Welcome to the top sales on the AbeBooks marketplace in the first three months of 2018. This list details books of significance covering medicine, philosophy, law, art, mathematics, photography, ornithology and four legendary authors of fiction in Dickens, Kipling, Conan Doyle, and Carroll.
1. De Humani Corporis Fabrica by Andreas Vesalius - £16,440
The title translates as On the Fabric of the Human Body. Medical students affectionately call it 'The Fabrica' and this medical textbook is still referenced today. It was first published in 1543. This is the second edition from 1555. It contains around 200 woodcut illustrations and a portrait of Vesalius, the Belgian physician, who was 28 years old when he published it.
The Fabrica has been called the book that sparked the scientific revolution. The second edition was heavily revised, with hundreds of alterations to the text, both stylistic, for clarity and comprehension, as well as for content and context. Vesalius had continued to study, and many of the changes to the 1543 edition were made to his own assertions, which he now knew to be incorrect. He made numerous mistakes. He thought the heart had a small bone at its centre, that the kidneys did not function as filters, and that nerves served no real purpose.
2. Die Fröhliche Wissenschaft by Friedrich Nietzsche - £15,875
A signed first edition from 1882. The title of this influential philosophy book translates as The Joyful Wisdom but it is better known as The Gay Science. Nietzche considers the notions of power and value in this book.
3. Commentaries on the Laws of England by Sir William Blackstone & Robert Bell - £12,695
The first American edition of this influential treatise on English law. Five volumes published from 1771 to 1772. This book describes and explains English law, and it was used as a basis for the early versions of American law.
4. Umbra Vitae by Georg Heym - £11,460
An illustrated book of Georg Heym's poetry published in 1924. Ernst Ludwig Kirchner provided the Expressionism art via 47 woodcuts. Only 500 copies were produced.
5. Opere di Galileo Galilei - £11,035
Two volumes. First edition of the collected works of Galileo, published in 1655 and 1656. The Italian died in 1642 after helping kick-start the age of modern science. His work stretched across astronomy, physics, engineering, philosophy, and mathematics.
6. Photographs of Mexico by Paul Strand - £10,580
A famous photography book published in 1940, featuring 20 hand-pulled photogravure plates of Mexico and its inhabitants. Strand, a pupil of Alfred Stieglitz, made several trips to Mexico in 1933 and 1934 to capture scenes. The book was published under the imprint of Virginia Stevens, Strand's second wife. This is one of 250 signed copies.
7. Introductio in Analysin Infinitorum by Leonhard Euler - £10,580
A 1748 first edition of Euler's important textbook on mathematical analysis - a keystone in the study of modern mathematics. Many people argue this book could be taught today, and still be relevant.
8. Africa by John Ogilby - £9,385
This book actually has a lengthy full title of 85 words describing the broad nature of its contents. Countries, rivers, customs, cities, religions, plants, animals etc. This is a first edition from 1670 with 47 engraved illustrations and maps. Ogilby was cosmographer to King Charles II, and this book was designed to open trade routes. It's more than just an atlas as it includes written accounts from visitors to Africa.
9. Encyclopédie, ou Dictionnaire Raisonné des Sciences, des Arts et des Métiers by Denis Diderot & Jean Baptiste d'Alembert - £9,030
A 45-volume set from 1781 in near fine condition. Many writers, including Voltaire and Rousseau, contributed to Encyclopédie, which represented thinking during the Enlightenment period of the 18th century. Diderot and d'Alembert were editors.
10. Exotic Ornithology Containing Figures and Descriptions of New or Rare Species of American Birds by Philip Lutley Sclater & Osbert Salvin - £8,465
Published in 13 parts between 1866 and 1869, this book contains 100 beautiful hand-coloured lithographed plates of tropical South American birds and describes 104 species.
11. Works of Charles Dickens - £6,735
Thirty-two octavo volumes from the original illustrated library edition (1874-1876) including a copy of The Life of Charles Dickens by John Forster. Bound by Stikeman & Co. in early 20th century three-quarter dark blue morocco over blue cloth boards ruled in gilt.
12. Alice's Adventures in Wonderland & Through the Looking-glass by Lewis Carroll - £6,725
A 1988 edition by Macmillan's Rocket Press, one of only 250 copies, printed from the original boxwood blocks used for the true first edition. The blocks now reside in the British Library. The three volumes contain 91 prints of Sir John Tenniel's illustrations.
13=. Works of Rudyard Kipling - £6,700
The so-called Bombay Edition. One of 500 sets signed by Kipling. Thirty-one large octavo volumes printed by R. & R. Clark, Edinburgh from Florentine Press type on hand-made paper watermarked RK on each second leaf.
13=. Works of Arthur Conan Doyle - £6,700
The Author's Edition from 1903. One of 1000 sets signed by Conan Doyle (who refused to sign the American version of this edition), this being number 287. Twelve octavo volumes bound circa 1960 in full red calf.
13=. Keith Haring exhibition catalog - £6,700
A signed copy with a full-page original artwork by the artist, who died in 1990. This was Haring's first significant exhibition, held at the Tony Shafrazi Galleries in 1982 in New York. Two thousand copies were printed. On the front inside cover, Haring has drawn two of his large iconic figures embracing each other, surrounding by his slash markings which indicate they are radiating good karma. Signed with a large bold signature: "K. Haring 82." Guests, including the likes of Madonna and Andy Warhol, were presented with copies on the opening night of this event.