Even before posting our feature on the “The Poor Man’s Bible” last April and, more recently, “The priceless Gutenberg Bible” in September, the excitement surrounding rare religious books and, more specifically, old Bibles was on the rise. Collectors are increasingly pouring large sums of cash into ancient religious texts. The Rare Book Sale Monitor (RBSM) recorded “Religion & Theology,” our third most popular category, to move ahead of “Modern First Editions” in overall price increase during the 3rd quarter of 2012. For a synopsis of the religious rare book market please read our earlier post Rare Religious Books.
Last quarter, along with religious books, the popular category of Military, World History and Government that has been on fire since the second half of last year, continued its steady path to higher pricing. While it would be quite farfetched to attribute uncertainty of political climates around the world to be the driving force behind collectors’ interests in history and politics, a soft economic climate can definitely drive large investments from wealthy collectors to hard assets, such as rare books.
On this 50th year anniversary of a relatively unknown Scottish actor, Sean Connery hitting the big screen with the first character appearance of James Bond in a film titled Dr. No, we also have made the decision to make an adjustment to our RBSM author lineup. Ian Fleming, the charismatic author of a series of books that were eventually brought to the screen is now replacing Jonathan Swift whose, despite being very popular, works have not shown much price movement in either direction.
Ian Fleming’s first book from the series, Casino Royale, first edition was first published by Jonathan Cape in 1953. The book is very scarce, and continues to be one of the most valuable and collectible modern first edition to own, especially for the ones in a dust jacket. While James Bond film makers are finding it extremely challenging these days to keep the series going, one thing that is almost definite is that the Ian Fleming series of first editions will keep collectors’ interests going through and beyond the books’ 100th year anniversary.