Rare Book Monthly

Articles - September - 2018 Issue

Saturday Morning on Mainline Television

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Many auctions, millions of dollars - for old and rare cars impeccably maintained or restored

On a recent Saturday, flipping through the now hundreds of TV channels looking for something worth watching I chanced across the future of important rare and collectible paper auctions.  There, at noon on the NBC affiliate covering the San Francisco Bay Area was an auction, yes an auction.

 

It was the Saturday Mecum Car Auction at Pebble Beach held during the antique car get-together where astounding classic cars are sold for even more astounding prices.  Pride of place during the weekend show went to a car that wasn’t made until I was sixteen years old, a 1962 Ferrari GTO 250 that brought $48.4 million.  More to my taste, if not my pocketbook, was a 1935 Duesenberg SSJ that changed hands for $22 million.  Personally, I preferred the 1934 Packard Twelve Individual Custom Convertible Victoria that sold for $3,745,000.  That would have been an excellent car for dating in my teens. 

 

What’s interesting about these sales is that if NBC can show a car auction it’s also possible for rare books to be on mainline television.  So, what would it take?

 

For starters it’s all about money, both the highest values and the number of lots showcased during say an hour.  The cars I watched each spent about five minutes in the pits.  For rare books, given that the values will be lower, the flow would need to be closer to one minute and even then, the material would need to be exalted, probably a ten-million-dollar minimum.

 

So, are there enough very valuable items that could be sold in that hour?   Yes but inevitably it will take not only exalted but also very famous material and that means we may not see a rare book auction on main line television until a Gutenberg Bible is offered.  The next copy, assuming it is sumptuous and very original, should bring fifty million dollars.

 

Such a sale would be very good both for the trade and for book collecting.  With all the collecting and gaming opportunities that abound book collecting can look like Grandpa’s thing.  But if rare books, maps, manuscripts and ephemera can break into the space where the current and future generations of collectors are relaxed and open to new perspectives collectible paper will make a very good case. 

 

Those of us of a certain age know that such material is exceptionally satisfying to study and collect.  Our challenge has long been attracting the attention of future collectors.

 

Therefore, if you have a Gutenberg, and understand it is different from a Duesenberg, think about selling it and suggesting the auction house you select use an hour of mainline television to showcase the experience to the emerging next generation of collectors.

 

It will make a difference.


Posted On: 2018-09-01 10:09
User Name: gallery18

Live-streaming of some auctions is already well established online. With the addition of enhanced production values and commentary and, yes, some stage craft, there's every potential for auctions to become engaging TV fare. In fact, I'm surprised we've not yet seen the creation of a dedicated Auction Channel.


Posted On: 2018-09-01 14:06
User Name: henryberry

As I've often said to my friends and colleagues in the ephemera and antiquarian book trade in and around Connecticut, one of my disappointments with this field is the lack of publicity and promotion in the media, or often amateurish or dull articles when they are seen. Though I'm seeing over the past couple of years much improved efforts, for example with some book shows and some dealers. Long involved in the field, just yesterday I created a blog named Ephemera Today (https://ephemeratoday.blogspot.com). I was inspired not only because of my indefatigable curiosity in books, maps, archival material, etc. — chronic reader, peering into any book I see disease, poring over areas of maps and their design malady, and such — but also because I would like to be doing something to spread news and reports about the commercial value of these materials. Being in the field entails not only challenges regarding knowledge, expertise, and the gaining of relevant experience, but also for serious dealers an investment mindset taking into consideration current and future market conditions, the relationship between social interests and sometimes mores and the affect of this on market value, and risk-reward calculations. I unapologetically bring together items of significant cultural worth and commercial value for such, though do not equate the two since a lot of this has to do with current and changing social interests, events, and demographics (i. e., generational preferences). I could go on... My first article at Ephemera Today to be written over the weekend and posted no later than Monday afternoon is titled "Uncertainties in the Black Americana Market." I'm interested in hearing from others about little-known or recently discovered ephemera, stories of discoveries, ideas for marketing, shaping one's business and managing inventory, emerging markets, and other topics of interest to dealers and the public (henryberryinct@gmail.com).


Posted On: 2018-09-03 01:05
User Name: hermeticsurveyor

Recently I spent some time on youtube looking at videos about book collecting. Almost without exception they were atrociously boring! Talking heads in front of a wall of books is boring, no?

Since then I've hired a videographer and we will experiment, there must be better ways of showing the world how fascinating old books and documents are. One of my favorite vidoes is the episode Anthony Bourdain did inside one of Zubal's warehouses, with the pipes still full of Twinky cream! Here is the 4 min vid. http://www.zubalbooks.com/article-anthony-bourdain.jsp


Rare Book Monthly

  • <b>Swann Auction Galleries, Feb 21:</b> NASA archive with 351 photographs, silver & chromogenic prints, 1960-2002. $6,000 to $9,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries, Feb 21:</b> Edward S. Curtis, suite of 18 cyanotypes, 1910-14. $25,000 to $35,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries, Feb 21:</b> Edward S. Curtis, <i>Horse Capture, Atsina,</i> unique copper plate for <i>The North American Indian,</i> 1908. $60,000 to $90,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries, Feb 21:</b> John Whipple, <i>Harriet Beecher Stowe,</i> salted print from a calotype negative, 1853. $10,000 to $15,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries, Feb 21:</b> Lewis Carroll, <i>Xie Kitchen,</i> albumen print, circa 1872. $8,000 to $12,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries, Feb 21:</b> Ansel Adams, <i>Taos Pueblo,</i> limited, signed first edition of the artist's first book, 12 silver bromide prints, 1930. $30,000 to $45,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries, Feb 21:</b><br>JFK in his motorcade about 2 mins before his assassination, chromogenic print, 1963. $2,000 to $3,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries, Feb 21:</b> Anton Guilio Bragaglia, 6 photomechanical postcards with facsimile signatures, 1911-13, printed 1932. $30,000 to $45,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries, Feb 21:</b> Société Anonyme, Inc, group of 9 postcards, including 8 real photo postcards, 1920-30. $25,000 to $35,000.
  • <b>Bonhams, Mar 12:</b> Walt Whitman. <i>Leaves of Grass.</i> First edition, first issue, SIGNED in block letters by Whitman. 1855. $200,000 to $300,000
    <b>Bonhams, Mar 12:</b> Isaac Newton's copy of John Greave's <i>Pyramidographia,</i> London, 1646. $50,000 to $70,000
    <b>Bonhams, Mar 12:</b> Colonel John Mosby. Robert E. Lee's autograph letter to Samuel Cooper reporting on Mosby's exploits, with Cooper's autograph note ordering his appointment to Major.
    <b>Bonhams, Mar 12:</b> Gyula Halasz Brassai. Large archive of autograph and typed letters, over 260, to his family including his wife Gilberte, 1947-1978. $40,000 to $60,000
    <b>Bonhams, Mar 12:</b> Archive of drawings and letters from Harper Lee to Charles Carruth, including an inscribed first edition of <i>To Kill a Mockingbird.</i> $20,000 to $30,000
    <b>Bonhams, Mar 11:</b> VESALIUS, ANDREAS. 1514-1564. <i>De humani corporis fabrica libri septem.</i> Basel: Johannes Oporinus, June 1543. $300,000 to $500,000
    <b>Bonhams, Mar 11:</b> HARVEY, WILLIAM. 1578-1657. <i>De motu cordis & sanguinis in animalibus Anatomica Exercitatio.</i> Leiden: Joannis Maire, 1639. $25,000 to $35,000
    <b>Bonhams, Mar 11:</b> BERENGARIO DA CARPI, GIACOMO. 1460-1530. <i>Isagogae breves perlucide ac uberrimae in Anatomiam humani corporis.</i> Bologna: Benedictus Hectoris, 15 July 1523. $15,000 to $25,000
    <b>Bonhams NY, Mar 11:</b> FRANKLIN, BENJAMIN. 1706-1790. <i>Experiments and Observations on Electricity, made at Philadelphia in America…</i> London, 1769. $10,000 to $15,000
    <b>Bonhams NY, Mar 11:</b> BENIVIENI, ANTONIO. 1443-1502. <i>De abditis nonnullis ac mirandis morborum et sanationum causis.</i>Florence: Filippo Giunta, 1507. $8,000 to $12,000
  • <b>Christie’s Paris, 20 Feb:</b> BELON. <i>L’Histoire de la nature des oyseaux.</i> Paris : Corrozet, 1555. $17,000 to $23,000
    <b>Christie’s Paris, 20 Feb:</b> MIOMANDRE – BARBIER. <i>Dessins sur les danses de Vaslav Nijinsky.</i> Paris. 1913. $23,000 to $34,000
    <b>Christie’s Paris, 20 Feb:</b> HOKUSAI. <i>Fugaku Hyakkei, Edo : Nishimura Yûzô.</i> 1834-1875. $58,000 to $80,000
    <b>Christie’s Paris, 20 Feb:</b> EDWARDS. <i> <br>A Natural History of Uncommon Birds…</i> London : Printed for the Author. 1743-1764. $35,000 to $46,000
    <b>Christie’s Paris, 20 Feb:</b> VESALIUS. <i><br> De Humane Corporis Fabrica libri septem...</i> Basle : J. Oporinus. 1555. $58,000 to $80,000
  • <b>Morton Subastas on Bidsquare:</b><br>Die Französische Expedition gegen Mexico /Beilagen zum Beiheft des Militair - Wochenblattes
    <b>Morton Subastas on Bidsquare:</b><br>The Architecture Of M. Vitruvius Pollio. London, 1791.
    <b>Morton Subastas on Bidsquare:</b> Estatuto Provisional del Imperio Mexicano. México: Imprenta de Andrade y Escalante, 1865.
    <b>Morton Subastas on Bidsquare:</b> Historia de Méjico... México, 1849 - 1852.
    <b>Morton Subastas on Bidsquare:</b> Juárez, Benito - Ogazón, Pedro. Legajos de Bandos del Estado de Guadalajara, 1860-1863.
    <b>Morton Subastas on Bidsquare:</b> Sigüenza y Góngora, Carlos. Mapa de las Aguas que por el Círculo de 90 Leguas Vienen a la Laguna de Tescuco... Méx, 1748.
    <b>Morton Subastas on Bidsquare:</b> Cruces y Campa / Aubert / Valleto. Pareja Imperial, Fusilamiento de Maximiliano, Tipos Mexicanos... ca,1875.
  • <b>Bonhams: Treasures from the Eric C. Caren Collection: How History Unfolds on Paper, Part VII (Online). March 6-14, 2019
    <b>Bonhams, Mar 6-14:</b> Albert Einstein A remarkable letter on God in English, one of his most eloquent and quoted, 1 p, July 2, 1945. $100,000 to $150,000.
    <b>Bonhams, Mar 6-14:</b> Benjamin Lincoln's commission as Major General in the Continental Army, February 19th, 1777. $60,000 to $90,000.
    <b>Bonhams, Mar 6-14:</b> Broadside. A Poem Upon the Bloody Engagement That Was Fought on Bunker's-Hill. 1775. $15,000 to $25,000.
    <b>Bonhams, Mar 6-14:</b> Early, full printing of the Star-Spangled Banner in The Yankee, October 7, 1814. $8,000 to $12,000.
    <b>Bonhams, Mar 6-14:</b> Paul Revere. Engraving, “The Boston Massacre Perpetrated on March 5, 1770," in <i>Massachusett's Calendar 1772.</i> $8,000 to $12,000.

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