Thursday, June 7, 2012

Abebooks sells $25k signed 'Where the Wild Things Are'

I love getting the Abebooks e-news blasts on the most expensive sales by month. Usually weighted heavily on Latin illuminated books, Book of Hours, or illustrated histories of mushrooms, or other such things - this month featured the #2 (at $25,000 sale) Maurice Sendak's 1963 beloved 'Where the Wild Things Are' - one of my favorite books from childhood. Unfortunately, this sale was most likely driven from Sendak's recent death on May 8th. The other notable Sendak sales in May included a signed copy of WtWTA from 1964 (complete with a Wild Thing sketch) that sold for $4,195 and also five more copies of the book that each sold for more than $500. But as always, condition and edition are key - and with this book, 'the devil is in the details'. This description, from a signed early copy available from Peter Harrington, ABA: "There seem to be multiple issues of the first printing of this elusive and important book. Variations in price occur throughout the later states but have no bearing on the status of the true first issue. Primacy is established through the text of the blurb which, as in the present copy, makes no mention of the Caldecott Award bestowed upon the book on publication. The winning of such a prestigious prize compelled the publishers to recall the entire edition and change the text on the dust wrapper to include the achievement. Copies therefore with the original blurb are rare and are indubitably the earliest." Check out the video Abebooks put together in celebration / PR for this month's sale: