Book valuation is never a certain number when you look on a listing site because what determines market value is when a willing buyer makes an offer and the seller agrees. Book listing sites offer millions of printed items and certainly try to convey that the price is the price, take it or leave it. But in time the vast majority of browsers find that what they first wanted and thought was too expensive, they later find the market slowly affirms their opinion, when the item remains unsold. It’s inefficient but listing sites believe buyers will pay up.
When printed paper comes up on auction sites it’s a different proposition. The date of the sale is firm but the price will be market determined. The outcome, for book buyers who are patient, can return to listing sites periodically for an update of status, knowing most material will still be posted for months if not years. But for auctions, 80% of all lots offered will soon be sold on the day of the sale. When it’s something you missed it’s frustrating. To avoid that risk requires a collector or collecting institution monitor the daily flow of upcoming auction lots in the collectible paper field.
Collectible paper is a part of many auctions but to look for that type of material requires looking to and through sales that are only tangentially relevant. We alone, on Rare Book Hub, make it possible to know what’s upcoming at auction in collectible paper worldwide because we work with most auction houses and review their upcoming events and then post their related lots. This means our upcoming auction lot search is very pure. On a typical day 2,000 fresh paper lots are posted, ensuring you’ll have a chance, if you take a moment to run your search terms. It’s free and efficient.
Better yet, for the sake of efficiency, Rare Book Hub, years ago also developed a daily report matching member preferences and we release those reports overnight to those members who have created a matrix of search terms reflecting their interests. That service is called Matchmaker.
Because auctions are typically posted 7 to 14 days ahead of sale, this means 15,000 to 30,000 items will at any given time be searched in the upcoming category. For those who are more methodical, they can create a set of search terms matching their interests in Matchmaker. After which we issue reports when one or more of your terms appears in upcoming lots. This saves both time and the occasional sense of disaster when you realize you missed something that’s in your wheelhouse.
As well, if serious, by subscribing to our paid services, you will gain access to over 11 million records from past auctions and other sources. This will enable you to estimate current value and the probability to appear again at auction – expressed in months and years. And it’s useful to know. The probability of reappearance often drives prices higher. You can learn more about it by clicking the “Rare Book Transaction History” tab at the top of the page.
Use the upcoming auction search. It’s free, it saves time, and it’s sequenced by sale date so you know immediately, if something is appealing comes up at the top of the list, it’s coming up soon. When you conclude your time is valuable, use Matchmaker in conjunction with Transactions+.