2013 saw a new record set at Sotheby's for the world's most valuable printed book at auction. Elsewhere, the biggest sales of the year ranged the gamut from illuminated manuscripts to modernist literature.
Top books and manuscripts sale of 2013
- The Bay Psalm Book was the biggest book sale of 2013, realising $14.2m, making it the most valuable printed book ever auctioned. It features translations of Hebrew psalms, and despite its diminutive stature is of huge historical importance as the first book ever printed in the US. It was bought by David Rubenstein, a well-known financier and philanthropist.
2013's important books and manuscripts sales
- A manuscript by Zhang Xueliang, ruler of Manchuria and Northern China for a brief period in the late 1930s, achieved $854,500 in March.
- An illustrated 12th century Romanesque manuscript produced by Benedictine monks in the city of Cologne, Germany sold for $828,000 in March.
- A newspaper clipping featuring the first publication of the Declaration of Independence sold for $550,000 in June.
- The manuscript for Murphy, the first novel by the avant-garde Irish writer Samuel Beckett, realised $1.4m back in July.
- A unique first edition copy of Sir Isaac Newton's "Naturalis Principia", presented to King James I of England, sold for $2.5m in December - achieving a 320% increase on estimate.
- A first edition copy of Du Cote du Chez Swann by Marcel Proust, presented to his lover Lucien Daudet, auctioned for $821,627 in December, up 100.3 % on its valuation.
It was a breakout year for…
- A JK Rowling annotated copy of Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone set a new auction record for a book by Rowling when it sold for $227,993 - an increase of 775.4% on the previous record.
It was a year to forget for…
- Islamic militants in control of Timbuktu burned the city's ancient library, destroying irreplaceable books and documents dating back to the 13th century.
One you may have missed…
- The original Japanese report on the bombing of Pearl Harbour by the pilot who orchestrated the attack sold for $425,000 on the anniversary of the event.