Rare Book Monthly

Articles - February - 2004 Issue

(e)Bay Watch


This is an original old Colonial document from New Paltz, New York dated 1734/5. $455

By Bruce McKinney

It’s 5:05 am on a Sunday morning and I’m up early to review the auctions on eBay I’m bidding at today. The material I’m focusing on only came to my attention during the past week. Much of it is obscure. Recently there’s been a nice run of upstate New York lots and I have a representative selection of it heaped around my desk this morning. Boxes and envelopes have been steadily coming over the transom all month. My collecting focus is the Hudson Valley and I’ve been buying interesting, generally inexpensive unpredictable material. For today and tomorrow there are twelve items I’m following. Week to week the numbers go up and down and I can always look more widely if I have an itch that needs to be scratched. Identifying interesting material isn’t difficult.

On Æ I use MatchMaker keywords as scouts to identify interesting objects. Right now I’m using 39 keywords and linked terms and I continue to add to them and in time will probably eliminate some. So far I’m only adding. Eventually I’ll have a hundred or more. These keywords are place names such as New Paltz ,Poughkeepsie, Mohonk and Minnewaska, printer names such as Paraclette Potter, Josiah Priest and Munsell, and categories such as almanac and “poetry nineteenth century” and Huguenot.

Every night AE runs each member’s keywords against all listings in the old and rare book category on eBay and immediately reports every match it finds. The title line on each eBay lot is shown as are the matched keyword(s) found in this lot, the bid price at the time, the day and time the lot was posted to auction and finally the day and time the auction will end. Lots are listed in the order of “closing date and time” and I can click on the heading to reverse the order.

All keywords are not equally effective. Poughkeepsie is the perfect keyword because it doesn’t show up by accident very often. Milton, as in Milton, New York, does. I have nothing against John Milton but I see a steady flow of his material because he shares his name with the Hudson Valley community I’m interested in. It amounts to about 3 listings a day. Fortunately I can easily see that the match isn’t what I want and delete it. It doesn’t take any time. I just wish there were some Milton, New York items.

When I see a match in the eBay Auction Keyword Matches on AE that looks interesting and click on it the full eBay listing comes up. I then can save it to either my eBay wish list on eBay or simply mark the record (select) on my MatchMaker screen. On eBay this is a free service they provide to registered bidders and it is very easy. Saving it in MatchMaker has two advantages. On eBay there is a limit of 30 items you can have in the “items I’m following” category at any one time and it isn’t always enough so I keep a portion of my listings in MatchMaker. The second reason is that I’m searching the AED as I’m reviewing auction listings and linking into ABE to compare listings and prices. It’s an effective home base.

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 Mar 8:<br>Early Printed, Medical, Scientific & Travel Books</b>
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 8:</b> Caius Julius Hyginus, <i>Poeticon Astronomicon,</i> first illustrated edition, Venice, 1482. $15,000 to $20,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 8:</b> Giovanni Botero, <i>Le Relationi Universali... divise in Sette Parti</i>, Venice, 1618. $3,000 to $5,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 8:</b> <i>L'Escole des Filles</i>, likely third edition of the first work of pornographic fiction in French, 1676. $8,000 to $12,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 8:<br>Early Printed, Medical, Scientific & Travel Books</b>
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 8:</b> Illuminated Book of Hours in Latin on vellum, Flanders, early 16th century. $6,000 to $9,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 8:</b> Johannes Regiomontanus, <i>Calendarium,</i> Venice, 1485. $8,000 to $12,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 8:</b> Pedro de Medina, <i>Libro d[e] gra[n]dezas y cosas memorables de España,</i> Alcalá de Henares, 1566. $3,000 to $5,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 8:<br>Early Printed, Medical, Scientific & Travel Books</b>
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 8:</b><br>Luis de Lucena, <i>Arte de Ajedres,</i> Salamanca, circa 1496-97. $10,000 to $15,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 8:</b> Andrés Serrano, <i>Los Siete Principes de los Ángeles, válidos de Rey del Cielo,</i> Spain, 1707. $800 to $1,200.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 8:</b> Johannes de Sacrobosco, <i>Sphaera mundi,</i> first illustrated edition, Venice, 1478. $15,000 to $20,000.
  • <b>Bonhams, Feb. 11:</b> A Rare 3-rotor German Enigma I Enciphering Machine. $70,000 to $90,000
    <b>Bonhams, Feb. 11:</b> Important collection of correspondence between Werner Heisenberg and Bruno Rossi. $40,000 to $60,000
    <b>Bonhams, Feb. 11:</b> Walt Whitman Autograph manuscript containing his thoughts on death. $20,000 to $30,000
    <b>Bonhams, Feb. 11:</b> David Roberts. <i>Holy Land</i>. Six volumes. 1842-1849. First edition. $15,000 to $25,000
    <b>Bonhams, Feb. 11:</b> Extensive collection of Ray Bradbury's primary works, most signed or inscribed. $15,000 to $20,000
    <b>Bonhams, Feb. 11:</b> Peter Force. Declaration of Independence. $12,000 to $18,000
    <b>Bonhams, Feb. 11:</b> Steinbeck. <i>Grapes of Wrath</i>. A fine copy of the first edition. $10,000 to $15,000
    <b>Bonhams, Feb. 11:</b> Lewis & Clark. <i>Travels to the Source of the Missouri River</i>... First English edition, extra-illustrated. 1814. $10,000 to 15,000
    <b>Bonhams, Feb. 11:</b> Manuscript document signed by Nuno de Guzman relating to Hernan Cortes, 1528. $8,000 to $12,000
    <b>Bonhams, Feb. 11:</b> “Nos los inquisidores..." The first book in English printed West of the Mississippi. [1787]. $5,000 to $8,000.

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