Undoubtedly the most famous writer ever to come from Italy, the work of Dante has had a profound influence on the modern world. His works are considered to be the finest example of Italian literature, and he is one of the most important writers in human civilization. So, it's no surprise that demand for rare and antique copies of his work fetch record breaking prices when sold at auction.
Today, it is virtually impossible to buy an original piece written by Dante's own hand. Also, while he was a very accomplished writer and poet, his fame is almost exclusively due to one work, The Divine Comedy, divided into three parts. For collectors, the first part, The Inferno, seems to hold the most interest and of course, the highest price.
There are countless editions of The Inferno available with various illustrated covers and designs. While modern collectors editions can cost roughly between $300 to $500, older, leather bound copies dating from the 19th century can fetch up to $4000 if they are in fine condition.
Check out Abebook where there is currently an extremely rare 1697edition of The Divine Comedy, printed in Venice on sale for $55,000 with Sandro Botticelli inspired woodcuts.
Alighieri, Dante. Divina Commedia].. Antonio Zatta e figli, Venice (1784). 3 volumes; Engraved portrait medallion on title page of each volume;100 engraved half-page vignettes after Pietro Antonio Novelli; Text edited by Andrea Rubbi, with vocabulary notes by G. A. Volpi.
Alighieri, Dante. La Divina Commedia di Dante Aligheri. Presso Antonio Fulgoni, Roma (1791). Title page illustrations with two medallions and one engraving in each volume.
Alighieri, Dante. The Inferno of Dante Alighieri. Printed For James Carpenter, London (1805). 2 volumes; Italian and English text on facing pages; book advertisements at back of both volumes
Alighieri, Dante. La Divina Commedia. Vitarelli, Venezia (1811). Engraved frontispiece portrait and three engraved folding plates
Alighieri, Dante. La Divina Commedia col comento di G. Biagioli. Silvestri Giovanni, Milano (1820). 3 uniform volumes; text in Italian, with frontispiece in vol 1 and small portrait woodcut on title pages,
Alighieri, Dante. The vision of Hell and The vision of Purgatory and Paradise. Cassell, Petter and Galpin, London (1866). Translated by Henry Francis Cary Illustrated with the Designs of M. Gustave Dore.
Alighieri, Dante. Purgatory and Paradise New Edition with Critical and Explanatory Notes. Cassell, New York (1890). M. Gustave Dore (illustrator)
Alighieri, Dante. The New Life. George G. Harrap , London (1900). llustrated by Evelyn Paul in color. 8 tipped-in color plates
Alighieri, Dante. The Vision of Hell. Cassell, London (1903). 2 volumes; With Critical and Explanatory Notes, Life of Dante, and Chronology; 135 Gustave Dore engravings on plates
Alighieri, Dante. The Divine Comedy. Houghton Mifflin, Boston (1906). 6 Volumes Complete; 650 Copies; Illustrated by John Flaxman; Vol. I has a frontis. and 9 plates.
Alighieri, Dante. The Divine Comedy of Dante Alighieri. Limited Editions Club, New York (1932). Translated and annotated by Melville Best Anderson with an introduction by Arthur Livingston; Designed, printed on rag mould-made paper, and bound by Hans Mardersteig at the Officina Bodoni in Verona, Italy; 1500 copies; 15 Presentation Copies with the publisher's blindstamp on the colophon page.
Alighieri, Dante. The Divine Comedy. Grossman Publishers, New York. (1969). American illustrator, Leonard Baskin; The translation is by Thomas G. Bergin; 3 volumes; The drawings were reproduced by Meriden Gravure Company, under the supervision of Harold Hugo; Vol. 1 'Inferno' ; Vol. 2 'Purgatory' ; Vol. 3 'Paradise'
Alighieri, Dante. The Divine Comedy. Princeton University Press, Princeton, NJ (1977). 6 Volumes; The set consists of Inferno, Purgatorio and Paradiso and each of these has 2 parts: Italian Text and Translation and Commentary
Alighieri, Dante. The Stone Beloved. Kairos, Austin (1986). 150 copies; twenty-five copies signed by the artist; With 7 lithographs by Peter Nickel; Translated by Harry Duncan
Alighieri, Dante. Inferno. Folio Society, London (2004). William Blake (illustrator); translated by Henry Francis Carty Introduced by Robin Hamlyn