Rare Book Monthly

Articles - September - 2012 Issue

How to Quickly Locate Lots at Book Auctions All Over the World

Auctionsearch09-12

Select “Upcoming Auctions” and enter your search terms near top of page. Then click “Search."

The heavy fall auction season is about to begin. This makes for perfect timing for a reminder of a free AE service that is virtually a necessity for anyone considering bidding at auction, or just looking for a better understanding of the book market today. AE keeps a database of upcoming auction listings in the field of books, works on paper, and related ephemera at well over 150 auction houses around the world. This database is available to you for searching any time, at no charge. At the lightest time of the year, there may be under 10,000 lots available. At the busiest time, which is where we are heading right now, it may exceed 40,000 lots on any given day. Many of the lots in the database change almost daily, as one auction is completed and another one is posted, so it pays to come back at least every few days to search for your favorite subjects or books.

Here is how you search the auction database. Near the top of this page (and most every other page on AE), just below the toolbar, is a search box. It's the one with “Search for keywords here” in it. Before you enter your keywords, look at the three choices to the left of the search box. The choices are “AE Database,” “Upcoming Auctions,” and “Books for Sale.” Select “Upcoming Auctions.” Otherwise, you will get something else.

Next, put your keywords in the search box and click “search.” Mission accomplished. You will get a page that shows you for each match the name of the auction house, the date of the auction, the estimated price (if there is one) for the lot, and the title and a brief description. The title is a link to the detailed description. You can either click that link, or if, like me, you prefer the details to pop up in a new window, click the square, book-like icon next to the title.

You may also do an advanced search. Click “Advanced Search” to the right of the search box. It lets you target your matches more closely, by such parameters as author or date. We don't recommend you use it. The advanced search is really meant for the other search options, which access databases with millions of records. With a database that large, it makes sense to more finely target what you want so you aren't overwhelmed with matches. With the much smaller upcoming auction lot database, with no more than a few ten thousand lots, it is rare that you will be overwhelmed with matches. Searching more broadly (that is, using a keyword search) will reduce the odds that you miss an item you really want.

If you find a lot on which you would like to bid, there is a link to the auction house provided. You should contact them directly to place your bid. If you aren't sure how, just call or send them a message. They want your business. We don't place bids and aren't involved in the sales ourselves. We are more like Google – providing you with free access to essential information, with no favoritism for anyone.

If you are looking to find the price paid for an item after the auction, jot down the auction name, date, and lot number. Results are usually available within a couple of days for most auctions. Go to the “Upcoming Auctions” tab on the top toolbar. That will take you to a page with a calendar. Click on the correct date on the calendar, and then on the auction house's name on the list. That will give you the complete results. Scroll down to the lot numbers of interest.

Returning to the search box, for those curious about the other two options, one is for “Books for Sale.” This accesses a database of books offered for sale by independent booksellers. Rather than being a typical listing site, these listings provide contacts directly to the seller. There is no middleman. The other option is the “AE Database,” and this requires being a subscriber to access. It contains over 3.5 million records, primarily from auctions, some dating back over a hundred years, but particularly concentrated in those from the past decade. All of the lot descriptions you can access in the Upcoming Auction Search, once the prices are in, make their way to the AE Database. You will not find another searchable database of past auction/bibliographic records anything like this anywhere else. It is essential for booksellers, serious collectors, rare book librarians, book appraisers, and more. If you have any questions about it, drop me an email and I will do my best to provide an answer, or find someone smarter than I who can – mike@americanaexchange.com.

Just remember to come back to the auction search regularly so you don't miss any listings. Some auction houses only provide their lot listings a few days before an auction, so if you wait too long, many items will slip past you sight unseen. One might be the one you really want. The best way to make sure you don't forget is to bookmark this site and put it on your toolbar. That's www.americanaexchange.com.

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>Bonhams: September 25, New York</b>
    <b>Bonhams, June 12 results:</b> Ernst, Max. <i>Mr. Knife and Miss Fork</i>. Paris, 1932. DELUXE EDITION. Sold for $15,625
    <b>Bonhams, June 12 results:</b> Cage, John. Autograph musical leaf from his Concert for Piano and Orchestra, NY, 1958. Sold for $18,750
    <b>Bonhams, June 12 results:</b> Cage, John. Autograph musical leaf from his Concert for Piano and Orchestra, NY, 1958. Sold for $18,750
    <b>Bonhams: September 25, New York</b>
    <b>Bonhams, June 12 results:</b> Einstein, Albert. Signed Passport Photo for his US citizenship application. Bermuda, 1935. Sold for $17,500
    <b>Bonhams, June 12 results:</b> Verard, Antoine. Illuminated printed Book of Hours. Paris, 1507. Sold for $7,500
    <b>Bonhams, June 12 results:</b> Wetterkurzschlussel. German Weather Report Codebook - for Enigma use. Berlin, 1942. Sold for $225,000
    <b>Bonhams: September 25, New York</b>
    <b>Bonhams, June 12 results:</b> Morelos y Pavon, Jose Maria. Autograph letter signed to El Virrey Venegas, February 5, 1812. Sold for $6,250
    <b>Bonhams, June 12 results:</b> Milne, A.A. Complete set of <i>Winnie-the-Pooh</i> books. 4 volumes. All first issue points. London, 1924-1928. Sold for $5,250
    <b>Bonhams, June 12 results:</b> A 48-star American Flag, battle worn flown at Guadalcanal and Peleliu, 1942-1944. Sold for $35,000
    <b>Bonhams, June 12 results:</b> Locke, John. Autograph Letter Signed mourning the death of his friend, William Molyneaux, 2 pp, October 27, 1698. Sold for $20,000
  • <b>Chiswick Auctions: Summer Books. August 22, 2018</b>
    <b>Chiswick Auctions, Aug. 22:</b> Adams (Richard). <i>Watership Down,</i> FIRST EDITION, author inscription on front free end paper, folded map tipped in, original boards, dust-jacket. £800 to £1,200
    <b>Chiswick Auctions, Aug. 22:</b> Bowles (John). <i>Several Prospects of the Most…la Ville de Londres, avec des Remarques Historiques fort Succinctes, qui les Regardant,</i> 20 double page engraved plates only, of 23, 1724. £200 to £300
    <b>Chiswick Auctions, Aug. 22:</b> Auden (W.H.). <i>Our Hunting Fathers,</i> FIRST SEPARATE EDITION, 1 of 22 copies, COPY B OF 5 PRINTED ON NORMANDIE, original patterned wrappers, Cambridge, for Frederic Prokosch, 1935. £800 to £1200
    <b>Chiswick Auctions: Summer Books. August 22, 2018</b>
    <b>Chiswick Auctions, Aug. 22:</b> Barrie (J. M.) & Attwell (Mabel Lucie, illustrator). <i>Peter Pan & Wendy,</i> FIRST EDITION, 12 chromolithograph plates, publisher's blue cloth, original printed dust jacket, [c.1920]; and 3 others (4). £200 to £300
    <b>Chiswick Auctions, Aug. 22:</b> Bartolozzi (Francesco). Genius Calling Forth the Fine Arts to Adorn Manufactures and Commerce; Agriculture (Husbandry Aided by Arts and Commerce), glazed and framed. £200 to £300
    <b>Chiswick Auctions, Aug. 22:</b> A collection of engraved caricatures, including Gillray ([James]) Tales of Wonder!, 1802; Rowlandson (Thomas) Sports, Smock Racing, 1811;Irish Jaunting Carr, 1814. £400 to £600
    <b>Chiswick Auctions: Summer Books. August 22, 2018</b>
    <b>Chiswick Auctions, Aug. 22:</b> Bennett (Charles H, illustrator). <i>Æsop’s Fables,</i> 1875; Buchanan (Robert). <i>Ballad Stories of the Affections,</i> [1866]; Douce (Francis), The Dance of Death, 1833. £200 to £300
    <b>Chiswick Auctions, Aug. 22:</b> Chinese Illustrations. A group of 6 Cantonese rice paper illustrations, depicting scenes of torture with different instruments, gouache, c.340 x 220mm, original wrapper boards preserved, [c. 1800]. £200 to £300
    <b>Chiswick Auctions, Aug. 22:</b> Dulac (Edmund). <i>The Queen of Romania, The Dreamer of Dreams,</i> 5 coloured plates, [1915]; and others illustrated by Edmund Dulac. £300 to £400
    <b>Chiswick Auctions: Summer Books. August 22, 2018</b>
    <b>Chiswick Auctions, Aug. 22:</b> Fronth (Per). Xingu Chronicles, the portfolio, comprising 30 plates, photogravues in colours, each signed, dated and titled in pencil, each numbered 10/35, on wove paper, 790 x 600 x 60mm, 1997. £300 to £400
    <b>Chiswick Auctions, Aug. 22:</b> Pasternak (Boris). <i>Doctor Zhivago,</i> FIRST ENGLISH EDITION, original red publisher’s cloth, pictorial dust jacket, 4to, Collins & Harvill Press, 1958. £200 to £300
    <b>Chiswick Auctions, Aug. 22:</b> 13 sepia photographs of visitors to the Thermes Nationaux d’Aix-les-Bains, c. 150 x 105mm, c.1890 (12). £300 to £400
  • <b>Swann Auction Galleries:</b> Luis de Lucena, <i>Arte de Ajedres,</i> first edition of the earliest extant manual on modern chess, Salamanca, circa 1496-97. Sold for $68,750.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries:</b> Carte-de-visite album with 83 images of prominent African Americans & abolitionists, circa 1860s. Sold for $47,500.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries:</b> Gustav Klimt, <i>Das Werk,</i> Vienna & Leipzig, 1918. Sold for $106,250.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries:</b> Man Ray, <i>[London Transport] – Keeps London Going,</i> 1938. Sold for $149,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries:</b> Thomas Jefferson, Letter Signed, to Major-General Nathanael Greene, promising reinforcements against Cornwallis, 1781. Sold for $35,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries:</b> Nicolas de Fer, <i>L’Amerique Divisee Selon Letendue de ses Principales Parties,</i> Paris, 1713. Sold for $30,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries:</b> Russell H. Tandy, <i>The Secret in the Old Attic,</i> watercolor, pencil & ink, 1944. Sold for $35,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries:</b> Ernest Hemingway, <i>Three Stories & Ten Poems,</i> first edition of the author's first book, Paris, 1923. Sold for $23,750.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries:</b> Walker Evans, <i>River Rouge Plant,</i> silver print, 1947. Sold for $57,500.

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