Books at auction is not a new idea but rather one factor in the complex evolutionary chain that a hundred years ago efficiently recycled material from collectors to dealers who resold it. And since 1980, what had been a wholesale market for dealers, began to become the retail market it is today.
Along the way many factors changed. Databases exploded and most people with books of value consult them today. These databases have also made it possible to identify the scale of non-standard subjects that are becoming the focuses of choice for many new collectors. How is this done? By developing a series of search terms and running these searches on a trial and error basis for a few months to see how much related material comes up. Where? You can run these searches for free in the for sale listings on Abebooks, Biblio, Rare Book Hub, or the ABAA. Soon you’ll sense the pace at which new, relevant material emerges in dealer listings. Others will focus on the Single Search on Rare Book Hub that runs your terms against all posted upcoming auction lots or, about 10,000 every week. A smaller, but more serious, group will subscribe to the Transaction Database to evaluate what the full range of relevant material [as defined by your search terms] that has appeared at public auction over the past one hundred years that includes, along with probability of reappearance, current estimated value. In other words, you can define your collecting scope and project the cost and time, measured in months and years, to build your collection knowing much of the material will come up at auction within 2 to 5 years.
BUT, the emerging new collector is not involved every day and needs more time to capture the details of upcoming lots. For them the current 10 day first post-to-sale approach is simply often too brief. For them, sales that are posted 25 days ahead are the solution.
For the auction field I have no doubt the current 10 day cycle is convenient but, as the best outcomes at auction for consignors are higher prices and, for collectors, more time to find and evaluate material of interest, it seems highly appropriate to increase the post-to-sale to 25 days.
It will happen and it’s rather simple. Post your lot details earlier and then stand back to watch the bidding broaden and the prices rise.