Rare Book Monthly

Articles - March - 2020 Issue

The 53rd International Antiquarian Book Fair at Pasadena


The Pasadena Show: professional and interesting

The California Book Fair is a rite of passage for collectors on the west coast and as always, the event was very professional, well lighted and spaciously laid out in the Pasadena Convention Center.  For private and institutional collectors this environment confers a very positive impression of book, manuscript, map and ephemera as mainline serious focuses.


This year’s Pasadena Fair was a magnet for many of the most important dealers across 25 of the American states and around the globe 40 international dealers from 11 countries based in the EU along with a handful of others from Argentina, Australia and Canada.


Logistically this fair is a remarkable experience.


For dealers it’s a significant financial commitment.  Altogether there is the cost of one or more booths, inventory is selected and shipped, along with manpower, transportation and hotel costs.  Such commitments clearly involve thousands of decisions that fit all the many complex factors and elements to convert complicated business judgments into financial success.  It’s very impressive.


One stark omission however is a unified event database of all material that these dealers are stocking and presenting.  The math is straightforward.  Typically dealers have extensive inventories but because of the logistics of choosing and transporting inevitably they select a small percentage of their stock for display.  For this event the math works out to perhaps about 250 items on average selected for each of the 167 exhibiting dealers.  So altogether in the show about 41,750 items are stocked and displayed.  It’s a wow number.


However an immense opportunity is missed for these dealers because the incremental 250 items physically present for each dealer is only about 2% of their actual holdings – that I estimate to be about 20,000 items each on average.  Hence these 167 exhibiting dealers typically have more than 3,340,000 items.  A show database with all this material would transform each dealer’s experience; creating inquiries and transactions many times greater than a show generally generates.


The show database ideally would be posted on the event’s website 30 days ahead of the event’s opening.  Then this database will let the motivated public run searches and mark interesting material within two categories; material to be on physical display as well as the exhibitors’ full inventories to be investigated and discussed and subsequently shipped to buyers.  Between these two processes this will substantially increase sales and participation.


Hence material would be characterized as physically present [41,750] as other items also available [3,298,250] that can be color coded as customarily shipped in 1 to 3 weeks.


And of course, many expressions of interest will convert into mail order transactions.  For the recent fair it had the feel of total sales totaling $2,000,000.  With the database installed on the show website I estimate another $2,000,000 will be generated.


Such a resource will be useful to the thousands who visit the fair because their principal purpose of joining the fair is to buy.  So both sides will win, the dealers create additional sales and visitors find additional material they want.


Clearly, the number of transactions will increase exponentially.


Looking ahead,  such a database will materially transform the fair experience.


Based to these ideas a survey is posted on a separate article titled Here are your thoughts on how to enhance the client/dealer show experience.

Posted On: 2020-03-11 15:53
User Name: Fattrad1


We have searchable inventory up everyday, the book fair experience is for the collector or institution to discover the treasure that they did not even know to search for. Should some promoter ever decide to establish this database, they can count on us not participating.


Rare Book Monthly

  • <b>Swann Auction Galleries:</b> Abraham Lincoln, <i>Emancipation Proclamation by the President of the United States,</i> pamphlet, 1862. $10,000 to $15,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries:</b> Family papers of the distinguished Ruby-Jackson family, Portland, Maine, 1853-1961. $3,000 to $4,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries:</b> Family papers of the Confederate Vice President Alexander Stephens & the persons who served him, 1866-1907. $25,000 to $35,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries:</b> Autograph book with inscriptions by orators Moses Roper & Peter Williams, 1821-54. $10,000 to $15,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries:</b> Archive of letters, postcards, and greeting cards sent by Romare Bearden, 1949-87. $5,000 to $7,500.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries:</b><br>E. Simms Campbell, <i>A Night-Club Map of Harlem,</i> in inaugural issue of Manhattan, 1933. $10,000 to $15,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries:</b> Papers of the comedian Nipsey Russell, including a letter from MLK, 1929-2000. $6,000 to $9,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries:</b> Early German-American anti-slavery broadside, <i>Sclaven-Handel,</i> Philadelphia, 1794. $12,000 to $18,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries:</b> Edmonia Lewis, prominent sculptor, carte-de-visite by Henry Rocher, c. 1866-71. $3,000 to $4,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries:</b><br><i>The Black Panther: Black Community News Service,</i> 44 issues, San Francisco, 1967-1971. $3,000 to $4,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries:</b> Ernest Withers, <i>I Am A Man, Sanitation Workers Strike,</i> silver print, 1968. $5,000 to $7,500.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries:</b> <i>March For Freedom Now!,</i> poster for the 1960 Republican Convention. $4,000 to $6,000.
  • <center><b>Arader Galleries<br>April Auction<br>April 4, 2020</b>
    <b>Arader Galleries, Apr. 4:</b> MITCHELL, John (1711-1768). A Map of the British and French Dominions in North America. Copperplate engraving with original hand color. London, 1755. $250,000 to $350,000.
    <b>Arader Galleries, Apr. 4:</b> AUDUBON, John James (1785 - 1851). Brown Pelican (Standing), Plate 251. Aquatint engraving with original hand color. London, 1827-1838. $175,000 to $225,000.
    <b>Arader Galleries, Apr. 4:</b> AUDUBON, John James (1785 - 1851). Fish Hawk or Osprey, Plate 81. Aquatint engraving with original hand color. London: 1827-1838. $100,000 to $150,000.
    <center><b>Arader Galleries<br>April Auction<br>April 4, 2020</b>
    <b>Arader Galleries, Apr. 4:</b> GONZALES DE MENDOZA, Juan (1545 - 1618). <i>The Historie of the great and mightie kingdome of China…</i> London, 1588. $100,000 to $150,000.
    <b>Arader Galleries, Apr. 4:</b> VERBIEST, Ferdinand (1623-1688). [World Map] Kun-Yu Ch'uan-Tu. Engraved twelve sheet map with vertical sections joined to form six sheets. Korea, Seoul, c. 1860. $100,000 to $150,000.
    <b>Arader Galleries, Apr. 4:</b> SANGGI, Chong (1678-1752). Korean Atlas. Manuscript map on mulberry bark paper. C. 1750-1790. $100,000 to $150,000.
    <center><b>Arader Galleries<br>April Auction<br>April 4, 2020</b>
    <b>Arader Galleries, Apr. 4:</b> AUDUBON, John James (1785 - 1851). Ivory-billed Woodpecker, Plate 66. Aquatint engraving with original hand color. London, 1827-1838. $80,000 to $120,000.
    <b>Arader Galleries, Apr. 4:</b> AKERMAN, Anders (1721-1778). & AKREL, Frederik (1779-1868). Pair of Celestial and Terrestrial Globes. Stockholm, c. 1800. 23 inch diameter, each. $60,000 to $100,000.

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