Rare Book Monthly

Articles - June - 2011 Issue

In The News:  Bail Revoked for Book Thief Charged with Murder, & More

Humantorch2

A 1948 Human Torch was one of the comics stolen from Homer Marciniak.

Bail has been revoked for the alleged mastermind in a case of a book theft that turned into a murder charge. In the summer of 2010, the U.S. attorney in Buffalo, New York, alleged Rico Vendetti hired three accomplices to rob the comic book collection of 77-year-old Homer Marciniak. Marciniak began his collection, estimated to be worth $40,000 - $100,000, while still a boy. Vendetti, who allegedly made a living selling comics and numerous other stolen items on eBay, saw Marciniak's collection as a good fit for his business. According to the indictment, Vendetti's modus operandi was not stealing goods himself, but purchasing things others had stolen, naturally at a discount to fair market value. He reportedly was taking in around $50,000 per month from his "business."

 

However, this particular theft turned deadly after the alleged accomplices entered the elderly man's home. Marciniak was beaten during the robbery. He was briefly hospitalized for cuts and bruises suffered during the attack. Later that evening, roughly ten hours later, Marciniak suffered a fatal heart attack. The indictment alleges this resulted from the psychological trauma Marciniak suffered as a result of the physical attack.

 

Last fall, the U.S. Attorney charged Vendetti and three others with murder and other counts. In late March, a grand jury handed down indictments against Vendetti, 41, Arlene Combs, 26, Albert Parsons, 42, and Donald Griffin, 23, for felony murder. Vendetti and Combs were also charged with racketeering and witness tampering. All four face mandatory life sentences without parole if convicted. U.S. Attorney William Hochul released a statement saying, "…what began as a local burglary case has - through the tireless efforts of local, county, state and federal officers - become a federal racketeering and murder case." The three accomplices were already in jail when the Judge on the case revoked Vendetti's bail. He, too, will now await trial in a prison cell.

 

A group of changes in consumer protection rules approved by the European Union's Parliament evidently has some booksellers irked. The one in particular that has them concerned is an extension of the time period in which purchasers have an unlimited right to return goods purchased online or through a catalogue. Currently that period is 7 days. The new rules extend that to 14. The purpose of the extension is to encourage more trade between the countries of the European Union. Consumers may be reluctant to purchase items shipped from another country. The expectation is that having a longer period of time to inspect the goods will give people more confidence to purchase items from across national borders.

 

However, according to an article in TheBookseller.com, the Antiquarian Booksellers Association has voiced opposition to the change. Their concern is that people could buy a book, have enough time to read it, and then return it without having to pay. Perhaps even worse, they theorized some people might buy a book, put it up for sale on eBay at a premium, and if it doesn't sell in 14 days, send it back. Certainly, these are concerns, though they may be more theoretical then actual. That's a lot of work for saving a small amount of money, and if someone regularly abuses the privilege a bookseller could cut that customer off. The effect of the change is likely to be small, but presuming it goes through, time will tell.

Rare Book Monthly

  • <b>19th Century Shop:</b> Charles Darwin on sexuality and the transmission of hereditary characteristics: Autograph Letter Signed to Lawson Tait. Down, 17 January [1877].
    <b>19th Century Shop:</b> MILTON, JOHN. <i>Paradise Lost. A Poem written in ten books.</i> London: 1667. A very rare example with the contemporary binding untouched and with a 1667 title page.
    <b>19th Century Shop:</b> Hamilton secures the ratification of the Constitution: <i>The Debates and Proceedings of the Convention of the State of New-York, assembled at Poughkeespsie, on the 17th June, 1788.</i>
    <b>19th Century Shop:</b> The social contract “Man is born free, and everywhere he is in chains”: ROUSSEAU, JEAN-JACQUES. <i>Principes du Droit Politique [Du Contract Social]</i>. Amsterdam: Michel Rey, 1762
    <b>19th Century Shop:</b> “The first English textbook on geometrical land-measurement and surveying”: BENESE, RICHARD. <i>This Boke Sheweth the Maner of Measurynge All Maner of Lande…</i>
  • <b>Swann Auction Galleries Apr 26:</b> Jacques-Émile Ruhlmann, wallpaper sample book, circa 1919. $15,000 to $25,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Apr 26:</b> Archive from a late office of the Breuer & Smith architectural team, New York, 1960-70s. $3,500 to $5,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Apr 26:</b> William Morris, <i>The Story of the Glittering Plain or the Land of Living Men,</i> illustrated by Walter Crane, Kelmscott Press, Hammersmith, 1894. $2,500 to $3,500.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Apr 26:</b> Gustave Doré, <i>La Sainte Bible selon la Vulgate,</i> Tours, 1866. $15,000 to $25,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Apr 26:</b> Gustav Klimt & Max Eisler, <i>Eine Nachlese,</i> complete set, Vienna, 1931. $15,000 to $25,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Apr 26:</b><br>Eric Allatini & Gerda Wegener, <i>Sur Talons Rouges,</i> with original watercolor by Wegener, Paris, 1929. $5,000 to $7,500.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Apr 26:</b><br>C.P. Cavafy, <i>Fourteen Poems,</i> illustrated & signed by David Hockney, London, 1966. $5,000 to $7,500.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Apr 26:</b> Jean Midolle, <i>Spécimen des Écritures Modernes...</i>, Strasbourg, 1834-35. $3,000 to $4,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Apr 26:</b><br>E.A. Seguy, <i>Floréal: Dessins & Coloris Nouveaux,</i> Paris, 1925. $3,000 to $4,000.
  • <b>Bonhams: Results from Fine Books and Manuscripts on March 9, 2018</b>
    <b>Bonhams, Mar. 9:</b> BEETHOVEN, LUDWIG VAN. Autograph Manuscript sketch-leaf part of the score of the Scottish Songs, "Sunset" Op. 108 no 2. [Vienna, February 1818]. Inscribed by Alexander Wheelock Thayer. SOLD for $131,250
    <b>Bonhams, Mar. 9:</b> Violin belonging to Albert Einstein, presented to him by Oscar H. Steger, 1933. SOLD for $516,500
    <b>Bonhams, Mar. 9:</b> EINSTEIN, ALBERT. Autograph Letter Signed ("Papa") to his son Hans Albert, discussing his involvement with the atomic bomb, September 2, 1945. SOLD for $106,250
    <b>Bonhams: Results from Fine Books and Manuscripts on March 9, 2018</b>
    <b>Bonhams, Mar. 9:</b> HAMILTON, ALEXANDER. Autograph Letter Signed, to Baron von Steuben, with extensive notes of Von Steuben's aide Benjamin Walker, June 12, 1780. SOLD for $16,250
    <b>Bonhams, Mar. 9:</b> NEWTON, ISAAC. Autograph Manuscript in Latin, being detailed instructions on making the philosopher's stone. 8 pp. 1790s. SOLD for $275,000
    <b>Bonhams, Mar. 9:</b> 1869 Inauguration Bible of President Ulysses S. Grant. SOLD for $118,750
  • <b>Doyle, April 25:</b> E.H. SHEPARD, Original drawing for A.A. Milne’s The House at Pooh Corner.<br>$40,000-60,000
    <b>Doyle, April 25:</b> BERNARD RATZER, Plan of the City of New York in North America, surveyed in the years 1766 & 1767. $80,000-100,000
    <b>Doyle, April 25:</b> THOMAS JEFFERSON, Autograph letter signed comparing Logan, Tecumseh, and Little Turtle to the Spartans. Monticello: 15 February 1821. $14,000-18,000
    <b>Doyle, April 25:</b> JOHN C. FREMONT, Narrative of the Exploring Expedition to the Rocky Mountains, in the Year 1842.. Abridged edition, the only one containing the folding map From the Sporting Library of Arnold “Jake” Johnson. $3,000-5,000
    <b>Doyle, April 25:</b> ZANE GREY, Album containing 94 large format photographs of Grey and party at Catalina Island, Arizona, and fishing in the Pacific. From the Sporting Library of Arnold “Jake” Johnson. $5,000-$8,000
    <b>Doyle, April 25:</b> WILLIAM COMBE, A History of Madeira ... illustrative of the Costumes, Manners, and Occupations of the Inhabitants. produced by Ackermann in 1821; From the Sporting Library of Jake Johnson. $2,000-$3,000
    <b>Doyle, April 25:</b> ERIC TAVERNER, Salmon Fishing... One of 275 copies signed by Taverner, published in 1931,From the Sporting Library of Jake Johnson. $2,000-$3,000
    <b>Doyle, April 25:</b> JOHN WHITEHEAD, Exploration of Mount Kina Balu, North Borneo. Whitehead reached the high point of Kinabalu in 1888. Part of a major group of travel books from the Sporting Library of Jake Johnson. $2,000-$3,000
    <b>Doyle, April 25:</b> JOHN LONG, Voyages and Travels of an Indian Interpreter and Trader, describing the Manners and Customs of the North American Indians... The first edition of 1791. $3,000-$5,000
    <b>Doyle, April 25:</b> SAMUEL BECKETT, Stirrings Still. This, Beckett’s last work of fiction with original lithographs by Le Brocquy, limited to 200 copies signed by the author and the artist. From the Estate of Howard Kaminsky.. $1,500-$2,500

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