The Associated Press reports this week that a first edition of the Nicolaus Copernicus book declaring it is the sun – and not the earth – that is at the center of the universe went for more than $2.2 million at Christie's auction in New York. The 1543 edition of "On the Revolutions of the Heavenly Spheres" was one of among more than 300 on the bidding block Tuesday.
Another rare collectible fetching a high bid ($170, 500) was an 1878 New Haven, Conn., phone book issued two years after "Alexander Graham Bell invented the telephone." However, if you remember, dear readers, that Bell's claim to fame was decidedly called into question earlier this year with the release of The Telephone Gambit by Seth Shulman. It seems changing the course of history can take some time. But if you are patient, it might just pay off.
So does this mean those piles of books stuffed in your basement or attic might be valuable someday? Probably not. But allowing them to collect dust in your house or simply throwing them away might not be their best use. That's what a Minnesota elementary school teacher decided when she learned last year's textbooks were headed for the furnace. Now those retired schoolbooks are on their way across the ocean through a program called Books for Africa.
A free book and the knowledge that comes with it is priceless. So get those books packing.
Marjorie Kehe is on vacation this week.