Rare Book Monthly

Articles - February - 2011 Issue

Auction Trends Updated:  Reality

31201136shot 2011-01-31 at 5.33.53 pm

Declining prices have begun to stabilize

A week ago we updated the auction trend charts.  They tell an interesting story:

Auction Trends Charts

December is almost always a positive month for book auctions.  The best material often comes out in the fourth quarter and it’s bound to achieve high prices even if the outcomes are less than some consignors hope. The median price increased $20 from the October low of $342 but was still well below the $378 median a year earlier.  As the 12 Month Moving Average of Median Auction Prices chart shows auction realizations are still caught in the downward trend that dates from February 2008.

The change in Year to Year Change in 12 Month Moving Average however also suggests that the downward trend is leveling out as the difference in year to year comparisons by month is moving back to zero.  Before the chart can go positive it has to first escape negative year-to-year comparisons.  This aspect looks better although these year-to-year comparisons are getting easier because last year was a weak year.  This year’s comparison is still negative but approaching “net no change.”

The sell-through rate remains mired at 68%, an unhealthy level that’s about 7% below the average of the past ten years.  This suggests that reserves and buyer willingness to bid are probably about 10% apart.  Said another way the minimum prices buyers are willing to pay are, on average, about 10% below current low estimates.  Consignors would do well to listen carefully to their auction houses if they suggest lower reserves.  Sending something into the rooms means the consignor wants to sell.  Not selling in 2011 and trying again next year doesn’t appear, based on the trends, to be a moneymaking strategy.  Too much material is in the wings.  The selling venues are going to get crowded.



Posted On: 2011-02-03 00:00
User Name: manta

apart from rare items that tend to set their own prices most hi end and general stock are completely over priced by most dealers with a few (succes


Rare Book Monthly

  • <b>Swann Auction Galleries: Fall 2017 Auction Schedule</b>
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Sep 19: 19th & 20th Century Prints & Drawings</b>
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Sep 28: Printed & Manuscript Americana</b>
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Oct 5: African-American Fine Art</b>
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries: Fall 2017 Auction Schedule</b>
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Oct 17: Early Printed, Medical, Scientific & Travel Books</b>
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Oct 19:<br>Art & Storytelling: Photographs & Photobooks</b>
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Oct 26: Rare & Important Travel Posters</b>
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries: Fall 2017 Auction Schedule</b>
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Nov 2:<br>Old Master Through Modern Prints</b>
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Nov 7: Autographs</b>
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Nov 14: 19th & 20th Century Literature</b>
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries: Fall 2017 Auction Schedule</b>
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Nov 16: Contemporary Art</b>
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Dec 5:<br>Maps & Atlases, Natural History & Color Plate Books</b>
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Dec 14: Illustration Art</b>
  • <b>Announcing a new Books for Sale platform hosted by Biblio</b>
    <b>List your books simultaneously on Rare Book Hub and Biblio</b>
  • <b>19th Century Shop’s Catalog 170 Great Books and Photos. Please inquire for a copy.</b>
    <b>19th Century Shop:</b> Exodus 10:10 to 16:15. Complete Biblical scroll sheet in Hebrew, a Torah scroll panel. Middle East, ca. 10th or 11th century.
    <b>19th Century Shop:</b> Copernicus Refuted. (Astronomy.). Scientific manuscript of a course of studies at Collège de la Trinité, Lyon. 1660s.
    <b>19th Century Shop:</b> Israel’s War of Independence and the Early Days of the IDF. 58 photographs presented to Israel Ber, IDF officer and later convicted spy.
    <b>19th Century Shop’s Catalog 170 Great Books and Photos. Please inquire for a copy.</b>
    <b>19th Century Shop:</b> Early Unpublished Darwin letter on the races of man. Autograph Letter Signed [to Henry Denny]. Down, Kent, June 1, [1844].
    <b>19th Century Shop:</b> Classic Image of American Slavery. Kimball, M. H. <i>Emancipated Slaves</i>. New York: George Hanks, 1863.
    <b>19th Century Shop:</b> (Underground Railroad.) Scaggs, Isaac. Important Runaway Slave Poster: $500 Reward Ran away, or decoyed from the subscriber…
  • <b>Bonhams, inviting consignments for Sep 27:</b> Newton. <i>Philosophiae naturalis principia mathematica</i>. London, 1687.
    <b>Bonhams, inviting consignments for Sep 27:</b> Josephus. <i>De antiquitate Judaica.</i> Lubeck, 1475-76.
    <b>Bonhams, inviting consignments for Sep 27:</b> Carlerius. <i>Sporta fragmentorum, Sportula fragmentorum</i>. Brussels, 1478-79.
    <b>Bonhams, inviting consignments for Sep 27:</b> Fridolin. <i>Der Schatzbehalter</i>. Nuremberg, 1491.
    <b>Bonhams, inviting consignments for Sep 27:</b> Pinder. <i>Der beschlossen gart des rosenkrantz marie</i>. Nuremberg, 1505.
    <b>Bonhams, inviting consignments for Sep 27:</b> Isidorus Hispalensis. <i>Synonyma de Homine</i>. Nuremberg, 1470-71.
    <b>Bonhams, inviting consignments for Sep 27:</b> Durer. Sammelband including <i>Underweysung der messing</i>. Nuremberg, 1525-29.

Article Search

Archived Articles

Ask Questions