Penthesilea by Heinrich von Kleist, pictures by Maurice Sendak, translated by Joel Agee. Hardcover published 1998 (first edition).
Sometimes I stumble on something that I think is VERY special... “Heinrich Von Kleist was virtually forgotten until the beginning of ” the 20th century, “when Rilke, Kafka and Thomas Mann hailed him as a master of German prose and European dramatic literature”… but lets be honest, what is really interesting about this book is not the author, it’s the illustrator. Maurice Sendak is well known… ok maybe “super” well known, for his illustrations and the writing of childrens books. I didn’t even realize that he had done any adult illustration, but here they are in all their glory. This is the sort of book that catches the eye and interest as its something a little out of the ordinary.
Its value isn’t enormous, $15 to $30 on Abe, which is still a nice price. Anyway I was getting this book ready for sale and began writing a description. I like to be detailed in my descriptions (I think I’ve written about this before), as I don’t want any buyer to be disappointed with some undeclared wear, so everything I notice gets mentioned…. creases, marks, gift inscriptions, signed copies…. What? Its signed? Maurice Sendak signed this book? Yes. First thing I do is check one of the many signature/autograph websites to confirm that it is his signature and yep it’s him.
I was (am) truly flabbergasted. The guy who created Max signed this book. So I go back to Abe and check the value of a signed copy. If the translator had of signed it, it would be worth $44 (no hard feelings buddy, but you aint Maurice)… Maurice signs it and its listed at $250. I need to stumble more often.