• <b>Ketterer Kunst Hamburg: Rare Books Auction on May 28th</b>
    <b>Ketterer Rare Books, May 28:</b> Book of Hours. Workshop Vrelant, around 1460-70. Est: € 30,000
    <b>Ketterer Rare Books, May 28:</b> J. J. Marinoni, <i>De Astronomica specula,</i> 1745. Est: € 12,000
    <b>Ketterer Rare Books, May 28:</b> C. S. Lewis, <i>The Chronicles of Narnia,</i> 1950-56. Est: € 7,500
    <b>Ketterer Kunst Hamburg: Rare Books Auction on May 28th</b>
    <b>Ketterer Rare Books, May 28:</b> G. W. Knorr, <i>Regnum florae,</i> 1750. Est:<br>€ 15,000
    <b>Ketterer Rare Books, May 28:</b> A. M. S. Boethius, <i>De philosophico consolatu,</i> 1501. Est: € 8,000
    <b>Ketterer Rare Books, May 28:</b> J. Joyce, <i>Ulysses,</i> 1922. Est: € 5,000
    <b>Ketterer Kunst Hamburg: Rare Books Auction on May 28th</b>
    <b>Ketterer Rare Books, May 28:</b> Ornaments by H. Vogeler, 1900. Est:<br>€ 4,000
    <b>Ketterer Rare Books, May 28:</b> <i>Biblia Germanica,</i> 1490. Est: € 15,000
    <b>Ketterer Rare Books, May 28:</b> F. M. Regenfuss, <i>Auserlesne Schnecken und Muscheln,</i> 1758. Est: € 18,000
    <b>Ketterer Kunst Hamburg: Rare Books Auction on May 28th</b>
    <b>Ketterer Rare Books, May 28:</b> Einband Henry van de Velde, 1929. Est: € 4,000
    <b>Ketterer Rare Books, May 28:</b> <i>Hortus Sanitatis,</i> 1517. Est: € 12,000
    <b>Ketterer Rare Books, May 28:</b> R. Crevel and J. Miró, 1957. Est: € 3,500
  • <b>Forum Auctions: Fine Books, Manuscripts and Works on Paper. May 31, 2018</b>
    <b>Forum Auctions, May 31:</b> Simcoe (John Graves). Plan of the Province of Upper Canada with part of the Adjacent Countries, manuscript map… with numerous contemporary annotations. £6,000 to £8,000
    <b>Forum Auctions, May 31:</b> Ramusio (Giovanni Battista). <i>Delle Navigationi et Viaggi,</i> 3 vol., mixed edition, 3 double-page engraved maps and 7 folding woodcut maps, Venice, Giunti, 1613. £6,000 to £8,000
    <b>Forum Auctions, May 31:</b> Dickens (Charles). <i>A Christmas Carol,</i> first edition, first issue, Chapman & Hall, 1843. £6,000 to £8,000
    <b>Forum Auctions: Fine Books, Manuscripts and Works on Paper. May 31, 2018</b>
    <b>Forum Auctions, May 31:</b> Book of Hours. Hours of the Virgin [Use of Rome] in Latin, miniature illuminated manuscript on vellum with 6 full-page miniatures and 6 large initials with borders, Flanders, [2nd quarter of 15th century]. £6,000 to £8,000
    <b>Forum Auctions, May 31:</b> G.K. Chesterton archive. Collection of poems, drawings, letters and cards sent to Enid Simon, 1920s. £6,000 to £8,000
    <b>Forum Auctions, May 31:</b> Pasternak (Boris). <i>Doktor Zhivago</i> original typescript, 2 vol., with manuscript corrections and insertions by the author, the George Katkov copy, c.1956. £100,000 to £150,000
    <b>Forum Auctions: Fine Books, Manuscripts and Works on Paper. May 31, 2018</b>
    <b>Forum Auctions, May 31:</b> Tolkien (J.R.R.). <i>The Hobbit,</i> first edition, first impression, 1937. £20,000 to £30,000
    <b>Forum Auctions, May 31:</b> Milton (John). <i>Paradise Lost & Paradise Regain'd,</i> 2 vol., one of 10 copies printed on vellum, Cresset Press, 1931. £8,000 to £12,000
    <b>Forum Auctions, May 31:</b> Electricity and the vacuum.- Guericke (Otto von). <i>Experimenta nova (ut vocantur) Magdeburgica de Vacuo Spatio,</i> first edition; bound with <i>Philosophia Universa de Microcosmo</i>. £12,000 to £16,000
    <b>Forum Auctions, May 31:</b> [The Holy Land, Syria, Idumea, Arabia, Egypt & Nubia ...], vignette title and 42 plates from the deluxe subscriber's edition, 1842-1849 (43). £7,000 to £10,000
  • <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>

Rare Book Monthly

Articles - May - 2013 Issue

Is the Field Museum Considering a $50 Million Book Sale?

Fieldmuse

The Field Museum.

In an article published last month, the Chicago Tribune reported that the Field Museum was considering selling some of its artifacts. Specifically considered was the museum's rare book collection. The Tribune reported that a committee evaluating its financial situation determined that the collection could bring up to $50 million. Within a day, the local NBC affiliate reported that spokeswoman Nancy O'Shea had stated there are “no plans at this time to sell any more collections.” That is not exactly a “Shermanesque” statement, but serves as a placeholder for now until some more definitive conclusion is reached.

The Field is not going out of business. It is one of the nation's foremost natural and human history museums. Nonetheless, it faces financial challenges. In 2004, the museum decided to sell off most of its collection of Catlin paintings. George Catlin was an artist from the first half of the 19th century who went west to paint Indians in their still mostly unspoiled habitat. They had owned the paintings almost since the museum opened in 1893. At the time of the sale, the museum said that they did not fit in with their mission and funds could best be used for other collections. However, while it may have sounded at the time that the funds would be used exclusively to purchase other artifacts more suitable to their mission, at least some of the proceeds went towards salaries.

In late 2010, according to the Tribune, a consulting firm recommended a thorough evaluation of the museum's assets, and it was from this that an estimate of $30-$50 million for the rare books was determined. Meanwhile, in December 2012, the museum announced that it would try to cut costs by $5 million annually, and raise its endowment by $100 million. Later, an early retirement offer was made to a substantial number of its curators. Considering its financial goals, one can easily see that much progress could be made towards achieving them if the museum determines that its rare books, like the Catlins before, are no longer critical to its mission.

The Field possesses one spectacular book in particular that might well bring the highest price ever paid at auction for a printed book. That record is held by John James Audubon's Birds of America, the double elephant folio first edition. A copy of that item sold for approximately $11.5 million in 2010. The Field Museum holds a copy of that same book, and it is almost certainly more valuable than the 2010 auction copy. It is one of but two or three copies produced containing the 13 extra “composite” plates that Audubon ordered up. These are prints that were created by combining images from two different plates on the same page. Six of each image were made, but only three were meant to be bound into copies of Birds of America – Audubon's personal copy, plus those he gave to friends Benjamin Phillips and Edward Harris. Harris' copy, however, was unlikely ever bound, leaving just two. The Field has the Phillips' copy.

This is not so much a story about the Field Museum as an issue of our times, one that may be faced more in the years ahead as curators deal with issues of shrinking budgets and widening collections. Ultimately, the Field will do just fine. Smaller institutional collectors may not do so well. This is an issue of which both dealers and collectors of books need to be aware. It can affect the market.

If the Field Museum feels compelled to at least think of selling its books, what about smaller institutions, with tighter budgets and less access to major resources? Museums, libraries, rare book rooms, both private and university related, are all under pressure. While most collectors simply put their books on a shelf, maintenance, climate control, supervision, security are all costs associated with institutional collections. It's not like once they buy or are given a book, the costs go away. They go on forever, even if many of those books are rarely if ever accessed.

With the advent of digital copies, institutions who collected rare books primarily for research may feel there is no longer a compelling reason to maintain these collections. For others, the existence of electronic copies may provide an excuse for disposing of their copies. Collecting habits are changing, and while the market at the top appears strong, mid-priced material often struggles. The quantity of books offered at auction the past two years has been increasing, and an unexpected additional supply can have an impact. Pricing is, after all, a matter of supply and demand. For those who buy and sell books, it is wise to always keep a hand on the pulse of the market.

Rare Book Monthly

  • <b>Bonhams: Fine Books and Manuscripts. June 12, 2018</b>
    <b>Bonhams, June 12:</b> Ortelius. Theatrum orbis terrarum. Antwerp, 1570. FIRST EDITION. $50,000 to $80,000
    <b>Bonhams, June 12:</b> Shakespeare, William. The Tragedie of Julius Caesar. London, 1623. 1st appearance in print, Complete from the First Folio. $50,000 to $70,000
    <b>Bonhams, June 12:</b> Ernst, Max. Mr. Knife and Miss Fork. Paris, 1932. DELUXE EDITION. $12,000 to $18,000
    <b>Bonhams: Fine Books and Manuscripts. June 12, 2018</b>
    <b>Bonhams, June 12:</b> Cage, John. Autograph musical leaf from his Concert for Piano and Orchestra, NY, 1958. $10,000 to $15,000
    <b>Bonhams, June 12:</b> Einstein, Albert. Signed Passport Photo for his US citizenship application. Bermuda, 1935. $8,000 to $12,000
    <b>Bonhams, June 12:</b> Verard, Antoine. Illuminated printed Book of Hours. Paris, 1507. $8,000 to $12,000
    <b>Bonhams: Fine Books and Manuscripts. June 12, 2018</b>
    <b>Bonhams, June 12:</b> Wetterkurzschlussel. German Weather Report Codebook - for Enigma use. Berlin, 1942. $20,000 to $30,000
    <b>Bonhams, June 12:</b> Hemingway, Ernest. Large Photograph, inscribed by Hemingway. Madrid, 1959. $10,000 to $15,000
    <b>Bonhams, June 12:</b> Morelos y Pavon, Jose Maria. Autograph letter signed to El Virrey Venegas, February 5, 1812. $7,000 to $10,000
    <b>Bonhams: Fine Books and Manuscripts. June 12, 2018</b>
    <b>Bonhams, June 12:</b> Milne, A.A. Complete set of Winnie-the-Pooh books. 4 volumes. All first issue points. London, 1924-1928. $6,000 to $9,000
    <b>Bonhams, June 12:</b> A 48-star American Flag, battle worn flown at Guadalcanal and Peleliu, 1942-1944. $10,000 to $15,000
    <b>Bonhams, June 12:</b> Locke, John. Autograph Letter Signed mourning the death of his friend, William Molyneaux, 2 pp, October 27, 1698. $7,000 to $10,000
  • <b>ALDE: May 30, 2018. Books by painters, original bindings, photography, prints and drawings, illustrated books.</b>
    <b>ALDE, May 30:</b> BRETON (André). <i>Arcane 17.</i> New York, Brentano's, 1944. One of the 25 first copies with the original etching signed by Roberto Matta. 6000 to 8000 €
    <b>ALDE, May 30:</b> HÉRON DE VILLEFOSSE (René). <i>La Rivière enchantée.</i> Paris, Bernard Klein, 1951. One of the 25 first copies on japon with an original watercolored drawing signed by Léonard Foujita. 60,000 to 80,000 €
    <b>ALDE, May 30:</b> ILIAZD. <i>Pirosmanachvili 1914.</i> Paris, Le Degré quarante et un, 1972. Dry point signed by Pablo Picasso. 5,000 to 6,000 €
    <b>ALDE: May 30, 2018. Books by painters, original bindings, photography, prints and drawings, illustrated books.</b>
    <b>ALDE, May 30:</b> JARRY (Alfred). <i>Ubu Roi.</i> Paris, Tériade, 1966. 13 lithographs by Joan Miró. 6,000 to 8,000 €
    <b>ALDE, May 30:</b> LEIRIS (Michel). <i>Vivantes cendres, innommées.</i> Paris, Jean Hugues, 1961. 13 original etchings by Alberto Giacometti. 12,000 to 15,000 €
    <b>ALDE, May 30:</b> MATISSE (Henri). <i>Jazz.</i> Paris, Tériade, 1947. 20 original pochoirs by Henri Matisse. 100,000 to 120,000 €
    <b>ALDE: May 30, 2018. Books by painters, original bindings, photography, prints and drawings, illustrated books.</b>
    <b>ALDE, May 30:</b> PAULHAN (Jean). <i>De Mauvais sujets.</i> Paris, Les Bibliophiles de l’Union Française, 1958. 10 etchings by Marc Chagall. 5,000 to 6,000 €
    <b>ALDE, May 30:</b> RONSARD (Pierre de). Layout for the book <i>Florilège des Amours.</i> Paris, Albert Skira, 1948. 128 lithographs, with many corrections by hand by Henri Matisse. 80,000 to 100,000 €
    <b>ALDE, May 30:</b> TING (Walasse). <i>1¢ life.</i> Bern, E.W. Kornfeld, 1964. One of the 100 deluxe copies with the 62 lithographs signed by the 28 artists. 15,000 to 20,000 €
    <b>ALDE: May 30, 2018. Books by painters, original bindings, photography, prints and drawings, illustrated books.</b>
    <b>ALDE, May 30:</b> SUGIMOTO (Hiroshi). <i>Time exposed.</i> Kyoto, Kyoto Shoin Co. Ltd., 1991. 51 offset lithographs. 10,000 to 12,000 €
    <b>ALDE, May 30:</b> SZAFRAN (Sam). Black and brown ink original drawing. 550 x 410 mm. 5,000 to 6,000 €
    <b>ALDE, May 30:</b> KIPLING (Rudyard). <i>La Chasse de Kaa.</i> Paris, Javal et Bourdeaux, 1930. 115 colored woodcuts by Paul Jouve. 5,000 to 6,000 €
  • <b>Chiswick Auctions: Modern First Editions, Illustrated Books & Limited Editions. May 30, 2018</b>
    <b>Chiswick Auctions, May 30:</b> Hammett (Dashiell). <i>The Maltese Falcon,</i> FIRST EDITION. A very good copy of this most influential detective fiction novel. £8,000 to £12,000
    <b>Chiswick Auctions, May 30:</b> Hemingway (Ernest). <i>In Our Time,</i> FIRST EDITION, NUMBER 137 OF 170 COPIES on Rives handmade paper. £15,000 to £18,000
    <b>Chiswick Auctions, May 30:</b> Hemingway (Ernest). <i>A Farewell to Arms,</i> FIRST EDITION, inscribed by the author to Mike Murphy, a Hemingway biographer and scholar. £4,000 to £6,000
    <b>Chiswick Auctions: Modern First Editions, Illustrated Books & Limited Editions. May 30, 2018</b>
    <b>Chiswick Auctions, May 30:</b> Kerouac (Jack). <i>On the Road,</i> FIRST EDITION, New York, Viking, 1957. £2,000 to £3,000
    <b>Chiswick Auctions, May 30:</b> Ransome (Arthur). <i>Swallows and Amazons,</i> FIRST EDITION, ownership inscription to half title. Only 2,000 copies of the first edition printed. £3,000 to £4,000
    <b>Chiswick Auctions, May 30:</b> Sewell (Anna). <i>Black Beauty: His Grooms and Companions. The Autobiography of a Horse. Translated from the original Equine,</i> FIRST EDITION, engraved frontispiece. £3,000 to £4,000
    <b>Chiswick Auctions: Modern First Editions, Illustrated Books & Limited Editions. May 30, 2018</b>
    <b>Chiswick Auctions, May 30:</b> Capa (Robert). <i>Omaha Beach D-Day, June 6th, 1944,</i> gelatine silver print, printed under the direct supervision of Cornell Capa, 40 x 50.5 cm. £3,000 to £5,000
    <b>Chiswick Auctions, May 30:</b> Cartier-Bresson (Henri). 'Loudres – Pilgrims Assemble', silver print, stamps and annotations on verso, very slight scratch, 170 x 240 mm, 1950. £2,000 to £3,000
    <b>Chiswick Auctions, May 30:</b> Carroll, Lewis [Dodgson, Charles Lutwidge]. <i>The Nursery Alice,</i> FIRST EDITION, a very rare inscribed, dedication copy. £8,000 to £10,000
    <b>Chiswick Auctions: Modern First Editions, Illustrated Books & Limited Editions. May 30, 2018</b>
    <b>Chiswick Auctions, May 30:</b> Potter (Beatrix). <i>The Tale of Peter Rabbit,</i> FIRST EDITION, FIRST PRINTING, limited to 250 copies [with] the FIRST PUBLISHED EDITION. £12,000 to £15,000
    <b>Chiswick Auctions, May 30:</b> Wells (H. G.). <i>War of the Worlds,</i> original Danish manuscript, the text written out in block script ink, with over 620 original drawings in ink and watercolour. £1,800 to £2,200
    <b>Chiswick Auctions, May 30:</b> Toulouse-Lautrec (Henri de).- Clemenceau (Georges). <i>Au Pied de Sinai,</i> NUMBER 104 OF 355 COPIES, with the suite of 10 lithographs by Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec in 2 states. £1,500 to £2,000
  • <b>Arenberg Auctions: May 25 and<br>May 26, 2018</b>
    <b>Arenberg Auctions, May 25 & 26:</b> VAN ORLEY, Richard. "Les avantures de Telemaque fils d'Ulÿsse &c." Set of 86 superb ink drawings. 45,000 to 60,000 €
    <b>Arenberg Auctions, May 25 & 26:</b> Gojôraku Tôkaidô [or] Tôkaidô meisho fukei. Processional Tôkaido drawn by Prof. Moro, coloured prints in one set of 100 sheets]. 15,000 to 18,000 €
    <b>Arenberg Auctions, May 25 & 26:</b> DURAS, Marguerite. <i>Moderato cantabile.</i> Original lithographs by André Minaux. 22 lithographs. 4,000 to 4,500 €
    <b>Arenberg Auctions: May 25 and<br>May 26, 2018</b>
    <b>Arenberg Auctions, May 25 & 26:</b> ADAMS, Georges. A pair of 18-inch English globes. [London], s.n., [1766]. ORIGINAL GLOBES by Georges Adams dedicated to King George III. 9,000 to 12,000 €
    <b>Arenberg Auctions, May 25 & 26:</b> BLAEU, Joan. <i>[Atlas maior, sive cosmographia blaviana, qua solum, salum, coelum, accuratissime describuntur]. Geographia, quae est cosmographiae Blaviana pars prima [...].</i> 250,000 to 350,000 €
    <b>Arenberg Auctions, May 25 & 26:</b> VAN DER MEULEN, Adam Frans. <i>[Vues, marches, entrées, passages et autres sujets servant à l'histoire de Louis XIV].</i> 35,000 to 50,000 €
    <b>Arenberg Auctions: May 25 and<br>May 26, 2018</b>
    <b>Arenberg Auctions, May 25 & 26:</b> GALILEI, Galileo. <i>Galileo a Madama Cristina di Lorena</i> (1615). Precious copy of one of the most famous and popular miniature books. 2,500 to 3,000 €
    <b>Arenberg Auctions, May 25 & 26:</b> Biblia Vulgata. Latin. [France, last quarter 13th c.] 8,000 to 12,000 €
    <b>Arenberg Auctions, May 25 & 26:</b> Horae. Use of Rome. Latin (and a few French rubrics). [Hainaut (Mons or Valenciennes), c. 1490]. 40,000 to 50,000 €
    <b>Arenberg Auctions: May 25 and<br>May 26, 2018</b>
    <b>Arenberg Auctions, May 25 & 26:</b> GARSIAS, Paulus. <i>[Determinationes magistrales contra conclusions Joannis Pici Mirandulae].</i> (Rome, E. Silber, 15 October 1489). 12,000 to 15,000 €
    <b>Arenberg Auctions, May 25 & 26:</b> LORRIS, Guillaume de; MEUNG, Jean de. <i>Le rommant de la Rose nouuellement reueu et corrige oultre les precedentes impressions</i> [ed. Guillaume Michel]. 3,000 to 4,000 €
    <b>Arenberg Auctions, May 25 & 26:</b> LA FONTAINE, Jean de. <i>Fables choisies, mises en vers.</i> Paris, Desaint & Saillant, Durand. De l'imprimerie de Charles-Antoine Jombert, 1755<br> [- 1759]. 10,000 to 12,000 €
  • <b>Swann Auction Galleries June 5:</b> Charles Addams, <i>Penguin Convention,</i> watercolor, cover for <i>The New Yorker,</i> 1977. $15,000 to $20,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries June 5:</b> Ludwig Bemelmans, <i>Agreed! No whiskey anywhere is more deluxe than Walker's DeLuxe,</i> pen, ink & watercolor, 1957. $10,000 to $15,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries June 5:</b> Charles Schulz, <i>Do you like Beethoven?,</i> pen & ink, 9-panel <i>Peanuts</i> comic, 1970. $20,000 to $30,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries June 5:</b> Russell Tandy, <i>The Secret in the Old Attic,</i> watercolor & gouache, cover for <i>Nancy Drew,</i> 1944. $15,000 to $25,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries June 5:</b> Arthur Rackham, <i>Danaë & the Infant Perseus,</i> watercolor, ink & wash, for Hawthorne's <i>A Wonder Book,</i> 1922. $10,000 to $15,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries June 5:</b> Tom Lovell, <i>I believe in magic too,</i> oil on canvas, published in <i>Woman's Home Companion,</i> 1947. $7,000 to $10,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries June 5:</b> Enoch Bolles, <i>With Love...,</i> watercolor & gouache, cover for <i>Wow!</i> magazine, 1931. $7,000 to $10,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries June 5:</b><br>Rick Meyerowitz & Maira Kalman, <i>New Yorkistan,</i> pen, ink & watercolor sketch for a <i>New Yorker cover,</i> 2001. $10,000 to $15,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries June 5:</b> Jessie Willcox Smith, <i>Touching,</i> watercolor for <i>The Five Senses</i> by Angela M. Keyes, 1911. $12,000 to $18,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries June 5:</b> Edward Gorey, <i>ABA 75,</i> watercolor & ink, cover for <i>Publisher's Weekly,</i> 1975. $5,000 to $7,500.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries June 5:</b> Aubrey Beardsley, <i>Shelter,</i> pen & ink, for <i>Bon-Mots,</i> 1892. $8,000 to $12,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries June 5:</b> Tedd Arnold, <i>I think it was three days ago...,</i> colored pencil & watercolor, for <i>Parts,</i> 1996. $4,000 to $6,000.
  • <b>Christie’s 29 May:</b> MARE-BONNARD. Les Pastorales de Longus, or Daphnis et Chloé. Paris, 1902. Exceptional copy with a magnificent binding by André Mare. €50,000 to €70,000
    <b>Christie’s 29 May:</b> REDOUTE – L’HERITIER. Stirpes novae, illustratae iconibus. Paris [1784-1791]. Great paper copy with additional color touches on several plates. €10,000 to €15,000
    <b>Christie’s 29 May:</b> TOULOUSE-LAUTREC – IBELS – MONTORGUEIL. Le Café -Concert. Paris, [1893]. Famous Belle Epoque illustrations by Toulouse-Lautrec and Ibels. €5,000 to €7,000
    <b>Christie’s 29 May:</b> MANET – MALLARME – POE. Le Corbeau. The Raven. Paris, 1875. First edition of Mallarmé’s translation. Inscribed by Manet and Mallarmé to Gambetta. €60,000 to €80,000

Article Search

Archived Articles

Ask Questions