The 10 Most Expensive Books in the World

By Emily Temple

The astonishing prices people will pay to own a piece of human history

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On Friday, Christie's New York auctioned a copy of John James Audubon's Birds of America, which already holds the title of most valuable printed book in the world, having sold for about $11.5 million in 2010. In fact, according to The Economist, a true list of the ten most valuable single books ever sold would have to include five copies of The Birds of America. Though Friday's sale didn't break the record, the book still sold for a considerable sum: $7.9 million.

To help you brush up on your knowledge of the very old and very valuable, we've compiled a list of the ten most expensive books ever sold—no white gloves necessary. Look through our overview, and then head upstairs to check your attics for any forgotten dusty tomes—you could be a millionaire and not even know it.

This post also appears on Flavorpill, an Atlantic partner site.

Image credit: National Gallery

This article available online at:

http://www.theatlantic.com/entertainment/archive/2012/01/the-10-most-expensive-books-in-the-world/251828/