever sold would have to include five copies of The Birds of America. Though Christie’s is playing their cards close to the vest and estimating a $7 to $10 million sale, today could see a new record for the book. After all, the copy that sold for $11.5 million was estimated at less than the copy on auction today.
To help you brush up on your knowledge of the very old and very valuable, we’ve compiled a list of the ten most expensive books ever sold — no white gloves necessary. Click through for an overview, and then head upstairs to check your attics for any forgotten dusty tomes — you could be a millionaire and not even know it.
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As of today, you can see the entire lavish collection of Elizabeth Taylor’s clothing, jewelry, and other memorabilia, and soon, you’ll be able to bid on it — if you have millions of dollars to spend. After a world tour, the extensive collection, comprised of about 2,000 of Taylor’s personal items, has come to rest at Christie’s in New York City, where it will be auctioned off in a four day event set to start in ten days. There are gads of gems (“You think of every great jewelry house in the world, she had something from all of them,” said Christie’s jewelry expert Rahul Kadakia), gowns from every top designer, and over 200 handbags, among other things. The official estimates are guessing that the haul will go for about $50 million — but that’s with everything priced as if it wasn’t owned by Taylor, so the true amount may be much, much higher, with all proceeds going to the Taylor estate and her AIDS Foundation. Click through for a few of the items from the collection, and let us know which are on your wish list in the comments!
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Some interesting trivia for you to throw out over cocktails: Last week Cindy Sherman’s 1981 self-portrait Untitled #96 (pictured above) sold to New York dealer Philippe Segalot for a whopping $3.89 million at a Christie’s auction, making it the most expensive photograph ever purchased. The record was previously held by Andreas Gursky’s 99… Read More
1. Lou Reed has directed Susan Boyle’s music video for her cover of his song “Perfect Day” — the same track that he was wrongfully accused of refusing to allow her to perform on America’s Got Talent. [via Vulture]
2. Hugh Jackman was asked to host this year’s Academy Awards, but he… Read More
Brillo 5, a work of art by Gavin Turk, will be auctioned off at Christie’s postwar and contemporary art sale on September 23. It is estimated that Brillo 5 will reel in $30,000. Brillo 5 is a cardboard box (pictured right). Christie’s describes the piece of art as “an ironic and ambiguous work that is essentially a copy of a cardboard box.” Be it art or be it a cardboard box, Turk’s creation will no doubt pay the bills. With that in mind, we realized that boxes are exactly what we need to turn this economy around. After the jump, we present 10 of the city’s most underrated (and valuable) cardboard boxes. Live well and… Read More
Remember that rich Chinese art dealer we told you about who phoned in an extremely large fake bid for YSL’s bronze rat and rabbit because they were plundered goods? It was kind of a Punk’d meets Robin Hood moment, and charming in a way that we didn’t think a Christie’s auction was capable of.
No shocker, according to a report on Bloomberg, such renegade antics don’t pay. “Cai Mingchao, the Chinese art dealer who is refusing to pay for the $40 million Qing bronzes he successfully bid for in the Yves Saint Laurent auction, wept when he realized that his credibility was shot and he may now have to close his business.” He’s 40.
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Book publishing is used to dire forecasts for its future; the industry’s funeral has been prematurely anticipated for decades. Publishing was supposed to be killed off at various points by television, the Internet, and the general public’s apathy toward reading. But it’s always managed to scrape by — even if, in these scattered times, it’s been increasingly on the back of huge successes like The Da Vinci Code and the Harry Potter series. The stagnant-but-relatively stable industry has also long been seen as “recession-proof”; the thinking goes that consumers will still spend on small, non-luxe goods, such as books, during a downturn.
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