Rare Book Monthly

Articles - January - 2013 Issue

The Arader Sale:  Learning the Hard Way

Guernsey81

Lot 81, Natural History makes history.

The Arader auction of maps, rare books and natural history engravings, watercolors and color plate books at Guernsey’s on December 5th has come and gone and the sale, much discussed ahead, is now the sale much dissected.  It was both a flagship success and a serious failure depending on your perspective.  It was a success because it raised two million dollars.  It was a failure because the total low estimate of all lots was $12 million.  It was arguably three sales and two events [morning and afternoon sessions], divided 46%/54% between unreserved and reserved lots.  One hundred and thirty-three lots sold, 108 with estimates of $10,000 and less, 25 of the remaining 161 lots with estimates over $10,000.

The sale was conducted by Guernsey’s on behalf of and on the premises of Arader Galleries at their 1016 Madison Avenue New York location.

The 294 lots were divided in 5 categories –

Audubon Plates and Books.  82 lots offered and 70 sold

Natural History.  68 lots offered and 21 sold

Maps, Globes and Atlases.  52 lots offered and 13 sold

New York Views and Maps.  60 lots offered and 20 lots sold

American and European Oil Paintings.  32 lots offered and 9 sold

In the weekly auction report issued by AE on – for the week ending December 8th this sale ranked 3rd by dollar volume among the 38 sales archived - $2,258,342.  By another measure however it was disappointing.  The total of the low estimates of all 294 lots was $12,803,000, the sale as a percentage of the total high estimate, a number we track across all completed sales every week, 17.6%, an extremely low percentage.  Auctions routinely sell 70% to 75%.

In some respects the sale was unique.  It was essentially a store sale conducted as an auction.  To do this a catalogue under the auspices of Guernsey’s was issued.  In it the Arader Gallery identified material and provided estimates that, for most lots with high estimates greater than $10,000, turned out to be more than bidders were prepared to pay.


Posted On: 2013-01-01 00:00
User Name: andyboybooks

Excellent Article.


Posted On: 2013-01-02 00:00
User Name: bfgrp

Once again, Graham Arader bravely has defied convention, conducting an auction at his premises, under his auspice. This innovative hallmark of indep


Posted On: 2013-01-02 00:00
User Name: bfgrp

Once again, Graham Arader bravely has defied convention, conducting an auction at his premises, under his auspice. This innovative hallmark of indep


Posted On: 2013-01-02 00:00
User Name: bfgrp

Once again, Graham Arader bravely has defied convention, conducting an auction at his premises, under his auspice. This innovative hallmark of indep


Rare Book Monthly

  • <b>Swann Auction Galleries, July 30:</b> Adam Smith, <i>Wealth of Nations,</i> first edition, descended from William Alexander, London, 1776. $70,000 to $90,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries, July 30:</b> George Gershwin, photograph signed & inscribed with autograph musical quotation, <i>An American in Paris,</i> 1928. $8,000 to $12,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries, July 30:</b> Friedrich Engels, <i>The Condition of the Working Class in England,</i> first edition, NY, 1887. $5,000 to $7,500.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries, July 30:</b> <i>Bury St. Edmunds Witch Trials,</i> first edition, London, 1682. $2,000 to $3,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries, July 30:</b> Robert Rey, <i>Estampes,</i> complete portfolio of 12 wood engravings, Paris, 1950. $12,000 to $18,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries, July 30:</b> Archive of 47 letters by Enrico Caruso to a lady friend, 1906-20. $7,000 to $10,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries, July 30:</b> Books of Hours in Flemish, Netherlands, 15th century. $8,000 to $10,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries, July 30:</b> Jack Kerouac, <i>Doctor Sax,</i> deluxe limited edition, signed, NY, 1959. $4,000 to $6,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries, July 30:</b> Walt Disney, signature on title-page of Ward Greene’s <i>Lady and the Tramp,</i> first edition, first printing. $3,000 to $4,000.

Article Search

Archived Articles

Ask Questions