book collectors' wanted list

Book collectors are offering the highest prices for rare history, science, and art books, leaving few fiction works on this month's Top 20 List compiled by online bookselling guru Steve Weber.

April's most highly sought-after book among online collectors is "Sketches from Venetian History" with a pricetag of $2,475. The two-volume set printed in 1834 details the history of Venice from its 1173 settlement until 1798.

Just two classic fiction works made this month's list, but the oldest is the 1822 novel "George Hamilton" by Lady Caroline Lamb.

Weber's list includes a nonfiction book that has become white-hot some 24 years after being self-published and largely ignored. Thanks to recent Internet chatter, buyers are offering $1,250 for a copy of "Some Things are Known." Dorothy Burdick financed the printing of her 1982 government-conspiracy story after publishers turned it down.

"People still collect the great novels, but with more folks getting into book collecting on the Internet, prices on scarce nonfiction books are skyrocketing," said Weber, author of "The Home-Based Bookstore."

Steve Weber's April Top 20 Most-Wanted List:

1. Sketches from Venetian History

Author: Edward Smedley (1834)

Price: $2,475

2. The Negro at Mound Bayou

Author: Aurelius Hood (1910)

Price: $2,300

3. The Tourist's Grammar, or Rules Relating to the Scenery and Antiquities Incident to Travelers

Author: Thomas Dudley Fosbroke (1829)

Price: $2,000

4. Travels and Adventures of Dr. Lynn

Author: H.S. Lynn (1882)

Price: $2,000

5. German-Americans in the World Wars

Au 00004000 thor: Don Heinrich Tolzmann (1998)

Price: $1,500


Author: Helmut Newton (2000)

Price: $1,500

7. Twenty-five Prints of Leopoldo Mendez

Author: Leopoldo Mendez (1943)

Price: $1,244.00

8. Such Things Are Known

Author: Dorothy Burdick (1982)

Price: $1,240.50

9. Sierra Nevada: The John Muir Trail

Author: Ansel Adams (1938)

Price: $1,200

10. Cerebellar cortex: Cytology and Organization

Author: Sanford Palay (1974)

Price: $1,000

11. Groups of Cattle, Drawn From Nature

Thomas Sidney Cooper (1839)

Price: $1,000

12. The New York Trilogy (Audiocassette)

Author: Paul Auster (1987)

Price: $1,000

13. A Very Good Way of Making Money

Author: Simon Haines (1990)

Price: $1,000

14. Synergetics Dictionary: The Mind of Buckminster Fuller

Author: E.J. Applewhite (1986)

Price: $1,000.00

15. Antonio Lopez Garcia

Author: Francisco Calvo Serraller, Edward Sullivan (1990)

Price: $1,000

16. Autobiographical Recollections of Sir John Bowring

Author: John Bowring (1877)

Price: $1,000

17. Souvenir of General Richard Gentry: A Missouri Pioneer and Soldier

Author: Thomas Benton Gentry (1899)

Price: $1,000

18. Weems's Simultaneous Star Altitude Curves

Author: P.V.H. Weems (1928)

Price: $1,000

19. A Monograph of the William K. Vanderbilt House

Author: John Vredenburgh Van Pelt (1925)

Price: $900.00

20. Graham Hamilton (1822)

Author: Caroline Lamb

Price: $900

About Steve Weber's Top 20 Most-Wanted List:

The list is based on offers from Internet book shoppers on and eBay, who are willing to buy these titles sight unseen from other collectors who agree to sell at a fixed price.

In the pre-Internet days, used bookshops kept a list like this, known as its "want list." For customers willing to spend enough, shop owners would thumb through rare-book catalogs, or even place long-distance phone calls to locate the book.

Today this collectors' market is dynamically updated on the Web. A real-time list of the top 35,000 most-wanted books is displayed at:

These books and others are routinely sold at varying prices at auction and at rare-book shops. Prices on this list are not expert appraised values. This list is not endorsed by Amazon or eBay.

The list is compiled by Steve Weber, author of "The Home-Based Bookstore: Start Your Own Business Selling Used Books on Amazon, eBay or Your Own Web Site" (ISBN 0977240606). For more information, see

Contact: Steve Weber, steve_weber (at sign)