Though no important Sendak collections have passed through the auction rooms in the last month, on eBay items purporting to be unusual signed or early Sendak got hundreds of hits and some solid closing prices.
Though there were many items that did not sell or did not make their asking price, here are a few examples of prices paid in recent days on eBay:
- $3,050 Framed print signed by Sendak with 16 bids
- $800 Wild Things early signed with sketch on title page no dust jacket
- $710 Signed color silk screen
- $600 Self portrait with Mickey Mouse signed
- $600 Wild Things 25th Anniversary edition signed with a small sketch.
- $450 Art of Maurice Sendak, first edition inscribed and signed
- A somewhat later, somewhat lesser copy of the same book, signed inscribed got 223 hits, 16 bids and went for $150.
To be sure, there were some obvious clunkers in the mix. As with every topic that catches the public’s fancy there are people who are misguided or mistaken in their offerings. It’s easy to find examples of books represented as firsts which clearly aren’t and signatures on dubious book plates that don’t match known examples of his handwriting; but that’s what a feeding frenzy is all about. It’s a jungle out there, so buyer beware.
Joyce Hanrahan is the Expert
One good way to avoid paying too much or being misled is to own a copy of Joyce Hanrahan’s excellent Sendak bibliography: Works of Maurice Sendak - Revised and Expanded to 2001.
This hard cover book contains 190 pages and a total of 640 plus listings. Detailed entries describe first appearances of the works written and/or illustrated by Sendak. It also lists ephemera, related books and articles, posters and lithographs. In short, it is an invaluable reference tool for booksellers, collectors and librarians.
Doubtless the collectors and dealers will turn first to the points for Wild Things, listed as item 58. There is no real short form for nailing the identifying marks other than to say that the proof is mostly on the dust jacket.
It should show the $3.50 price on the flap ($3.79 for the library edition).The jacket copy should lack any mention of the Caldecott award and there is no gold Caldecott seal on the front panel.