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Tuesday, May 26, 2009


In early 2007 I posted about the $836.00 winning bid for Peter Zumthor Works on ebay. At that time sellers on were asking $974.73 for the first edition (red cover) of Thinking Architecture, another highly-prized, out-of-print title by the Swiss architect. But now that Mr. Zumthor has won the Pritzker Prize, the price of that slim volume has changed...dramatically. As of last night two sellers are vying for collectors of first editions, with only one penny separating the two:

[not sure why the author is "Princeton Arch Staff", given that the publisher is Lars Muller and the author is, obviously, Peter Zumthor.]

I held on to Thinking Architecture, even after wondering a couple years ago if I should sell my copy for close to a grand and then go see some Zumthor buildings in person. These prices make me think I made the right decision, but on second thought I don't think the title will fetch two grand. Will somebody really pay that much for this first edition? More specifically, will architects -- really the only audience for the book -- pay that much? Not likely.


  1. I wish I had invested in a copy of that book during my undergrad - it could help pay off a big part of my student loans.

    -Lucas Gray

  2. As you imply, a lot of the prices you get on / marketplace are pie in the sky stuff, often listed by big book companies who don't even have a copy of the book but which have automated 'listing bots' who scan amazon marketplace to see what their competitors are selling and then offer it a cent or a penny cheaper in order to get the "low price" icon next to their listing. a price offered is very different from a price achieved, and i can't see anyone in their right mind paying US$2K for a copy of Thinking Architecture, particularly given you can obtain a more recent edition for about US$20 and it isn't *actually* that amazing a book.

  3. I have wanted to buy Zumpthor's Works book for several years but refuse to pay this much for it. Given the price it is fetching, it is certainly popular. Why, oh why, won't the publisher make the book available again??


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