12 January 2007

The Arabian Nights. Book of the Thousand Nights and a Night.

I am trying to limit the number of multiple volume works. Often there are several different desirable editions. However we have done Proust so today are going for a Burton. John Simpson (our fearless white suited warzone reporter) in a recent article on book collecting reckons he hit a shop in USA with shelves of Burton firsts but the owner said "he wouldn't sell them to me for a dollar under their market value" because he thought Burton was Elizabeth Taylor's husband. What?!

THE ARABIAN NIGHTS. Book of the Thousand Nights and a Night. A Plain and Literal Translation of the Arabian Nights Entertainments. Translated and Annotated by Richard F. Burton. Burton Club (no place noted) (1903) 17 Volumes

Much wanted in any edition although the 17 vol Burton Club edition is possibly the most fancied and appeared in 1000 copies only with the now rare 99 copy issue with a page of RFB's holograph manuscript (often missing) and some hand colouring. It can also appear in a handsome wooden traveling box for the touring roué. This is sometimes referred to as a 'mahogany casket.' The Benares edition and the Kamashastra edition which both precede the Burton Club edition are also much wanted, the latter being a Smithers production. Later sets include an unpleasant Easton edition in 'sumptuous' leather and a decent cloth facsimile in 17 vols lettered in gilt, and silver for the supplements. This edition used to be in almost every US used book shop for around $100. A good read.

Current Selling Prices
$3000+ / £1500+

VALUE? The Burton Club 1903 limited edition (1000) set is seldom less than $2000 and limpid sets rise to several K, the limited with the MS page about $20K and nice Kamashastra sets at well over $1000. Often elaborately rebound. Want level 50-75 High

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