Charles Baudelaire rare books and memorabilia


2015-06-26 11:22:16

Charles Baudelaire rare books and memorabilia

Charles Baudelaire rare books and memorabilia are collectible items relating to French poet Charles Pierre Baudelaire (1821-1867).


Brief History/biography

Baudelaire was a hugely influential poet and essayist, as well as being a significant translator of Edgar Allen Poe into French. His most famous poetry collection is the controversial Les Fleurs du mal, which describes the alterations in the notion of beauty in the increasingly industrialised Paris of the 19th century. His poetry on subjects of love, marriage, the artist, pleasure, politics and philosophy, and particularly his portrayal of the rise of urban industrial modernity in the city were vastly influential, and he is considered one of the most important French literary figures in history.

Types of rare books and memorabilia


Bloomsbury Auctions

  • Les Fleurs du Mal second edition, plus an entire collection of manuscript material with corrections and underlinings, sold for £10,000 in May 2011.


  • Richard Wagner et Tannhauser a Paris (1861) signed by Baudelaire, and Les Paradis Artificiels. Opium et Haschisch (1861). First editions, together sold for 72,250 Euros in November 2007.
  • Les Fleurs du Mal first edition (1858), sold for 18,250 Euros in November 2007, 24,000 Euros in November 2006, 21,250 Euros in Novmber 2009, £35,850 in June 2004, and 58,750 Euros in June 2004.
  • Poemes (1933), edition with Charles Despiau’s illustrations, sold for 19,200 Euros in May 2006.


  • Les Fleurs du Mal first edition (1857), with seven autograph letters concerning its publication. Sold for 156,000 Euros in June 2007.
  • Salon de 1846 (1846), first edition, inscribed by the author, sold for 60,000 Euros in June 2007.
  • Salon de 1845 (1845), first edition, signed with his pseudonym, with an original sketch by Delacroix, sold for 31,200 Euros in June 2007.

Documents, Autographs, Photographs and other items


  • Photograph portrait of Charles Baudelaire by Etienne Carjat, sold for £2,280 in March 2011.
  • Autograph letter to a friend from Baudelaire, sold for $3,416 in April 2011.


  • Various autographed letters, signed by Baudelaire, sold for £13,200 in July 2007, 25,000 Euros in November 2011, 26,650 Euros in November 2007, and 30,250 Euros in November 2007.


  • Photograph portrait of Charles Baudelaire by Charles Neyt, inscribed to his publisher, sold for 96,000 Euros in June 2007.
  • Previously unpublished crayon sketch of Baudelaire by Felix Regamey (1864), sold for 24,000 Euros in June 2007.
  • The first known autograph letter of Baudelaire, aged 11, sold for 12,000 Euros in June 2007.

Guide for collectors

First editions of Les Fleurs du Mal are the most collected of Baudelaire’s works, and are very valuable. There are copies from both 1857 and 1858 that claim to be first editions, so it is worth checking carefully with each copy. The website includes useful information about different editions. Other more scarce works of Baudelaire are also extremely highly valued amongst collectors.

Often, copies of Baudelaire’s works accompanied by personal items, letters, illustrations connected to the literature, go up for sale, and render the items more valuable.

Baudelaire is a significant figure in French and literary history, and therefore items relating to himself, his life and his influence, such as photographs and signatures are extremely valuable and sought-after.

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