Rare Book Monthly

Articles - March - 2017 Issue

The New York Book Fair March 9-12: the Big Casino

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Once a year in the western world the stars align over New York for the New York Antiquarian Book Fair.  It always feels exciting and this year is no exception though a few book collectors may be absent because of this year’s change of schedule.  You are reading about this in the March issue of Rare Book Monthly because the fair is a month earlier due to scheduling conflicts with the Armory and the Fair’s strong preference to continue there rather than face moving to a new and possibly less appealing venue.

 

Now, with these plans and commitments in place it’s next up to the audience to join the festivities.  And they should.  So, who qualifies?  Everyone with anything between an interest, a love or obsession for rare books and other collectible works on paper should attend. 

 

 And who will be there:  the best and brightest on both sides of the counters.  Many of the best and most ambitious dealers will be there.  On the other side luminaries, the industrious, the successful and the obsessed will be crowding around. 

 

As to why?

 

The Internet has made it possible to learn about all kinds of books, and available individual copies of them in written descriptions, but in replacing stores, it’s made it harder to actually see and evaluate them personally. So what to do about that?  See the dealer and the material in person and what better place to do it than in New York in the company of thousands of like-minded bibliophiles.  In person you’ll make a better decision.

 

 

As well, sometimes you feel alone in your collecting world.  In New York you won’t for newbies and experienced collectors, schoolteachers and billionaires, will be there to crowd the isles and add to the pleasant hum of a fair hitting on all cylinders.  Some visitors will come to search by subject and others; I think the majority, to see specific dealers to consider material the dealer has brought for them.  Taken together many, perhaps most guests will find things they want to take home.

  

The quality of the material cannot be overstated but, in some cases, so too may be the prices.  Dealers however, by and large, are very smart and will quickly understand your focus and your knowledge of value and pricing.  Discounts may apply but as was the case of the Groucho Marx TV show in the 1950’s you may need the say the magic word or in this case words, Is this your best price?  Dealers have come to sell and I assume you’ll be going to try to buy.  So, it’s okay to negotiate.

 

As to the quality of the material available also remember that these dealers are among the exceptional in the field.  They will bring extraordinary examples, many of them unique.  Such material warrants higher prices.  As a buyer you need to understand the premium they request.

 

This consistent very high quality, in part, explains why the New York book fair year in and year out does well:  buyers come to New York to find new material and dealers exhibit to find new customers.

 

So if I don’t buy will I have failed?

 

Absolutely not.  It takes time to understand the rare book world and dealers, by and large, do not try to help you see under the hood.  But visiting dealers and shows, reading their catalogues and online listings, and comparing their material and prices will give you an understanding over time.

 

So you may also say, I don’t think I need to go.  I’ll just follow the action online.  The answer is no.  It’s not the same.  You’re buying printed material and you should also be looking ahead to when you’ll need help.  We all do from time to time.  Knowing who to ask and who to trust, well, shows generally and the New York Antiquarian Book Fair in particular provide your best chance.

 

So plan to be there.  I’ll be there too on Thursday and Friday.  If you would like to meet call me at 415.823.6678.   We’ll find a few minutes to sit and talk.

 

As to the show here are the specifics:

 

   

Location

 

Park Avenue Armory

643 Park Avenue between 66/67 Streets

New York, New York

 

Days and Hours

 

Thursday March 9, 5-9 pm

Friday March 10, noon to 8 pm

Saturday March 11, noon to 7:00 pm

Sunday March 12, noon to 5:00 pm

 

Questions for the ABAA and their staff

 

Email:  info@sanfordsmith.com

Phone:  212.777.5218

 

Rare Book Monthly

  • <b>Doyle, April 25:</b> E.H. SHEPARD, Original drawing for A.A. Milne’s The House at Pooh Corner.<br>$40,000-60,000
    <b>Doyle, April 25:</b> BERNARD RATZER, Plan of the City of New York in North America, surveyed in the years 1766 & 1767. $80,000-100,000
    <b>Doyle, April 25:</b> THOMAS JEFFERSON, Autograph letter signed comparing Logan, Tecumseh, and Little Turtle to the Spartans. Monticello: 15 February 1821. $14,000-18,000
    <b>Doyle, April 25:</b> JOHN C. FREMONT, Narrative of the Exploring Expedition to the Rocky Mountains, in the Year 1842.. Abridged edition, the only one containing the folding map From the Sporting Library of Arnold “Jake” Johnson. $3,000-5,000
    <b>Doyle, April 25:</b> ZANE GREY, Album containing 94 large format photographs of Grey and party at Catalina Island, Arizona, and fishing in the Pacific. From the Sporting Library of Arnold “Jake” Johnson. $5,000-$8,000
    <b>Doyle, April 25:</b> WILLIAM COMBE, A History of Madeira ... illustrative of the Costumes, Manners, and Occupations of the Inhabitants. produced by Ackermann in 1821; From the Sporting Library of Jake Johnson. $2,000-$3,000
    <b>Doyle, April 25:</b> ERIC TAVERNER, Salmon Fishing... One of 275 copies signed by Taverner, published in 1931,From the Sporting Library of Jake Johnson. $2,000-$3,000
    <b>Doyle, April 25:</b> JOHN WHITEHEAD, Exploration of Mount Kina Balu, North Borneo. Whitehead reached the high point of Kinabalu in 1888. Part of a major group of travel books from the Sporting Library of Jake Johnson. $2,000-$3,000
    <b>Doyle, April 25:</b> JOHN LONG, Voyages and Travels of an Indian Interpreter and Trader, describing the Manners and Customs of the North American Indians... The first edition of 1791. $3,000-$5,000
    <b>Doyle, April 25:</b> SAMUEL BECKETT, Stirrings Still. This, Beckett’s last work of fiction with original lithographs by Le Brocquy, limited to 200 copies signed by the author and the artist. From the Estate of Howard Kaminsky.. $1,500-$2,500
  • <b>19th Century Shop:</b> Charles Darwin on sexuality and the transmission of hereditary characteristics: Autograph Letter Signed to Lawson Tait. Down, 17 January [1877].
    <b>19th Century Shop:</b> MILTON, JOHN. <i>Paradise Lost. A Poem written in ten books.</i> London: 1667. A very rare example with the contemporary binding untouched and with a 1667 title page.
    <b>19th Century Shop:</b> Hamilton secures the ratification of the Constitution: <i>The Debates and Proceedings of the Convention of the State of New-York, assembled at Poughkeespsie, on the 17th June, 1788.</i>
    <b>19th Century Shop:</b> The social contract “Man is born free, and everywhere he is in chains”: ROUSSEAU, JEAN-JACQUES. <i>Principes du Droit Politique [Du Contract Social]</i>. Amsterdam: Michel Rey, 1762
    <b>19th Century Shop:</b> “The first English textbook on geometrical land-measurement and surveying”: BENESE, RICHARD. <i>This Boke Sheweth the Maner of Measurynge All Maner of Lande…</i>
  • <b>Swann Auction Galleries Apr 26:</b> Jacques-Émile Ruhlmann, wallpaper sample book, circa 1919. $15,000 to $25,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Apr 26:</b> Archive from a late office of the Breuer & Smith architectural team, New York, 1960-70s. $3,500 to $5,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Apr 26:</b> William Morris, <i>The Story of the Glittering Plain or the Land of Living Men,</i> illustrated by Walter Crane, Kelmscott Press, Hammersmith, 1894. $2,500 to $3,500.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Apr 26:</b> Gustave Doré, <i>La Sainte Bible selon la Vulgate,</i> Tours, 1866. $15,000 to $25,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Apr 26:</b> Gustav Klimt & Max Eisler, <i>Eine Nachlese,</i> complete set, Vienna, 1931. $15,000 to $25,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Apr 26:</b><br>Eric Allatini & Gerda Wegener, <i>Sur Talons Rouges,</i> with original watercolor by Wegener, Paris, 1929. $5,000 to $7,500.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Apr 26:</b><br>C.P. Cavafy, <i>Fourteen Poems,</i> illustrated & signed by David Hockney, London, 1966. $5,000 to $7,500.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Apr 26:</b> Jean Midolle, <i>Spécimen des Écritures Modernes...</i>, Strasbourg, 1834-35. $3,000 to $4,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Apr 26:</b><br>E.A. Seguy, <i>Floréal: Dessins & Coloris Nouveaux,</i> Paris, 1925. $3,000 to $4,000.
  • <b>Bonhams: Results from Fine Books and Manuscripts on March 9, 2018</b>
    <b>Bonhams, Mar. 9:</b> BEETHOVEN, LUDWIG VAN. Autograph Manuscript sketch-leaf part of the score of the Scottish Songs, "Sunset" Op. 108 no 2. [Vienna, February 1818]. Inscribed by Alexander Wheelock Thayer. SOLD for $131,250
    <b>Bonhams, Mar. 9:</b> Violin belonging to Albert Einstein, presented to him by Oscar H. Steger, 1933. SOLD for $516,500
    <b>Bonhams, Mar. 9:</b> EINSTEIN, ALBERT. Autograph Letter Signed ("Papa") to his son Hans Albert, discussing his involvement with the atomic bomb, September 2, 1945. SOLD for $106,250
    <b>Bonhams: Results from Fine Books and Manuscripts on March 9, 2018</b>
    <b>Bonhams, Mar. 9:</b> HAMILTON, ALEXANDER. Autograph Letter Signed, to Baron von Steuben, with extensive notes of Von Steuben's aide Benjamin Walker, June 12, 1780. SOLD for $16,250
    <b>Bonhams, Mar. 9:</b> NEWTON, ISAAC. Autograph Manuscript in Latin, being detailed instructions on making the philosopher's stone. 8 pp. 1790s. SOLD for $275,000
    <b>Bonhams, Mar. 9:</b> 1869 Inauguration Bible of President Ulysses S. Grant. SOLD for $118,750

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