With tastes ranging from Einstein to early Alcoholics Anonymous editions to collections on butterflies, book collectors had a very busy year on AbeBooks.

More from the AbeBooks Year in Review

1. Supplementum summae Pisanellae

Nikolaus Osimo

A beautiful edition of the major theological work of Nicholas de Osimo from 1479. It includes a collection of anti-Semitic church laws. Osimo was a lawyer and theologian, who joined the Franciscans. He was appointed prefect of the Holy Land and this is a famous book from the time. It is the first known printed edition. Sold for £13,967

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2. The Genera of Diurnal Lepidoptera

Edward Doubleday and John Westwood

A key work, beautifully illustrated, on butterflies and moths from 1852 bound in red half morocco leather over contemporary marbled cloth-covered boards. Doubleday had only completed about a third of the text before his death in 1849 and Westwood finished the work. Sold for £9,380

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3. Navis stultifera a domino Sebastiano Brant primum

Jodocus Badius

A 1497 Latin translation of Brant’s Ship of Fools (Das Narrenschiff) where the vices of the day are pilloried by the German satirist – it includes woodcuts by a young Albrecht Dürer. Jakob Lochers was the translator while Jodocus Badius, an early publishing pioneer, edited the work. Sold for £8,976

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4. Ars Magna Lucis et Umbrae in X Libros Digesta

Athanasius Kircher

Bound in full recent calf with an engraved portrait of Johann Friedrich, Count Waldstein, this 1671 enlarged edition includes an early description of the recently invented magic lantern, an early form of projector. It also includes the first printed pictures of the planets, Saturn and Jupiter. Kircher addresses comets, lunar eclipses, color, optics, sundials, and astrological influences, specifically regarding the relationship of the heavenly bodies to timekeeping. Sold for £8,050

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5. The Holy Land, Syria, Idumea, Arabia, Egypt and Nubia

David Roberts

First quarto edition from 1855-56 of one of the greatest lithographic works ever printed. Roberts was the first Westerner to be granted permission to enter many sacred mosques and monuments in the Middle East. There are detailed drawings, six pictorial title pages, and two engraved maps. Roberts spent 11 months in 1838 to 1839, traveling and sketching throughout the area. Six volumes Sold for £7,280

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6. Relativity: The Special And General Theory

Albert Einstein

A 1920 first American edition translated by Robert W Larson and published by Henry Holt. There is a sketch of Einstein by Hermann Struck, dated 1920 and the famous scientist has signed the book. Sold for £7,000

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7. Musurgia universalis

Athanasius Kircher

From around 1700, this is a very rare complete copy of Kircher’s key work on musical theory and history. It is an exhaustive encyclopedia of music of the day. For musicologists, it has long been an invaluable source of information on baroque concepts of style and composition. Many plates are of ancient and contemporary instruments. It was a legendary book in its day and remained the standard encyclopedia of music into the 18th century. Sold for £6,568

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8. Biologia Centrali - Americana. Insecta, Lepidoptera

Frederick DuCane Godman & Osbert Salvin

Another famous book on butterflies and moths, this time referring to the insects of Central America. Three-quarter red leather over red cloth with 113-full page color plates of butterflies and moths lithographed by RHF Rippon. Sold for £6,440

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9. (tied) Alcoholics Anonymous

Bill Wilson

A 1939 first edition first printing of this legendary book – only 4,650 copies were printed of the first printing. Although it wasn’t the first self help book, this book is the most collectible and set the standard for fighting addictions. Sold for £5,880

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9. (tied) Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions

Bill Wilson

The other fundamental book in the history of Alcoholics Anonymous – a first edition first printing signed and inscribed by Bill Wilson from 1953. Wilson expands and updates his program of recovery published in the original book from 1939. Sold for £5,880

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