Daniel Crouch Rare Books: Catalogue One
By Bruce McKinney
Another dealer enters the fray. Ho hum? Perhaps not. Daniel Crouch, who for many years was associated with Bernard Shapero of Saint George Street, London has become an independent dealer and effective November 1st has issued Catalogue 1, The Gestetner Collection of Maritime Atlases & Voyages. It is quite a first effort and one has to think carefully for any other first catalogue of such magnitude. None comes to mind. The forty-eight items described and illustrated in the 179-page full color presentation are priced at British Pounds 3,361,000 or $5.3 million. He is partners with Nick Trimming and they are based in Oxford. A description of their paths to partnership is provided at the conclusion of this article.
First catalogues are often poignant affairs, thin missives long on ambition but lacking the gravitas that age and experience bring a decade hence. This catalogue, by comparison, for almost every dealer would be the capstone of their career. Some few first catalogues are a dealer's best and for a few also their last, variations on Groucho Marx's "Hello I must be going." That won't be the case here. A second catalogue is in the works. For enterprising lifers in the trade who build reputations and a following first catalogues are mostly statements, suggestions of what's to come. It's very uncommon to start in such a robust way, and anymore less common to issue a catalogue at all. Tom Congalton of Between the Covers has made a study of them. "Anymore only two or three dozen first catalogues are released in any year." These numbers have been in decline for decades.
Certainly the presentation suggests that a new dealer has entered the first ranks. It is a profusely illustrated statement of important material and serious intent. In an era where elaborate presentation has become an accepted way to differentiate scale and quality this first catalogue sets the table for a successful career. The material and catalogue are a match.
Graham Arader, the New York map dealer, describes the entry of Mr. Crouch as an important addition to the map field. "Daniel Crouch is a glorious addition to this field. His outstanding first catalog demonstrates that he intends to intrepidly buy significant collections with distinguished provenance. He is knowledgeable, exciting, attractive, honest and fair." And Mr. Arader is a competitor. Think what his friends might say.
Mr. Crouch and Mr. Trimming are certainly aiming for the top. How else to explain lot 16, Robert Dudley's Arcano del Mare  for BP 485,000 and lot 26 Jaillot's Le neptune Francois, ou atlas nouveau des cartes marine published in three parts between 1693 and 1708 for BP 450,000. On the other side, seven items are priced under BP 10,000. The average item is a bit more than $100,000.
In recent years the strength in the market has been in the very best examples, first editions, marvelous copies, exceptional bindings. This new enterprise, in its first catalogue offers all of these elements, sometimes all these aspects applying to specific examples. It is in the final analysis an entirely appropriate exceptional effort to match exceptional material.
One must wish them well. Their success will be good for the field.
Background as provided by the firm:
"Daniel Crouch Rare Books is a specialist dealer in antique atlases, maps, plans, sea charts and voyages dating from the fifteenth to the nineteenth centuries. Our carefully selected stock also includes a number of fine prints and globes, and a selection of cartographic reference books.
Our particular passions include rare atlases, wall maps, and separately published maps and charts. We strive to acquire unusual and quirky maps that are in fine condition.
Daniel Crouch Rare Books is a limited liability partnership founded in 2010 by Daniel Crouch and Nick Trimming.
Daniel Crouch has worked as a bookseller since the age of sixteen; first at Sanders of Oxford on weekends and holidays whilst at school and university, before starting full-time in 1997 and becoming general manager in 1998. Subsequent to this, he worked as a business developer in the book department at Bonham's auction house in 1999. In 2002 he was invited to set up a map and atlas department at Bernard Shapero Rare Books in London. Daniel still lives in Oxford with his wife, Jen, and two young daughters.
Nick Trimming studied classical civilization and archaeology at King's College, London. He started work as a porter at Bonham's in 2000, and was appointed saleroom manager in their Knightsbridge rooms in 2002. He joined Daniel at Shapero in 2003 and, in the summer of 2010, with the support of a group of their customers, they started their own business based in Oxford."
Catalogue One can be downloaded.
Click here to download.
The Daniel Couch website: click here.