• <b>19th Century Shop.</b> (DEMOCRATIC CONVENTION, Chicago, 1968). <i>Collection of papers of John M. Bailey, Chairman of the Democratic National Committee, concerning the convention</i>. Various places, 1968.
    <b>19th Century Shop.</b> (ARMSTRONG, NEIL.) VERNE, JULES. <i>A Trip to the Moon.</i> New York: F. M. Lupton, September 9, 1893. Signed by Neil Armstrong, first man to walk on the moon.
    <b>19th Century Shop.</b> KEY, FRANCIS SCOTT. <i>A Celebrated Patriotic Song, the Star Spangled Banner.</i> 1814.
    <b>19th Century Shop.</b> [COLUMBUS, CHRISTOPHER, Amerigo Vespucci ..] Bernardus Albingaunensis .. Dialogo nuperrime edito Genue in 1512.
    <b>19th Century Shop.</b> (WATKINS, TABER &c.). <i>An album of 32 photographs of the Yosemite and American West Various places</i>, c. 1890s
    <b>19th Century Shop.</b> (BATTLE OF CONCORD.) <i>Powder horn used by Minuteman Oliver Buttrick at the Battle of Concord</i>, April 19, 1775.
    <b>19th Century Shop.</b> (CIVIL WAR.) <i>An Extraordinary Confederate Photograph and Autograph Album of Dr. R. L. C. White</i>, 125 original mounted salt prints. 1859-61.
  • <b>Swann Auction Galleries:</b> Announcing the Fall 2016 Auction Season
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Nov 1:</b> Autographs
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Oct 18:</b> Early Printed, Medical, Scientific & Travel Books
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Nov 10:</b> 19th & 20th Century Literature
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Dec 8:</b> Maps & Atlases, Natural History & Colored Plate Books
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Nov 17:</b> Printed & Manuscript Americana
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Dec 1:</b> Art, Press & Illustrated Books
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Sep 29:</b> Illustration Art
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Nov 3:</b> Old Master Through Modern Prints
  • <b>Bonhams: Fine Books and Manuscripts. Sept. 21, 2016</b>
    <b>Bonhams Sept. 21:</b> WARREN, JOSEPH. Letter Signed ("Jos Warren") as Chairman of the Committee of Safety. Cambridge, MA, June 4, 1775.
    <b>Bonhams Sept. 21:</b> WHITMAN, WALT. Leaves of Grass. Brooklyn, NY: [for the Author], 1855.
    <b>Bonhams Sept. 21:</b> JEFFERSON, THOMAS. Printed Broadside Signed ("Th: Jefferson") as Secretary of State. Philadelphia, February 12, 1793.
    <b>Bonhams Sept. 21:</b> CELLINI, BENVENUTO. 1500-1571. Autograph Letter Signed ("Beto. Cellini"). [Florence, c.1566].
    <b>Bonhams: Fine Books and Manuscripts. Sept. 21, 2016</b>
    <b>Bonhams Sept. 21:</b> NAPOLEON BONAPARTE. Autograph Manuscript. [c.1795].
    <b>Bonhams Sept. 21:</b> DICKENS, CHARLES. Great Expectations. London: Chapman and Hall, 1861.
    <b>Bonhams Sept. 21:</b> REED, JOHN. To the Honourable House of Representatives of the Freemen of Pennsylvania this Map of the City and Liberties of Phiadelphia With the Catalog of Purchasers is Humbly Dedicated.... [Philadelphia]: engraved by James Smit
    <b>Bonhams Sept. 21:</b> ELIOT, THOMAS STEARNS. The Waste Land. New York: Boni and Liveright, 1922.

Rare Book Monthly

Articles - January - 2013 Issue

Once in a Lifetime

Psalm2

An understated binding

This copy then disappeared for most of 60 years then to reemerge in 1947 to be purchased at auction by A. S. W. Rosenbach on behalf of friends of Yale University who had authorized a bid of $85,000 and were later disappointed to learn that Mr. Rosenbach, on their behalf, paid $151,000.   Arguments ensued but the outcome was upheld and Yale received an exceptional copy and at some point stopped groaning.  Their concerns were not unjustified.  At that time, $151,000 was equal to tuition, room and board for 125 students for a full year.

Recently David Redden, Vice President of Sotheby’s and head of Books and Manuscripts of the 268-year-old auctioneer inspected the church’s copies and pronounced the one proposed for sale to be worth up to $25 million.   He no doubt has it right.  The only question is whether the purchaser will be Bill Gates, Steve Wynn or another very wealthy individual whose name may not be disclosed for a generation.  If Mr. Wynn is the buyer the book will be displayed at one of his casinos tastefully positioned between a Monet and Houdini’s handcuffs.

 

While the price may reach nicely into 8 digits the substantial commission will be the outcome of a discussion between serious parties on both sides.  At $10 million the stated commission at Sotheby’s is $1,282,500.  Experience suggests some accommodation is possible.  In any event other houses will offer attractive proposals and the church will have its pick.

This said, there is a certain alchemy to auction presentation and sale and all houses do not do this equally well.  If the church wants, and in my opinion the book deserves, a regal presentation it will have fewer choices and the options will be complicated.  Therefore while the church can pray for help I suggest they also retain two knowledgeable negotiators.  Logically auction houses in the running should have existing good relations with the logical bidders.  Rapport engenders trust and trust will be the currency most needed when decisions are made about bids.
  

As to who might buy it I suggested to Bailey that of the nine institutions that own a copy, many are noticeably not as good as the example to be sold and therefore they may be interested.  To this he said, “No, institutions with lesser copies rarely trade up.  They are happy to have a copy, any copy, even if it’s only a substantial fragment.”  He believes a private collector will purchase it and Bill Reese agrees.  I mentioned Bill Gates and Bailey said he too had him first on his list.  “Such a book requires a longer perspective that looks beyond money to the symbolic value of such a commitment.”  For Mr. Gates, a collector of serious books who has committed billions to eradicating malaria in Africa, a commitment to America’s first book, whose sale will directly support the Old South Church's outreach programs, seems highly plausible.  As well, Steve Green, owner of the craft chain Hobby Lobby has an extraordinary collection of Bibles, is building a museum for them in Washington and may find this book irresistible.   


Posted On: 2013-01-01 00:00
User Name: knathan

You mean the 92nd St. Y in NYC, not 72nd St.


Posted On: 2013-01-09 00:00
User Name: PeterReynolds

Some churches here in Scotland and a few in America still sing from a book produced only 10 years after this. We use the Scottish Psalter o


Rare Book Monthly

  • <b>Seth Kaller:</b> Leaves from<br>George Washington's Own Draft <br>of His first Inaugural Address. An Extraordinary Rarity!
    <b>Seth Kaller:</b> Declaration of Independence: Benjamin Tyler 1818 - First Print with Facsimile Signatures.
    <b>Seth Kaller:</b> Thomas Jefferson Signed Act of Contress Authorizing Alexander Hamilton to Complete Famous Portland Maine Lighthouse.
    <b>Seth Kaller:</b> Emanuel Leutze. Silk Flag Banner designed by Leutze, created by Tiffany & Co., and presented to Gen. John A. Dix, 1864.
    <b>Seth Kaller:</b> The "greatest of early American maps … a masterpiece" (Corcoran). Thomas Holme.
    <b>Seth Kaller:</b> Lincoln Summons His Cabinet for a Historic Meeting to Discuss Compensated Emancipation.
    <b>Seth Kaller:</b> Albert Einstein. Autograph Letter Signed. Einstein Counsels His Son ... Meaning of Life.
    <b>Seth Kaller:</b> Normal Rockwell. Painting/Drawing Signed. Rockwell's "Barbeshop Quartet", 1936.
    <b>Seth Kaller:</b> Frederick Douglass. Autograph Letter Signed to unknown correspondent. Washington, D.C.
    <b>Seth Kaller:</b> Harry Truman. Autograph Manuscript Notebook for Kansas City Law School Night Class.
    <b>Seth Kaller:</b> Robert E. Lee. Autograph Letter Signed, June 11, 1782. Hours after the Battle of Culpeper Court House, Lee Escapes Again.
    <b>Seth Kaller:</b> George Washington. Letter Signed, as Commander-in-Chief, Continental Army, to Elias Dayton, Headquarters, [Newburgh, N.Y.], June 11, 1782.

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