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Moby-Dick or, The Whale by Herman Melville - published by The Arion Press. This edition printed in 1981.
Moby-Dick or, The Whale by Herman Melville - published by The Arion Press. This edition printed in 1981.

October′s most expensive sale on AbeBooks, the famous Arion Press edition of Moby Dick with artwork by Barry Moser, illustrates how fine presses are adored by high-end book collectors. With a price-tag of £18,140, this beautiful book was AbeBooks′ second most expensive sale of 2010 - just a handful of pounds less than the archives of Italian journalist Oriana Fallaci that sold in September.

Arion Press, based in San Francisco, has a long history of producing wonderful books that mix book design and art. Andrew Hoyem founded Arion in 1974 and he is ranked one of the world′s leading printers. An expert in bindings and typography, Hoyem has worked with many highly regarded artists, illustrators and photographers including Lou Stoumen, Michael McCurdy, Stan Washburn, Ross Anderson, William Hamilton and Mark Ulriksen.

During the mid-1960s, Hoyem worked with the famous fine printer Robert Grabhorn, who ran Grabhorn Press from 1920 to 1965. Their best known edition was Allen Ginsberg's Howl published in 1971. Today, Hoyem is the most famous name in the ′livre d'artiste′ genre and his publications are exhibited, as well as collected, around the world.


AbeBooks’ Most Expensive Sales in October 2010

1. Moby Dick; or The Whale by Herman Melville - £18,140
Super deluxe version of The Arion Press′ 1979 printing of Melville′s classic which was limited to 265 copies. This issue includes 200 engravings and 10 drawings all signed by the illustrator, Barry Moser. This edition has been described as one of the 100 most beautiful books printed in Europe and America in the 20th century by the Grolier Club.

A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens
A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens, published by Chapman and Hall

2. Lexicon Iconographicum Mythologiae Classicae - £8,617
Published by Patmos Verlag in eight volumes. 

3. Traité de la Police by Nicholas de la Mare - £6,021
Nicholas de la Mare′s Treatise on the Police was one of the first documents to introduce the modern concept of a police system paid by the government. This edition was published in 1729.

4. The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain - £5,336
First edition copy of The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, published in 1885. This edition contained the scarce &Curved Fly& illustration of Silas Phelps.

5. Autographed manuscript note by Leo Tolstoy - £4,681
This was an autographed reproduction of the note from Tolstoy to Dodd, Mead & Co. authorising them to publish an English translation of Resurrection, this lot included a copy of the 1900 Louise Maude translation of the novel.

6. A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens - £4,080
First edition copy from 1859 published by Chapman and Hall.

7. Oliver Cromwell's Letters and Speeches by Thomas Carlyle - £3,924
Published in 1845 by Wiley and Putnam in two volumes, this association copy had its first volume inscribed by President Martin Van Buren to Miss Alida Van Buren.   

Autographed manuscript note by Leo Tolstoy
Autographed manuscript note by Leo Tolstoy - sold for £4,681

8.  Ravens by Masahisa Fukase - £3,767
First edition, first printing of this photo book comprised of photos of ravens in various settings, signed by Fukase.

9. Nouvelles Ecclesiastiques ou Memoires pour servir à l'Histoire de la Constitution Unigenitus by Philippe Boucher- £2,856
Published in 1734, Boucher′s 17 - volume epic tracks the history of the Constitution Unigenitus, which was a papal decree by Pope Clement XI that condemned propositions of Jansenist theologian Pasquier Quesnel.

10.The Works of Emile Zola by Emile Zola - £2,594
Translated by Henry and E.A. Vizetelly and published by Chatto & Windus in 28 volumes beginning in 1888. 

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