Rare Book Monthly Articles - January - 2023 Issue

The Annual Rare Book Hub Top 500 Prices at Auction for Books and Works on Paper

With the close of another year, it is time to look back at the Rare Book Hub Top 500 prices paid at auction in 2022 for books and other collectible works on paper. The numbers were similar to those of 2021, which blew away every prior year, meaning 2022 was another good year. A record 24 items sold for over $1 million, one more than 2021, but the price of the 500th most expensive item slipped a bit to $113,400 versus $119,700 in 2021. To put that in context, that was the first year #500 was over $90,000, so 2022 was a big year.   The most popular categories of paper outside of books and m...

The Wild West Lives on at One of a Kind Auctions

You can read about history and sometimes you can be part of it!  One of a Kind Auctions is offering 250 lots that not only reflects but also influenced history.  Take a meander!   Bidding is open...

Books Have Their Place

Books have long provided relief from life’s turmoils and disappointments.  Every experience and feeling has been explained, attenuated, and cast through prisms of author perspective.  We find ourse...

Downsizing: Are We Defined By What We Throw Away?

Doubtless you’ve noticed the rise of “decluttering” as a worthy goal; the minimalist life with few possessions is the obsession of the moment. Go for the “experience” and rid yourself of “the stuff...


We begin 2023 with 12,608,421 full text records in our principal database, Transactions+, that cover rare books, manuscripts, maps and ephemera at auction.  Those who specialize in the field have l...

Rare Book Hub: New Services and New Pricing

Rare Book Hub, née Americana Exchange has been a two decade project organized around the idea to building a bridge to the new collector.  In the 1990’s my collecting ambitions were being limited by...

Sieur de La Borde: A Contemptuous Ethnologist

In 1674, the French Protestant printer Justel published a crucial book about the West-Indies that compiled several relations yet to be published or translated into French. La Borde’s description of...

After Fifty Years in the Book Trade, a Swan Song (of Sorts, or Lots)

My introduction to rare books and manuscripts happened in 1964, when I was living in Palo Alto and working at Lanyon Gallery, on the periphery of the Stanford campus. A few blocks down from where w...

Lurking Deep Under the Print of an Ancient Manuscript Lies an Even Older, Missing Astronomical Masterpiece

You never know what you may find if you examine an old book very closely...v e r y closely. An amazing discovery of ancient Greek astronomical readings, a star chart, has been found beneath the wri...

Iconic Surfing Book Leads Case’s Jan. 28-29 Auction

KNOXVILLE, Tenn.—The first known book to focus solely on surfing, made by hand with original silver gelatin prints from long lost negatives, leads a stellar lineup of rare books, documents and maps...

What Do Libraries Do with All Those Books?

A Story from Student Life, a student newspaper at Washington University in St. Louis, indirectly highlights an issue libraries are facing more and more, particularly university libraries. It's not ...

What are old books telling us about the future?

Not so much.  Transactions+ is the history of printed paper at auction and it’s tough for new terms to break in.  Covid is still very new and there are only 336 appearances of the estimated 2 billi...

Two Incunable Books, Stolen in Switzerland Years Ago and Sold in America, Returned

Two incunable books, stolen from the Capuchin Library in Freiburg, Switzerland, have been found and returned to the Freiburg Canton Library which now holds the collection. The Capuchins turned thei...

46 Walker Evans Images Revisited

Recently I received a very crisp catalogue about Walker Evans and 46 photographs he took and printed in Cuba in 1933.  This catalogue was issued by Michael Brown Rare Books and De Wolfe Wood.  It ...

Censorship Marches On

The forces of darkness that have invaded libraries of late continue to push forward. There have been book bannings and library defunding. The newest tool now is library privatization. From Texas, c...

Shapero Rare Books Sees 16% Increase in Sales, 33% Increase in Profits

Scholium Group, parent of Shapero Rare Books, has reported their preliminary results for the first half of their fiscal year, April 1 – September 30, 2022. The numbers are good. Sales, profits, and...

What Do You Do After Being Caught Stealing Over 100,000 Books? Steal Some More!

If you somehow manage to steal over 100,000 books before getting caught, what is it you are good at? Presumably, that is the question Xiao Wenjia of Taiwan contemplated after being let out of priso...

Swann Galleries: A View From the Podium

As another unprecedented year draws to a close, I find myself looking backward with nostalgia, and forward in anticipation. 2022 was many things for us here at Swann. Contrary to expectations we ha...

Six New Catalogues Reviewed

This month we review six new catalogues from booksellers. Langdon Manor Books offers a catalogue of African Americana. Antiquariat Kainbacher focuses on travel and expeditions. Shapero Rare Books o...

Rare Book Monthly

  • Gonnelli:
    Auction 50
    Books, Autographs & Manuscripts
    March 6th-7th 2024
    Gonnelli: Cramer, [Picasso, Chagall , Miró], Trente ans d'activité. Starting price 4800€
    Gonnelli: Futurism
    Gonnelli: Avienus, Opera. 1488. Starting price 1200€
    Gonnelli: Vimont, Relation de ce qui s'est passé en la Nouvelle France, en l'année 1642. Starting price 5000€
    Gonnelli: Goedart, Metamorphosis et historia naturalis insectorum. 1662.
    Gonnelli: Il Petrarcha con la spositione di M. Giovanni Andrea Gesualdo.
    Gonnelli: Poblacion, De usu astrolabi compendium.
  • Toronto Book Auctions
    March 6, 2024
    Toronto Book Auctions, Mar. 6: [ART BOOK MONOGRAPH] DAVID BURLIUK WITH ORIGINAL DRAWING and Signed twice. David Burliuk Rare ACA Gallery exhibition catalogue, undated. CA$400 – 800
    Toronto Book Auctions, Mar. 6: [ART BOOK MONOGRAPH] KAWS: COMPANIONSHIP IN THE AGE OF LONELINESS. Text by Margaret Atwood. National Gallery of Victoria, Australia, 2019. $CA400 - 800
    Toronto Book Auctions, Mar. 6: SIGNED. LAWRENCE WEINER: POSTERS. Nova Scotia College of Art, Canada,1987. CA$800 – 1,200
    Toronto Book Auctions
    March 6, 2024
    Toronto Book Auctions, Mar. 6: WILBUR SMITH: THE DARK OF THE SUN. Heinemann, UK, 1965. Signed First edition. CA$800 – 1,200
    Toronto Book Auctions, Mar. 6: ROBERTSON DAVIES: LEAVEN OF MALICE. SIGNED Clark, Irwin, & Co., Canada. 1954. 1st edition. CA$400 – 600
    Toronto Book Auctions
    March 6, 2024
    Toronto Book Auctions, Mar. 6: [MILITARY FICTION]. 8 VOLUMES SOLD TOGETHER. INCLUDING: Canada's Royal Military College. REVIEW, THE STONE FRIGATE, A HISTORY OF THE RMC… CA$300 – 400
    Toronto Book Auctions, Mar. 6: [WW1] CANADIAN (C.S.E.F.) SIBERIA 1918-1919 PHOTO ALBUM. With approximately 303 original official war photographs, photo-postcards, and personal photographs. CA$8,000 – 10,000.
    Toronto Book Auctions, Mar. 6: HANS BELLMER: THE DOLL. 1995, 1st Ed. CA$150 – 300.
    Toronto Book Auctions
    March 6, 2024
    Toronto Book Auctions, Mar. 6: FAN HO; HONG KONG YESTERDAY. ModernBooks edition, 2006. First edition. 4to. CA$300 – 600.
    Toronto Book Auctions, Mar. 6: TARYN SIMON: AN AMERICAN INDEX OF THE HIDDEN AND UNFAMILIAR. Hatje Cantz, Germany, 2012. Third edition. CA$600 – 1,000.
    Toronto Book Auctions, Mar. 6: BARBARA KRUGER PICTURE/READINGS. [Self-Published], 1978 First edition. CA$800 – 1,200.
  • 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
    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

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