High stakes game

>Since everyone seems to be looking back and assessing 2007, I thought I’d do the same. Rare books, as I have said, is a great game. As with every game of any complexity, there are levels. The highest level of the game of rare books is heady indeed. The two texts which commanded the highest prices this year were written seven centuries apart, which illustrates the fact that it doesn’t have to be old to be valuable (and that value itself is in the eye of the beholder).

The highest price paid for a written work this year was $21 million for a manuscript copy of the Magna Carta (dated 1297 A.D.), sold by H. Ross Perot (of all people–how’d HE get his hands on it!?!) to a private equity fund.

The next highest was a handmade book (one of only seven (7) copies) written by J. K. Rowling, entitled The Tales of Beedle the Bard (2007). The book relates to the Harry Potter series and was made to raise money for charity. Amazon.com bought it for $4 million. See their news release at www.amazon.com/gp/feature.html?docId=1000179911

The top 50 books, manuscripts, and maps sold in 2007 will appear in the next issue (March/April) of Fine Books & Collections Magazine.

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