Rare Book Monthly

Articles - January - 2021 Issue

Part III - The Year that Was, the year that Will Be - The Dealer Perspective + Marvin Getman


I have asked leaders of the dealer community, ILAB, ABAA and ABA for their perspectives on the year just past and the year just beginning, and as well have asked Marvin Getman for his views on the Electronic Book Fair phenomena that helping dealers worldwide through Covid-19.  Participants are in alphabetical order:  Roger Treglown & Pom Harrington on behalf of the ABA, Susan Benne of the ABAA, and Sally Burdon of ILAB.  After which Marvin Getman adds his perspective.  They are committed and will be careful. 


Roger Treglown & Pom Harrington, ABA President and Vice President


The second hand and antiquarian books trade is renowned for its enduring resilience and optimism ever since Herr Gutenberg printed a Bible in Mainz, 1455 ! In my memory the financial crash of some twelve years ago created enormous problems for our trade - with perseverance most of us survived. The current epidemic demands a ' Churchillian ' resourceful and positive approach from us all, hence the increase of the virtual book fair platforms in order to satisfy the insatiable demands of our existing and new clients. Notwithstanding the foregoing we in the ABA are planning our international flag ship fair -  Firsts London taking place in May 2021, at the Saatchi Gallery, Chelsea. Similarly our fairs at Edinburgh, in March and Chelsea in November next year are at the planning stages. However, if propitious conditions are not in our favour we will  continue to offer  bibliophiles and collectors a number of our, very well received, virtual book fairs throughout the year. As ever the ABA has adopted a pro-active forward thinking  approach to 2021.


Susan Benne, Executive Director ABAA


The ABAA was founded more than 70 years ago. Since then, as citizens, spectators, and advocates, we have long sought to be at the forefront of the trade.


What was once an association of book and manuscript sellers has evolved to encompass maps, prints, ephemera, zines, and other facets of material culture. In the last decade, we launched initiatives that broaden the inclusion and participation of women, BIPOC, and non-binary persons in the trade. Further, it is of utmost importance that diverse voices are represented in the formation and holdings of private and institutional collections.


As we move beyond a year that has caused physical, emotional, and financial hardship for many, we continue to listen, support, and bring forth programs to connect collectors and sellers. We look forward to a better new year and continue to offer virtual book fairs until we can safely gather for in-person events.



Sally Burdon, ILAB President

Although the COVID-19 pandemic has caused heartbreak for many and enormous disruption for even more, the fears that many held for the antiquarian book trade in March and April fortunately did not eventuate. Most antiquarian booksellers whether or not they have open shops have a solid mail order service integrated into their business. This has allowed the majority to manage to ride the storm, or in many cases do very good business, as collectors and readers return to their shelves and seek to fill in gaps or extend their collections. The re-emergence of virtual book fairs, last seen in the early 2000s, has been another bright spot for the book trade. These book fairs are much better supported than they were 20 odd years ago and have helped open the book fair world to those who have not attended a fair, or at least not one of the major fairs, before. The Virtual Book fairs are for book collectors and libraries a great equaliser offering equality of access to everyone with an Internet connection where ever you are on the globe. Many booksellers also used this year to try and catalogue some of the famous backlog that most booksellers have. Every bookseller buys more than they can process and frequently never quite get around to cataloguing some, often, very good stock. This year more of that stock came out and speaking from personal experience sold very well.  Overall the trade has faired, surprisingly given the year, very well in 2020. 

What are we to expect?  What’s going to be the new normal?  

Of course none of us know the answers to these questions - would that we did! The desire to return to physical shops and book fairs is great among both booksellers and their customers. Studies show that the interaction gained from talking in person is more deeper, pleasurable and interesting than the same interaction via video conferencing, very good though this is. Physical fairs will return I have no doubt and may do better than before as book collectors and readers seize opportunities to talk and look at books in person again. It seems likely as well  that the virtual book fairs will continue either as an adjunct or at different times over the year. Into the future booksellers will continue to do what they do so well,  putting out interesting catalogues and helping collectors build their collections.  


Marvin Getman, Electronic Book Fair Visionary


Virtual Outlook 2021


My last live book fair was on March 6-7. It was the satellite fair to the ABAA Armory show. That seems like an eternity ago. The last eight months has been a whirlwind of activity. How I came about developing a virtual platform has been widely reported so no need to repeat it here. Now to look forward to 2021. Here’s what I see:

Thankfully, vaccines are on the way and by this time next year, maybe sooner, I predict that some live fairs will return. I see that the Boston ABAA is being advertised for November and the New York ABAA Fair is being advertised for September. I do not plan, at this time, to bring back my live fairs. I know that might be a disappointment to some who enjoy attending my satellite fairs during the ABAA fairs but the fact is that those fairs take a lot out of this old guy for their financial return.  I will devote my time and attention to continuing to improve my virtual platform and to develop themes that will bring booksellers and their customers together. I get emails from institutions, librarians, collectors and dealers thanking me for developing a platform that is so easy to use and easy to navigate. I take pride that, during this unprecedented year, $2 million of commerce passed through my virtual fairs. There is no question in my mind that virtual fairs are here to stay. It gives me pleasure that other fair producers, Rare Books LA, and recently The SLAM French Book Fair were able to keep their fairs alive by using my platform. We hosted a special fundraiser for CABS which was highly successful. In January, the Rocky Mountain Booksellers Association will hold their annual fair on my platform. Expect to see more social interaction on the virtual fairs. I don’t expect to be able to duplicate the happy hour that so many people seem to miss from the live fairs.  I welcome ideas from booksellers as to what would make the platform more useful. I am investigating a way for money to pass between the buyer and seller quickly. I realize that is something people would like to see.

Posted On: 2021-01-03 08:39
User Name: 19531953

Bravo to Susan and Marvin. Well put and Well done!

Eric C. Caren

Posted On: 2021-01-13 19:23
User Name: mbook

That was more about bookfairs, they are in their own little world. Just the odd book dealer fact. They are not real down to earth actual book dealers.

Posted On: 2021-01-13 19:23
User Name: mbook

That was more about bookfairs, they are in their own little world. Just the odd book dealer fact. They are not real down to earth actual book dealers.

Rare Book Monthly

  • <b>Dominic Winter Auctioneers, Jan 20.<br>Mrs S. C. Belnos.</b> <i>The Sundhya or the Daily Prayers of the Brahmins,</i> 1st edition, 1851. £2,000 to £3,000.
    <b>Dominic Winter Auctioneers, Jan 20.<br>Sir Harry Darell.</b> <i>China, India, Cape of Good Hope and Vicinity,</i> 1st edition, 1852. £2,000 to £3,000.
    <b>Dominic Winter Auctioneers, Jan 20.<br><i>Scots Magazine,</i></b> 61 volumes, 1739-1800. With important maps of North America. £1,500 to £2,000.
    <b>Dominic Winter Auctioneers, Jan 21.<br>Ian Fleming.</b> <i>Casino Royale,</i> 1st edition, 1953. £10,000 to £15,000.
    <b>Dominic Winter Auctioneers, Jan 21.<br>Virginia Woolf.</b> <i>Really and Truly,</i> 1915. Autograph confessions book. £4,000 to £6,000.
    <b>Dominic Winter Auctioneers, Jan 21.<br>Evelyn Waugh.</b> <i>Vile Bodies,</i> 1st edition, 1930. £3,000 to £4,000.
    <b>Dominic Winter Auctioneers, Jan 21.<br>J. R. R. Tolkien.</b> Autograph letter signed on Old English, with corrected typescript. £2,000 to £3,000.
    <b>Dominic Winter Auctioneers, Jan 21.<br>Lewis Carroll.</b> <i>The Hunting of the Snark,</i> 1st edition, 1876. Presentation copy. £2,000 to £3,000.
    <b>Dominic Winter Auctioneers, Jan 21.<br>Essex House Press.</b> <i>Poems of William Shakespeare,</i> 1899. One of 450 copies. £1,000 to £1,500.
    <b>Dominic Winter Auctioneers, Jan 21.<br>Lafcadio Hearn.</b> <i>A Japanese Miscellany,</i> 1st edition, 1901. Presentation copy. £1,000 to £1,500.
    <b>Dominic Winter Auctioneers, Jan 21.<br>Jules Verne.</b> <i>Twenty Thousand Leagues under the Seas,</i> 1st UK edition, 1873. £2,000 to £3,000.
    <b>Dominic Winter Auctioneers, Jan 21.<br>Charles Dickens.</b> <i>The Life and Adventures of Martin Chuzzlewit,</i> 1st edition, 1844. Original cloth binding. £800 to £1,200.
  • <center><b>Arader Galleries<br>January Auction<br>January 23, 2021</b>
    <b>Arader Galleries, Jan. 23:</b> AUDUBON, John James. <i>Carolina Parrot, Plate 26.</i> London: Robert Havell, 1827-1838. $125,000 to $175,000.
    <b>Arader Galleries, Jan. 23:</b> AUDUBON, John James. <i>Fish Hawk or Osprey, Plate 81.</i> London: Robert Havell, 1827-1838. $145,000 to $175,000.
    <b>Arader Galleries, Jan. 23:</b> AUDUBON, John James. <i>Brown Pelican, Plate 421.</i> London: Robert Havell, 1827-1838. $75,000 to $100,000.
    <center><b>Arader Galleries<br>January Auction<br>January 23, 2021</b>
    <b>Arader Galleries, Jan. 23:</b> DE BRY, Johann Theodore, attributed to. Pair of Watercolor studies of Tulips. $40,000 to $60,000.
    <b>Arader Galleries, Jan. 23:</b> FUERTES, Louis Agassiz. <i>Alaskan Brown Bear.</i> Watercolor and gouache on board. $10,000 to $15,000.
    <b>Arader Galleries, Jan. 23:</b> HILL, Thomas. <i>Big Trees.</i> Oil on canvas. c. 1903. $40,000 to $60,000.
    <center><b>Arader Galleries<br>January Auction<br>January 23, 2021</b>
    <b>Arader Galleries, Jan. 23:</b> GOULD, John. <i>A Monograph of the Macropodidae or Family of Kangaroos.</i> London: by the author, August 1st 1841-May 1st 1842. $40,000 to $60,000.
    <b>Arader Galleries, Jan. 23:</b> GOULD, John. <i>A Monograph of the Odontophorinae, or Partridges of America.</i> London: Richard and John E. Taylor for the Author, [1844]-1850. $15,000 to $20,000.
    <b>Arader Galleries, Jan. 23:</b> JANSSONIUS, Joannes. <i>Atlantis majoris quinta pars, orbem maritimum seu omnium marium…</i> Amsterdam: Joannes Janssonius, 1652. $50,000 to $80,000.
    <center><b>Arader Galleries<br>January Auction<br>January 23, 2021</b>
    <b>Arader Galleries, Jan. 23:</b> DONCKER, Hendrik. <i>De Zee-Atlas ofte Water-Waereld, vertoonende alle de Zee-Kusten van het bekende deel des Aerd-Bodems.</i> Amsterdam: Henrick Doncker, [1658-1665]. $80,000 to $120,000.
    <b>Arader Galleries, Jan. 23:</b> BURR, David. <i>Map of the City and County of New York with the Adjacent Country.</i> Engraved map with original hand color. Ithaca, NY: Stone & Clark, 1839. $9,000 to $12,000.
    <b>Arader Galleries, Jan. 23:</b> CURRIER, Nathaniel and IVES, James Merritt. <i>The City of New York.</i> Lithograph with original hand color. New York: Currier & Ives, 1884. $15,000 to $20,000.
  • <b>Swann Auction Galleries Jan 28:</b> Joseph F. Kernan, <i>College Football,</i> oil on canvas, <i>The Saturday Evening Post</i> cover, 1932. $25,000 to $35,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Jan 28:</b> Joseph C. Leyendecker, <i>Golfer Lighting a Cigarette,</i> oil on canvas, c.1920. $7,000 to $10,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Jan 28:</b> Howard Chandler Christy, <i>In the Field,</i> charcoal & watercolor, published in <i>Scribner’s,</i> 1902. $8,000 to $12,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Jan 28:</b> N.C. Wyeth, <i>Standish Reading,</i> pen & ink, for <i>The Courtship of Miles Standish,</i> 1920. $5,000 to $7,500.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Jan 28:</b> Johnanna Stewart Mapes, <i>A Fairy Book,</i> conté crayon, for <i>St. Nicholas Magazine,</i> 1907. $2,500 to $3,500.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Jan 28:</b> Arnold Lobel, pen & ink, for <i>The Frog & Toad Coloring Book,</i> 1981. $3,000 to $4,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Jan 28:</b> Antonio Lopez, <i>Today’s Fashions,</i> study for <i>The New York Times,</i> 1981. $2,500 to $3,500.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Jan 28:</b> Charles Schulz, <i>“I’ll have to go back to the house…I forgot my rubbers…”</i> pen & ink, original 4-panel <i>Peanuts comic,</i> 1960. $8,000 to $12,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Jan 28:</b> Constantin Alajalov, <i>Family Tree,</i> watercolor and gouache, cover for <i>The New Yorker,</i> 1938. Estimate $3,000 to $4,000.
  • <center><b>Il Ponte Casa d'Aste<br>Books and Manuscripts<br>26 January 2021</b>
    <center><b>Il Ponte Casa d'Aste<br>Books and Manuscripts<br>26 January 2021</b>
    <center><b>Il Ponte Casa d'Aste<br>Books and Manuscripts<br>26 January 2021</b>

Article Search

Archived Articles

Ask Questions