Rare Book Monthly

Articles - March - 2023 Issue

Auction History - Recreating Important Sales

When you consider buying or bidding on examples of printed history often your first sense is to get into its commercial history. Why?  Because printing creates identical examples and over time some of them appear at auction.  When those records have been retained over decades and the centuries, the serious minded study them to develop an educated impression about their ever adjusting current value.  Our primary database, Transactions+, is based upon two aspects of auction history.   The first has been based on original auction documentation over the past 175 years.  The other of course, has been to capture the present-day flow of material entering in the auction rooms.  When these two flows meet present value is confirmed.

 

Over the past few months we have been adding auctions from the relatively dark ages of auction history, events that were staged in New York and Boston between 1850 to 1885.  It’s compelling reading to read through lots that have since seen significant swings of relative value.  Early printings of American material used to occasionally appear in the rooms and brought substantial sums while recent reprints [created between 1850 to 1870] brought good money too.  The reprints have turned out to be dead money while the originals have gone through the roof.  Who knew and predicted their very different outcomes?

 

During those years the American appreciation of England was reflected in both the extensive offerings and their prices.  English cultural supremacy was a given, while American cultural values were emerging.  Until their own values were enshrined, Americans they were willing to camp out under the English tent.  That would diminish over time.

 

Today pamphlets and ephemera bring serious consideration and big money.  Back then such material struggled in to get into the rooms and when they did, they arrived as bundles of multiple copies.

 

Manuscript material was shown deference but picking the winners and losers was an uncertain process.  Some collectors early on cried “I want it all” and actually did it.  Then years later they sent their treasures to the rooms as 2,000 to 4,000 item sales.

 

Whenever I see such excess, as a collector I can only applaud and moan. I can only imagine how these collector’s families felt.

 

If you would like to reimagine what it was like in those amazing times in the world of collectible paper, use your subscription and log-in.  Select Advanced Search to the right of the Keyword Search.

 

On the lower right side select click on the field under Source.  Then select these actiion houses by name

 

Leavitt & Co.  23,144 records

Leavitt, Strebeigh.  18,343 records

Leonard & Co.  3,436 records

 

It's best to adjust the field size to 500 lots.

 

More new files are being edited and added.

 

It’s a wonderful experience.

Rare Book Monthly

  • Sotheby’s
    Modern First Editions
    Available for Immediate Purchase
    Sotheby’s, Available Now: Winston Churchill. The Second World War. Set of First-Edition Volumes. 6,000 USD
    Sotheby’s, Available Now: A.A. Milne, Ernest H. Shepard. A Collection of The Pooh Books. Set of First-Editions. 18,600 USD
    Sotheby’s, Available Now: Salvador Dalí, Lewis Carroll. Alice's Adventures in Wonderland. Finely Bound and Signed Limited Edition. 15,000 USD
    Sotheby’s
    Modern First Editions
    Available for Immediate Purchase
    Sotheby’s, Available Now: Ian Fleming. Live and Let Die. First Edition. 9,500 USD
    Sotheby’s, Available Now: J.K. Rowling. Harry Potter Series. Finely Bound First Printing Set of Complete Series. 5,650 USD
    Sotheby’s, Available Now: Ernest Hemingway. A Farewell to Arms. First Edition, First Printing. 4,200 USD
  • Forum Auctions
    Fine Books, Manuscripts and Works on Paper
    30th May 2024
    Forum, May 30: Potter (Beatrix). Complete set of four original illustrations for the nursery rhyme, 'This pig went to market', 1890s. £60,000 to £80,000.
    Forum, May 30: Dante Alighieri.- Lactantius (Lucius Coelius Firmianus). Opera, second edition, Rome, 1468. £40,000 to £60,000.
    Forum, May 30: Distilling.- Brunschwig (Hieronymus). Liber de arte Distillandi de Compositis, first edition of the so-called 'Grosses Destillierbuch', Strassburg, 1512. £22,000 to £28,000.
    Forum, May 30: Eliot (T.S.), W. H. Auden, Ted Hughes, Philip Larkin, Robert Lowell, Seamus Heaney, Ted Hughes, & others. A Personal Anthology for Eric Walter White, 60 autograph poems. £20,000 to £30,000.
    Forum, May 30: Cornerstone of French Enlightenment Philosophy.- Helvetius (Claude Adrien). De l'Esprit, true first issue "A" of the suppressed first edition, Paris, 1758. £20,000 to £30,000.
    Forum Auctions
    Fine Books, Manuscripts and Works on Paper
    30th May 2024
    Forum, May 30: Szyk (Arthur). The Haggadah, one of 125 copies, this out-of-series, Beaconsfield Press, 1940. £15,000 to £20,000.
    Forum, May 30: Fleming (Ian). Casino Royale, first edition, first impression, 1953. £15,000 to £20,000.
    Forum, May 30: Japan.- Ryusui (Katsuma). Umi no Sachi [Wealth of the Sea], 2 vol., Tokyo, 1762. £8,000 to £12,000.
    Forum, May 30: Computing.- Operating and maintenance manual for the BINAC binary automatic computer built for Northrop Aircraft Corporation 1949, Philadelphia, 1949. £8,000 to £12,000.
    Forum, May 30: Burmese School (probably circa 1870s). Folding manuscript, or parabaik, from the Court Workshop at the Royal Court at Manadaly, Burma, [c.1870s]. £8,000 to £12,000.
  • Ketterer Rare Books
    Auction May 27th
    Ketterer Rare Books, May 27:
    K. Marx, Das Kapital,1867. Dedication copy. Est: € 120,000
    Ketterer Rare Books, May 27:
    Latin and French Book of Hours, around 1380. Est: € 25,000
    Ketterer Rare Books, May 27:
    Theodor de Bry, Indiae Orientalis, 1598-1625. Est: € 80,000
    Ketterer Rare Books
    Auction May 27th
    Ketterer Rare Books, May 27:
    Breviary, Latin manuscript, around 1450-75. Est: € 10,000
    Ketterer Rare Books, May 27:
    G. B. Piranesi, Vedute di Roma, 1748-69. Est: € 60,000
    Ketterer Rare Books, May 27:
    K. Schmidt-Rottluff, Arbeiter, 1921. Orig. watercolour on postcard. Est: € 18,000
    Ketterer Rare Books
    Auction May 27th
    Ketterer Rare Books, May 27:
    Breviarium Romanum, Latin manuscript, 1474. Est: € 20,000
    Ketterer Rare Books, May 27:
    C. J. Trew, Plantae selectae, 1750-73. Est: € 28,000
    Ketterer Rare Books, May 27:
    M. Beckmann, Apokalypse, 1943. Est: € 50,000
    Ketterer Rare Books
    Auction May 27th
    Ketterer Rare Books, May 27:
    Ulrich von Richenthal, Das Concilium, 1536. Est: € 9,000
    Ketterer Rare Books, May 27:
    I. Kant, Critik der reinen Vernunft, 1781. Est: €12,000
    Ketterer Rare Books, May 27:
    Arbeiter-Illustrierte Zeitung (AIZ) / Die Volks-Illustrierte (VI), 1932-38. Est: €8,000

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