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Collecting Books What To Collect

Madonna’s Sex Book

Madonna’s Sex book is one of the most iconic and resounding art projects conceived by the pop star. The photographs by Steven Meisel feature open-minded erotic imagery and sexual fantasies. It was released on October 21, 1992, as a sort of visual companion to her fifth studio album Erotica. In fact, a CD single with the song “Erotic” was included in the package, whose lyrics consist of passages from the book read by Madonna. The original price was $50 USD. 

Due to the great expectation the announcement provoked, Sex book sold over 150,000 copies on the day of its release, and topped The New York Times Best Seller list for three consecutive weeks. In only a few days, more than 1.5 million copies were sold worldwide, becoming the best-selling coffee table book of all time. Not surprisingly, the book was denounced by the Vatican. It was subsequently banned in India and Japan. 

The cover is made of aluminum, spiral bound, and wrapped in a silver mylar bag. It was edited by Glenn O’Brien and published by Warner Books. Fabien Baron was in charge of graphic design, which combined certain pages with collages, pages in both monochrome and full color, and handwritten and printed texts (some of them written by Madonna). All the different editions in other languages maintain the same appearance. 

American photographer Steven Meisel obtained great popularity and critical acclaim with the images taken for this work. Now he is considered one of the most relevant fashion photographers today. The book features not only Madonna, but also other artists and celebrities such as Naomi Campbell, Isabella Rossellini, Udo Kier, Tony Ward, Vanilla Ice, and Big Daddy Kane. 

The book’s cultural impact still resonates today, and it has become a cult collectible. To celebrate the 30-year anniversary of its publication, Sex was reissued by Yves Saint Laurent Rive Droite and published by Callaway. 800 copies were made of this edition, and a limited number were signed by Madonna and sold off at an auction for charity purposes. 

The re-edition was accompanied by an exhibition at Art Basel curated by Madonna and Anthony Vaccarello. 

What is the current value of Madonna’s Sex book? 

As one of the most desirable items for Madonna’s fans, Sex is also one of the most sought-after titles in the book-collecting market. Currently, a 1992 copy edition can be sold for up to several hundred USD. A US copy in the original unopened envelope can be found from $400 to $800 USD, although copies in other languages are less valuable. Signed copies of Madonna’s Sex book can reach several thousand dollars. The special YSL re-edition was sold for $2,200 dollars. 

Find Madonna’s Sex book for sale on BIBLIO, including first editions and sealed copies.

3 Comments

  • The value of this book is often overstated. Pre-owned copies are fairly common and selling for $50-$100, depending on condition and the urgency of the seller to part with it.

  • Can’t a proper appraisal be supplied by Biblio on ‘Madonna’s Sex book’ so that would-be buyers might have a glimpse at and into what they are buying rather than a couple of inadequate snippets-of-nothing? An illustrated inside look at the book alongside pages of blurb to read that Madonna has written is always a good vibe for any potential buyer of any book or books ~ ain’t it? Thanx

  • This book is what got me into bookselling. My wife and I bought 2 copies in 1992. One we opened. One we kept sealed. Around 1998 I decided to sell them both on eBay. I think I got a couple of hundred dollars, but after that I started looking around to see what other books I can sell. 25 years later and I’m still a bibliopole.

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