Frankly, that’s a monstrous amount of money

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Frankly, that’s a monstrous amount of money

One of the first 500 copies of ‘Frankenstein’, printed in 1818, has broken an auction record

Sunday Times Book Editor

It was breaking news this week in the book world - the first edition of Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein sold for a record-breaking $1.17m. That’s 17,279,496,00 ronds. It drives me nuts when people use the word ronds, but it seems apt here for emphasis on the ridiculous nature of currency. Apparently it was an “exceptionally rare” first edition and the record-breaking part is that it broke the world auction record for a printed work by a woman. 

So that made me curious. What was the most expensive book auctioned that was written by a non-woman? That was The Birds of America by John James Audubon, which sold in 2010 for $11.5m at Sotheby’s. That’s 169,876,275,00 ronds.

Why so much? Well maybe because it is considered art as well. Wiki explains it well: “The Birds of America is a book by naturalist and painter John James Audubon, containing illustrations of a wide variety of birds of the US. It was first published as a series in sections between 1827 and 1838, in Edinburgh and London. The work consists of 435 hand-coloured, life-size prints, made from engraved plates, measuring about 39 by 26 inches (99 by 66cm). Art historians describe Audubon's work as being of high quality and printed with ‘artistic finesse’.”..

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