Rare Book Monthly

Articles - August - 2020 Issue

It Was a Profitable Year for Shapero Rare Books, But...


Scholium Group, parent of London bookseller Shapero Rare Books, recently released their earnings report for their past fiscal year, ending on March 31, 2020. It was a good year. The firm, of which Shapero Rare Books is the largest of three divisions, saw sales climb by 2.3%, from £7.1 million the previous year to £7.3 million (approximately $9.4 million in U.S. dollars). More significantly, the company swung from a loss the prior year to a profit in the last one. Its profit and loss statement moved from a loss of £13,000 to a profit of £25,000 (US $32,000).


Scholium was able to achieve the profit despite a very challenging final month to the fiscal year. The firm announced they had a small loss in the second half of the year, the result of the coronavirus pandemic which hit hard during March. Shapero was forced to close the doors of its retail location while book fairs that provide an important part of their business were cancelled.


Of course, the world has changed drastically since last March. Unless you are manufacturing face masks or searching for a vaccine, the chances are your business has suffered a severe economic downturn. The rare book trade has not been immune. The progress made last year, upon which Scholium hoped to build, has instead faded away. According to a company statement published by Alliance News, Scholium said, “Trading conditions have inevitably been difficult since 31 March 2020, and the group's retail premises remained closed until mid-June. Since re-opening, footfall has been significantly lower than in the previous year. It is the board's present expectation that the group will incur a loss in the first half of the year to 30 September 2020 as a result of the disruption from Covid-19.” Earlier, the company had said it did not expect even an improved second half of the year would be sufficient to balance the loss expected in the first half.

Rare Book Monthly

  • <b>Swann Auction Galleries Aug 13:</b> <i>Manhattan Gay Scene Guide 1969, Summer Edition,</i> Mattachine Book Service. $3,000 to $4,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Aug 13:</b> Harvey Milk, 2 autograph letters signed, to Pat Mormon, during US Navy service, 1954. $3,000 to $4,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Aug 13:</b> Oscar Wilde, <i>“The secret of life is in Art,”</i> autograph quotation dated and signed, 1882. $4,000 to $6,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Aug 13:</b> Daniel Abraham, original art for <i>Stonewall Romances,</i> pen, ink & gouache, 1979. $2,000 to $3,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Aug 13:</b> Antonio Lopez, 9 men’s fashion studies, graphite, 1974. $3,000 to $4,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Aug 13:</b> Susie Gaynes & Amy E. Bartell, <i>March on Washington for Lesbian and Gay Rights,</i> 1987. $600 to $900.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Aug 13:</b> <i>Paris is Burning,</i> photo offset poster by Anne Dutlinger, signed by film director Jennie Livingston, 1991. $400 to $600.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Aug 13:</b> Toyen, pen & ink illustration from <i>Marquis de Sade: Justina cili prokletí ctnosti,</i> 1932. $8,000 to $12,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Aug 13:</b> David Wojnarowicz, <i>Untitled (Genet with Dog),</i> mixed media collage. $8,000 to $12,000.

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