Rare Book Monthly

Articles - April - 2018 Issue

A New Look for Old World Auctions

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The homepage of Old World Auctions' brand new website

Many of you have been members of Rare Book Hub for years now, and over that time, you have surely witnessed the site change and evolve. But we are certainly not the only business in the industry innovating and undergoing redesigns! Old World Auctions, the online-only auction house specializing in maps and cartography and run by Eliane and Jon Dotson, has just released a brand new iteration of their website and auction platform. I had a chance to catch up with Eliane on the phone this past month, and she walked me through some of the biggest changes they’ve made.

 

Old World Auctions’ previous website was built in the 1990s, so to say it was due for an overhaul is a major understatement. For Eliane, the age of the site was felt most in its lack of flexibility to add features or to fix things when inevitable bugs cropped up, but her customers had different issues with the original site. So, two years ago, the Dotsons surveyed their members asking for feedback, and with the new site’s deployment, buyers and sellers at Old World have been heard. Before I go into detail about what’s changed though, I should mention that some things remain the same. Their auctions still operate in the same manner, with an online catalog open for bidding for one to two weeks before auctions close at 10pm eastern time. Browsing and searching auctions, adding items to a Watch List, and a Bid Status List have all been carried over as well (though they’ve also been updated and overhauled). Existing login details have also not changed.

 

The most striking difference you’ll immediately notice when going to oldworldauctions.com is the aesthetic change. The site is modern, with a large and eye-catching slideshow of highlight lots from the current or most recently past auction. This works particularly well because of Old World’s map-centric offerings that are inherently visual. Going past the initial impression, the site has been vastly decluttered. Clear links for the company’s newsletter, registering to bid, and consigning material present themselves on the homepage, while links related to auctions and the user’s account are kept in dropdown menus accessible in the top right corner.

 

A wealth of new features has been added to the site, and this is a direct response to member feedback. Global keyword and advanced searches of both the current auction and past auction archive are now available. Eliane told me that the motivation for this, especially in providing a transparent and searchable auction archive, stems from the fact that “our goal is always to be as open and honest as possible to build trust with our customers.” Over sixty thousand previously auctioned lots are searchable going back to 1998, with estimates, prices, and images included for each. As an employee of a service that prides itself on providing transparency to all elements of the rare book field, I believe this is a great move for the industry.

 

The Bid Status List that existed on the old site remains, but it has been updated to provide real-time data and a live count-down clock for individual lots is now present. Color coding has also been added as clear indicators of status, whether above or below the reserve, or simply outbid. Members’ invoice histories are also now easily accessible back to 1999. And finally, the site is mobile friendly!

 

As someone who periodically handles tech support requests for Rare Book Hub, I am keenly aware that when websites undergo major change, there can be a bit of a learning curve. Old World Auctions knows this too, and they’ve created a YouTube channel with several information videos on important subjects: How to Bid, Managing a Watch List, and Bidding the During the 10-Minute Rule. If you have bid on their auctions in the past, or plan to in the future, I recommend watching their videos here. They total less than 15 minutes combined.

 

Website development and evolution is a process, and Old World Auctions is not done. In the coming months, more features will be added to the new site:

  • Additional search functionality, including searching within a price range, condition range, or date range (for the past auction archive)
  • Additional browse functionality to allow you to select how many lots are visible on a page at one time (currently the maximum is 50 per page)
  • Adding over 80,000 high-resolution images to the past auction archive

 

Old World Auctions’ next auction is scheduled to begin May 23rd and end June 6th. Their most recent sale ended March 28th, but they are currently conducting a post-auction sale of unsold items for reserve prices through April 4th.

Rare Book Monthly

  • <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
  • <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

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