What makes a book an antique; a very rare and valuable item that every collector wishes to get their hands on? It generally all comes down to the book’s demand and supply – and of course, its condition. The best antique books or the rarest books are highly desired by collectors from all over the world since these books are associated with a specific author, an important historical era or event, or simply because it is an antique find – one that can already be considered as a historical treasure.
If you enjoy reading and wish to see some of the best antique books of all time, sit back, relax, and read through this list of the rarest books around:
The Gutenberg Bible
One of the best antique books of all time is The Gutenberg Bible which was printed out in 1455 by Johann Gutenberg. This is known as the very first book that was printed from movable categories and only forty-eight copies are left today. From the forty-eight, only thirty-one copies are still perfect and intact. Since this is considered as an antique book, a complete version of the book could be worth 10 million pounds and a single leaf can cost 50 thousand pounds.
Shakespeare’s First Portfolio
William Shakespeare is probably the only author who greatly instilled a lot of influence on Western literature since a lot of his creations have been read and performed around the world. Until now, his works and best antique books have been revered for about four hundred years and the First Folio is one of his most remarkable books since it is the very first official collection of his plays that has ever been published.
King James Bible
The First Edition
One of the best antique books of all time is The King James Bible (Authorized Version); with the use of this, King James instructed that it should be utilized to settle doctrinal differences between them and the Church of England. Instead, the bible proved to be a treasure and a literary masterpiece that had permeated English due to its exquisite phrasing and tone.
The Origin of Species
A masterpiece created by Charles Darwin which is considered as one of the best antique books of all time. This is probably the most vital biological book that has ever been written, and it is also the most important scientific book coming from the 19th century. Darwin clearly explains the role and significance of natural selection as one of the most basic, as well as usual causes of evolutionary change.
Tamerlane and Other Poems by Edgar Allan Poe
This is a little collection of all the great poems that Edgar Allan Poe has created, making it one of the best antique books around. Poe was the very first well-renowned authors in America and is also considered as one of the first writers who created stories with supernatural and macabre themes.
Codex Leicester of Leonardo da Vinci
Another one of the best antique books is not really a book, but more of a notebook that is filled with interesting scientific observations that have been listed by Leonardo da Vinci. One thing that makes this a rare find is that unlike the other books mentioned, the Codex Leicester was never printed or published in any quantity.
Don Quixote by Miguel de Cervantes
This was originally considered as a satire that focused on the monotonous chivalric romance during that time; this is one the great and best antique books of all time that was able to easily establish itself as one of the best universal works read by everyone of all ages.
Birds of America
John James Audubon is known as a painter, naturalist, and he was also the man who created one of the best antique books of all time. It contains beautiful illustrations of a variety of birds found in the United States. Birds of America’s illustrations were not issued in the form of books which is partly the reason why only a few complete copies of it remain.
This is the only novel created by Emily Bronte and only 250 copies were published in a poorly-printed edition. This is one of the best antique books since it proves to be an extraordinarily amazing novel that is written with intense passion and power that disgusted and perplexed modern critics.
This is one of the major creations of the scientist named Claudius Ptolemy and later on, Geographia was renamed Cosmographia. It is among the few best antique books around that outlines Ptolemy’s principles about cartography and geography; plus, maps of the world are also available for readers to view.
Frankenstein – The Modern Prometheus
Only 500 copies of this book by Mary Shelley was published and she was only nineteen then; this is one of the best antique books that is also called a masterpiece of ultimate Gothic horror and an early contradiction against the audacity of modern science.
Institute of the Christian Religion
One of the major works of John Calvin that is mainly intended to offer commentary and guidance for those who read Biblical scriptures; the original title of the book, “Institutio Christianae Religionis, is a common origin for controversy as to whether the “Institute of Christian Religion” is really the right translation for this.
An Inquiry into the Nature & Causes of the Wealth of the Nations
This is where the clearly and thoroughly expressed statement and idea about a person’s rights to be cleared during the exercise of economic activities is written. Smith’s book is also one of the first and best antique books that feature modern ideas on economics.
A Season in Hell
Arthur Rimbaud – a French poet – was the master behind one of the best antique books of all time; A Season in Hell is a poem that was broken down into sections where readers will see its texts fueled by the author’s use of absinthe, hashish, as well as alcohol – highly interesting and influential creation that impacts the growth of both the Surrealist and Symbolist movements.
The Columbus Letter
This is not really a book but it is a four-page pamphlet where the discovery of the New World was announced. This is Columbus’ account of his encounter with America and only a single copy of this survives from the printing back then in Barcelona in the year 1493.
The Sarajevo Haggadah
This is one of the best antique books that was handwritten and illustrated probably in the 14th century; it is also known as an illuminated manuscript – a book with pages that are decorated beautifully with gold and copper.
Antiquities of the Russian State
For the perfect example of supply and demand, this is the book that everyone should read; Antiquities of the Russian State is quite similar to the book called Birds of America since it is a collection of the paintings created by the author, Fyodor Solntsev. There were only six-hundred sets created which is why the demand for this is high.
Treatise on Fruit Trees
One of the best antique books and also one of the most expensive books that was written about fruit trees; the book features sixteen different kinds of fruit in beautiful illustrations as well as texts created by Henri Louis Duhamel du Monceau.
The First Book of Urizen
This book was originally printed in the year 1794 and is known as one of the main pieces in William Blake’s collection of prophetic creations.
The Canterbury Tales
A collection of beautiful stories that are all written by Geoffrey Chaucer in Middle English; its tales are exhibited as a portion of a contest for story-telling by a small group of pilgrims while they journey all the way from London to Canterbury to see and visit the shrine of a saint.