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Interview with History by Oriana Fallaci - a bundle of her personal files was September's top sale at 18,300
Interview with History by Oriana Fallaci - a bundle of her personal files was September's top sale at £18,300

September's top 10 most expensive sales list is a fascinating and eclectic assortment. Topping the list is a collection of personal files and documents from late Italian journalist Oriana Fallaci. The collection included letters, research materials and more, and sold for £18,300. That makes it one of the most expensive sales on AbeBooks in recent years, and the second landmark sale we've enjoyed in as many months. In August our top sale, a copy of The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire by Edward Gibbon, went for £17,680. Surely these are signs that the rare book market is buoyant.

Further down September's list, other items of note include a gorgeous first edition, first impression copy of Ian Fleming's first novel featuring James Bond, Casino Royale, which fetched over £12,000. We seem to see a lot of demand and sales for books featuring Picasso's art, and the #3 spot went to a collaboration between the artist and beloved Chilean poet Pablo Neruda, selling for £6,300.

Also rare and exciting was the sale of a first edition of the novel Twilight in Delhi by Ahmed Ali. There are currently no other first editions of this book available on AbeBooks.

From journalism to very rare fiction, art and poetry to 007, our most expensive sales were every bit as varied and interesting in September as we've come to expect.

AbeBooks’ Most Expensive Sales in September 2010

1. Archive of Letters, Manuscripts, Documents, Articles and Ephemera by Oriana Fallaci - £18,300
An original archive of the personal files of one of Europe’s most influential and controversial journalists.  Fallaci (1929-2006) was an Italian writer and accomplished war reporter in Vietnam, Latin America, the Middle East and the Indian sub-continent. She hit the big time with her interviews (Sean Connery, Haile Selassie, Shah of Iran, Henry Kissinger and Indira Gandhi etc) which were meticulously researched and often lasted several hours. 

Some of her more infamous moments included ripping off her chador while interviewing Ayatollah Khomeini and throwing a microphone at Muhammad Ali after he belched. She spoke English, French, Spanish and Italian and hated to use interpreters. In 1968, she was shot and seriously wounded in the student riots prior to the Olympics in Mexico.

The archive itself features thousands of pages, weighing more than 50 pounds, mostly categorized by subject, and includes the personal research materials and handwritten notes from the woman that Elizabeth Mehren of the Los Angeles Times described as "the journalist to whom virtually no world figure would say no."

First edition, first impression of Ian Fleming's Casino Royale
First edition, first impression of Ian Fleming's Casino Royale sold for £12,369

2. Casino Royale by Ian Fleming - £12,369
Housed in a black quarter morocco box, this was a first edition, first impression of Fleming’s first 007 novel.

3. Toros by Pablo Picasso & Pablo Neruda - £6,300
The complete portfolio with 15 pochoirs, or hand illustrations, by Picasso, each numbered in pencil.

4. Manual del librero Hispano-Americano - £4,137
The Handbook for Spanish-American Booksellers 1948-1990. These volumes contain records of books published since the advent of printing up until its publication dat. It also the largest compendium of literature in any language. This collection spans the 28-volume manual and an alphabetical index - 36 volumes total.

5. Twilight in Delhi by Ahmed Ali - £3,957
A first edition from 1940 of arguably the finest novel ever written about Delhi.  This edition became extremely rare when the warehouse containing most of the copies was bombed during World War II.

6. Inquiry into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith - £3,831
Printed in London for Cadell and Davies in the Strand in 1812, this early printing of Smith’s opus was an unrestored set. 

All the Sad Young Men by F. Scott Fitzgerald
All the Sad Young Men by F. Scott Fitzgerald - sold for £3,800

7.  All the Sad Young Men by F. Scott Fitzgerald - £3,800
A first edition from 1926 of Fitzgerald’s third collection of short stories in its original dustjacket.

8.Sammlung Europäischer Schmetterlinge by Jacob Hübner - £3,073
Hübner published this founding work of Entomology (study of insects)in four volumes from 1894 to 1912, Hübner was one of the first to work heavily with European Lepidoptera (study of moths & butterflies).  This copy is a revised edition, published with a French translation, and contains 663 color plates.

9.The Confidential Clerk by T.S. Eliot - £2,928
First edition presentation copy, published in 1954 by Faber & Faber of London, of Eliot’s play, inscribed "To the incomparable Colby, Denholm Elliott, from T.S. Eliot" Denholm Elliott CBE starred in countless movies and stage productions from 1949 until his death in

10. Steganographia by Johannes Trithemius - £2,917
This classic text on cryptography (the making and breaking secret codes) was published in 1676 by Christopher Küchler.  This edition of Trithemius’ Steganographia, edited by W. E. Heidel, is identical to that published by J. P. Zubrodt, also printed at Mainz in 1676.

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