Your Personal Top 500 is Nearby

- by Bruce E. McKinney

Getting a personalized Top 500 off the ground is easy — dialing it in takes more experimentation

For many years we have prepared annual reports for the top 500 auction lots that have  included books, manuscripts, maps and ephemera for the past year.  And it’s always among the most widely read articles - leading us to wonder what the readership would be if we could provide the tool[s] to create your personal annual top 500. 


Certainly the 500 most expensive lots for the entire collectible paper field is interesting, but collectors and collecting institutions think about their subjects in very different ways. For them the number and value of lots within their scope is close to essential reading and it turns out we have some tools to create such lists.


Here is how you do it.


  1. Be logged in as a paid services member [anything from a 10 day Visitor to Folio]
  2. Click on Advanced Search [to the right of the Keyword Search]
  3. Type our search term, ephemera, in the Keyword field.
  4. Type in 2023 in the Source Year field
  5. Click Search and you find there were 4,056 lots that contained that term in 2023.
  6. To sequence the results by price click Three times on PRICE on the results header.
  7. Now you have a list in price order of the 4,056 lots.
  8. We suggest you then select the page size that suits your purpose.  The default size is 25 lots, but you can adjust to 50, 100 and 500 per screen


Here are some examples based on top 50 lots, while it is equally easy to create top 25s and 100s.


We have the data but initially these early versions will need to be straightforward.  Here are some examples.


Search Number of Records Price Range
Poughkeepsie 68 $89 - $25,400
Poetry 3,047 $15,120  - 355,600
Judaica 656 $2,500 - $38,126,000
Chicago Fire 102 $360 - $100,000
Music 5,949 $64,346 - $38,126,000
Australia 3,646 $11,400 - 254,500
Maps 15,867 $40,320 - $1,744,000


This initial process is imperfect.  We have to clean up the currencies.  COP 960,000 converts into $243.51.


As well, if/when we add the Boolean search you will be able to include/exclude terms to narrow searches.  The outcomes will really reflect your personal 25, 50, 100 or 500.


To try it, we’re providing some snapshots to help you get the hang of it.