Rare Book Monthly

Articles - December - 2013 Issue

The Curator's Eye – a Program Designed to Reach High-End Buyers


The Curator's Eye section on Books, Manuscripts, and Maps.

The Curator's Eye, a company with a service designed to bring dealers and high-end buyers together, recently released an interview they conducted with noted autograph and manuscript seller Claudia Strauss-Schulson of Schulson Autographs. Naturally, such an interview would not fall into the category of objective journalism, but that doesn't make the company and its marketing plan any less interesting. We followed up with Ms. Strauss-Schulson and she reconfirmed the useful role of the site to her in generating new customers.


The Curator's Eye can be found online, but Editor in Chief Leah Tharpe is quick to point out that “The Curator's Eye is not a website, rather an extremely efficient marketing service tailored to the highest-end art dealer.” In other words, while the firm has a website where you can view art (and “books, maps and manuscripts” is one of its categories of art), it is nothing like the large book listing sites most booksellers employ. The Curator's Eye is geared toward building long-term relationships rather than short-term sales. As Ms. Tharpe says, “The Curator's Eye is a client generation service providing additional client analytics. No other business does this for art dealers.”


The website may be the hub through which clients flow, but the Curator's Eye aggressively seeks new participants elsewhere. Ms. Tharpe explains, “The Curator's Eye places over 10,000,000 individual ad impressions each month with its highly targeted advertisements on such websites as The New York Times, Artfact, Forbes, The Art Newspaper, The Independent (a UK paper), and The LA Times. We reach between 500,000 and 1,000,000 people each month with these ads.”


When you reach the Curator's Eye website, you will find artworks broken down by category, including books, maps and manuscripts, as mentioned before. That will take you to a page of images of items being offered, eight at a time, with an arrow to scroll forward to see more. Clicking on the image will bring you more information. However, clicking on links to buy or inquire will not immediately enable you to make a purchase, nor take you to the dealer. For that, you must be logged in, and to log in, naturally enough, you need to sign up. That enables The Curator's Eye to learn more about you first.


That is where the marketing strategy really clicks in. They can employ this information to determine who in their database of names are likely to be good prospects for a particular participant in their program. The odds that a potential client sees the particular autographed piece that is of interest may not be great, but The Curator's Eye may be able to locate people who are interested in autographed documents, ones to whom Ms. Strauss-Schulson can make the full array of her inventory available. In this way, The Curator's Eye is sort of the anti-listing site. Those sites are designed to make a quick sale, often to an anonymous person. This marketing strategy is designed to create a long-term relationship with a potential long-term buyer, and generally one with sufficient income to buy at a high level.


Ms. Tharpe reports that registrants on their site have an average net worth of $2 million, and an average income of $100,000. The top 10% have an average net worth of almost $20 million and income of over $1 million. Obviously, these are the most desirable people to reach if you are selling collectible, rather than just used books, but they are very hard to find. That is the role that The Curator's Eye takes on – advertising to the millions to find the select few who are potential long-term lucrative clients and forward those prospects on to their participants.


In the interview released by The Curator's Eye, Claudia Strauss-Schulson was quoted as saying, “It’s a marketing tool that attracts a new audience. I especially like - and was surprised by - the number of international viewers and the interest in our material from other points of the world we have not reached. I like that our autographs and manuscripts are viewed in the context of fine art and antiques which broadens the market for historical documents.” Ms. Strauss-Schulson confirmed to us that while The Curator's Eye has not made direct sales like a listing site, it has been useful for her business in lead generation. She explained, “It has worked for me in this way: someone sees a small sample of material on The Curator's Eye, joins the mailing for future catalogs and purchases something other than what they saw on the site.” It is not Schulson Autographs' primary means of selling material, but is another tool in the arsenal for reaching customers in a time when many dealers are struggling to find new prospects. This is not likely to be a useful vehicle for dealers selling inexpensive material, but for those who need a high income audience to succeed, it may be worth giving a try.


For those interested in learning more about The Curator's Eye, they can be found online at www.curatorseye.com.


Schulson Autographs may be found online at www.schulsonautographs.com.

Rare Book Monthly

  • <b>Old World Auctions (March 21-28):</b> Lot 7. Ritter's unusual sun-dial world map, 1607. Est. $3500 to $4500
    <b>Old World Auctions (March 21-28):</b> Lot 16. Fascinating Japanese satirical map published prior to WWII, 1932. Est. $1400 to $2000
    <b>Old World Auctions (March 21-28):</b> Lot 30. Newton's 2" miniature terrestrial globe, 1833. Est. $3500 to $4500
    <b>Old World Auctions (March 21-28):</b> Lot 318. Braun & Hogenberg's first plan of Moscow in contemporary color, 1575. Est. $2750 to $3500
    <b>Old World Auctions (March 21-28):</b> Lot 346. One of the most decorative 18th century maps of Malta, 1680. Est. $1200 to $1500
    <b>Old World Auctions (March 21-28):</b> Lot 412. The first printed map devoted to the Pacific in full contemporary color, 1589. Est. $8000 to $10000
    <b>Old World Auctions (March 21-28):</b> Lot 425. Rare set of celebrated explorers of the New World, 1592. Est. $1900 to $2300
    <b>Old World Auctions (March 21-28):</b> Lot 436. Two superb miniature atlases bound in one volume with 98 maps, 1682. Est. $5500 to $7500
    <b>Old World Auctions (March 21-28):</b> Lot 445. Part IV of de Bry's "Grand Voyages" by Girolamo Benzoni, 1613. Est. $2000 to $2500
    <b>Old World Auctions (March 21-28):</b> Lot 447. Tallis' "History of the United States of America" in six volumes, 1850. Est. $1500 to $1800
    <b>Old World Auctions (March 21-28):</b> Lot 448. Mallet's miniature military masterpiece, 1672. Est. $1400 to $1700
  • <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 29: Printed & Manuscript African Americana</b>
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 29:</b> Malcolm X, Autograph Letter Signed, from prison, 1950. $20,000 to $30,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 29:</b> Letter from Moses Walker, an enslaved Georgia man, to his mother at another plantation, 1854. $12,000 to $18,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 29:</b> Signed cabinet card of Frederick Douglass, albumen photograph, Boston, circa 1879. $10,000 to $15,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 29: Printed & Manuscript African Americana</b>
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 29:</b> Placard from the Memphis Sanitation Worker's strike, 1968. $10,000 to $15,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 29:</b><br><i>The North Star,</i> volume 1, issue 27, Rochester, NY, 1848. $8,000 to $12,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 29:</b> Hand-tinted tintype of John Brown, circa 1860. $4,000 to $6,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 29: Printed & Manuscript African Americana</b>
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 29:</b> Poster signed & inscribed by Huey Newton, circa 1967. $4,000 to $6,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 29:</b> Album of aerial views of the march on Montgomery, taken by federal troops, 1965. $3,000 to $4,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 29:</b> Poster for the SNCC, photograph by Danny Lyon featuring John Lewis, circa 1962. $3,000 to $4,000.
  • <b>Bonhams: Fine Books and Manuscripts. 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. $80,000 to $120,000
    <b>Bonhams, Mar. 9:</b> Violin belonging to Albert Einstein, presented to him by Oscar H. Steger, 1933. $100,000 to $150,000
    <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. $100,000 to $150,000
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    <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. $10,000 to $15,000
    <b>Bonhams, Mar. 9:</b> NEWTON, ISAAC. Autograph Manuscript in Latin, being detailed instructions on making the philosopher's stone. 8 pp. 1790s. $200,000 to 300,000
    <b>Bonhams, Mar. 9:</b> 1869 Inauguration Bible of President Ulysses S. Grant. $80,000 to $120,000
  • <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.
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    <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>Forum Auctions: Fine Books, Manuscripts and Works on Paper. March 22, 2018</b>
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    <b>Forum Auctions, Mar. 22:</b> Houdini (Harry).- Maggi (Girolamo). <i>De tintinnabulis liber postumus...de equuleo liber,</i> Harry Houdini's copy, Amsterdam, H. Wetstein, 1689. £600 to £800
    <b>Forum Auctions, Mar. 22:</b> Meyer (Henry Leonard). Coloured Illustrations of British Birds, and their Eggs , 7 vol. in 2 plus Illustrations of British Birds, 4 vol., 1842-50 and [1835-51]. £5,000 to £7,000
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