Rare, original and odd - objects of a bookworm's desire

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 27 November, 2011, 12:00am
UPDATED : Sunday, 27 November, 2011, 12:00am

Highlights of the book fair:

Ulysses by James Joyce. First edition. Paris, Shakespeare and Co, 1922 (HK$3.38 million)

This is a rare first edition of the Irish writer's difficult masterpiece. It is one of 100 copies on fine Dutch handmade paper. This copy is numbered 45 and signed by Joyce on the limitation page. The first printing of Ulysses consisted of 1,000 copies divided into three issues. The first 100 were designated the primary issue, numbered and signed by Joyce. These copies were the thickest of the three issues and the most expensive, at an original 350 francs.

Moby-Dick or The Whale by Herman Melville. First edition. New York, Harper & Brothers; London, Richard Bentley, 1851 (HK$492,000)

This is the first American edition, in original binding with orange endpapers and the publisher's device stamped centrally on the sides. The American edition was the first to appear under the title Moby-Dick and was set from Melville's original manuscript. The Whale, issued shortly before in London, was set from New York sheets with Melville's alterations. This edition contains 35 passages not present in the English edition.

Emma by Jane Austen. First edition. London, John Murray, 1816 (HK$203,000)

Austen fell out with London publisher Thomas Egerton over the publication of Mansfield Park and transferred to John Murray, who published the second edition of that book and the first edition of Emma on the same terms: each was published at Austen's expense, with no profits to the author after payment of a 10 per cent commission to the publisher. The print run was 2,000.

Das Kapital by Karl Marx, various languages (price on request)

This is a collection of 16 versions of Das Kapital in various languages, including the first English and American editions of Marx's great work as well as the first Danish edition, the first complete Hungarian edition, and a rare first edition in Estonian. The text is a critical analysis of capitalism as political economy. Communist banknote autographed twice by Mao Zedong, 1942 (HK$5 million) This is a rare Chinese banknote issued by the Bank of Shaanganning Border Area, with a denomination of 100 yuan and dated 1942. It measures 77mm by 167mm and illustrates the local council assembly hall on one side, with the Yanan Pagoda mountain on the other. In circulation between 1941 and early 1943, these notes were recalled and exchanged for commercial currency on July 1, 1944. This note bears the signatures of four communist leaders: Mao Zedong, Zhu De, Huang Hua and Ma Haide.



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