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>Fonsie Mealy Auctioneers:<br>Rare & Collectors’ Sale. May 2, 2018</b>
    <b>Fonsie Mealy, May 2:</b> Extremely Fine Copy of Fantasy Classic. Tolkien (J.R.R.) <i>The Hobbit, or There and Back Again,</i> L. (George Allen & Unwin Ltd. Museum Street) 1937. €20,000 to €30,000
    <b>Fonsie Mealy, May 2:</b> Incunabula. [Sirectus, Antonius] O’Fihely (Maurice)Abp. <i>Formalitates de Mente Doctoris Subtilis Scoti Nec Non Stephai Burlifer cum novis additionibus…</i> Venice 14th December 1051 (ie. 1501). €3,000 to €4,000
    <b>Fonsie Mealy, May 2:</b> Original Book Illustrations by Pamela Leonard. Illustrations: Regan (Peter) Touchstone, 8vo D. (Mount Salas Press) 1989. €3,500 to €4,500
    <b>Fonsie Mealy Auctioneers:<br>Rare & Collectors’ Sale. May 2, 2018</b>
    <b>Fonsie Mealy, May 2:</b> [Petit (Jean), Prevel (Jean) & Gregory (Pope)] [Gregorius]. <i>Compendium Textuale Compillationis decretalium Gregorri noni sine qua…</i>, Paris [Dec. 1524]. €350 to €500
    <b>Fonsie Mealy, May 2:</b> Excessively Rare – V. Fine Copy. [Mac Mahon]. <i>Jus Primatiale Armacanum, In Omnes Archiepiscopos, Episcopos, et Universum Clerum</i>… [n.p.] 1728. €750 to €1,000
    <b>Fonsie Mealy, May 2:</b> Madden (R.R.). <i>Travels in Turkey, Egypt, Nubia and Palestine in 1824, 1825, 1826 and 1827,</i> 2 vols. 1822. €500 to €700
    <b>Fonsie Mealy Auctioneers:<br>Rare & Collectors’ Sale. May 2, 2018</b>
    <b>Fonsie Mealy, May 2:</b> Early English Herbal. Gerarde (John). The Herball or General History of Plants, thick folio L. (John Norton) 1597. €700 to €1,000
    <b>Fonsie Mealy, May 2:</b> The Tehran World War 2 Conference Photograph: [Tehran Conference 1943] An important and iconic Group Photograph showing Churchill, Roosevelt and Stalin. €80 to €120
    <b>Fonsie Mealy, May 2:</b> Natural History Specimens from Jersey Jersey Islands: Westacton [Mrs Acton] Collection of 53 original dried examples of Seaweed collected in Jersey, c. 1860. €300 to €400
    <b>Fonsie Mealy Auctioneers:<br>Rare & Collectors’ Sale. May 2, 2018</b>
    <b>Fonsie Mealy, May 2:</b> Plyglot Bible: Hutteri (Eliae). <i>Biblia Sacra, Ebraice, Chaldaice, Graece, Latinae, Germanice, Sclavonice.</i> Lg. folio Nurimberg 1599. €250 to €350
    <b>Fonsie Mealy, May 2:</b> The American Invasion 1888: “First Ever G.A.A. Hurling Match in America” Medal: G.A.A., The Invaders, 1888. €2,000 to €3,000
    <b>Fonsie Mealy, May 2:</b> “Babe” Ruth and the G.A.A. G.A.A. & Baseball: A unique and early Sporting Association. An original Spalding B12 Baseball Bat. €4,000 to €6,000
  • <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

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