The ultimate library for Palm Beach bibliophiles has set up shop on Worth Avenue. Matthew Raptis started his company, Raptis Rare Books, 16 years ago with the goal of turning his passion for the written word into a full-time career. Specializing in first editions, the Raptis inventory includes between 4,000 to 5,000 books at any given time, ranging from the Nuremberg Chronicles printed in the late 1490s to Adam Smith’s 1776 economic magnum opus Wealth of Nations to a first edition of To Kill a Mockingbird inscribed by author Harper Lee. “It’s amazing to actually open up the pages and see the books as they were when they first entered into the world,” says Raptis, who travels extensively in order to augment his offerings. “I’ve been to 75 countries and all the corners of the globe searching for books.” While the Raptis Rare Books collection is constantly changing, here are five first editions we’d love to add to our dream bookshelf.
- Moby Dick by Herman Melville, 1851, $65,000. Melville’s classic tale of captain Ahab’s white whale flopped upon release, and he eventually gave up writing professionally in order to earn a living as a customs inspector.
- The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain, 1885, $10,000. Ernest Hemingway once described Twain’s Huckleberry Finn as the book that inspired all modern literature.
- Etiquette: The Blue Book of Social Usage by Emily Post, 1922, $5,000. A must-read for any natty Palm Beacher, Post’s guide to proper decorum was an instant best-seller, one that has been updated throughout the decades to address modern etiquette issues.
- The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald, 1925, $100,000. The Great Gatsby barely made a blip on the literary radar during its initial release, but its fate turned around during WWII when it was distributed to soldiers as a free paperback.
- Where the Sidewalk Ends by Shel Silverstein, 1974, $20,000. Every copy of this collection of kid-friendly rhymes is a gem, but the first edition available at Raptis Rare Books features an additional poem handwritten by the bard himself.