Rare Book Monthly

Articles - March - 2015 Issue

Antiquarian Auctions – Bookseller-Focused Online Auction Moves Forward

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The Antiquarian Auctions website.

AntiquarianAuctions.com, the bookseller-run auction house, recently upgraded their website, making it more user-friendly, particularly for use with mobile devices. The upgrade gives us an opportunity to look at this dealer-oriented book auctioneer that has been growing quietly over the years. Antiquarian Auctions has been making the most of trends in the bookselling field - online selling, desire for quicker turning of inventory, visible market pricing, international selling – to quietly raise its profile over the past five years. Their philosophy has been to lead booksellers to newer selling models when their old ones are struggling to perform as they once did.

 

Antiquarian Auctions is located in far off (for most of us) Capetown, South Africa, a head-scratcher until you realize it doesn't really matter where you are when it comes to the internet. It was founded by Paul Mills, a traditional antiquarian bookseller for over 35 years, with membership in major trade organizations such as the ABA and ILAB. In 2004, Mr. Mills set up an auction website, serving clients in South Africa. In 2010, the firm began expanding its reach, serving both booksellers and buyers from all over the world. Today, around two-thirds of the auctions' bidders are from other countries, a percentage likely to grow in the years ahead.

 

Here is how the auctions work. Antiquarian Auctions holds a new auction every five weeks. Booksellers around the world are invited to participate. Books and related material (maps, prints, letters, documents, photography) may be sold. However, sellers are first vetted by the Antiquarian Auctions team before being allowed to participate, and must be a member of a recognized trade organization. Customer confidence in the sellers is essential. Private sellers are told to contact a participating dealer to list their items if they wish to sell, as only approved booksellers may post.

 

Booksellers do not ship their books to South Africa. In this way, it operates more like eBay than traditional auction houses. The bookseller ships directly to the customer. This is why the vetting of dealers is necessary, and why individual collectors may not participate. Reputation is essential. The bookseller uploads the descriptions and images, while the books remain with the seller. Lots may be uploaded to the site at any time before the expiration of the online auction, though listing them earlier will get more exposure. Previewing begins two weeks before the sale opens, followed by a one-week period when bids may be placed. The auction ends at the concluding time except if there is a bid placed during the last five minutes. If so, additional periods of three minutes are kept open for further bids until no more are received. This is to prevent unfair advantages to last-minute “snipers.”

 

If a qualifying bid has been placed, Antiquarian Auctions provides notification to both buyer and seller. This enables the parties to arrange for shipment. It also explains why the auction works internationally despite its South African location. A buyer and seller in America can complete their transaction as if the auction took place in America, Antiquarian Auctions' South African location being totally irrelevant. The book gets shipped from one American location to another. Naturally, buyers and sellers in different countries can also connect, international shipping being commonplace today. Buyers may contact sellers during the auction to determine shipping costs, so that they fully understand the delivered price before placing a bid.

 

Antiquarian Auctions' fees are lower than most traditional auctions. There is no buyer's premium on sales, so the hammer price is what the buyer pays. To make it easier for buyers, Antiquarian Auctions provides customer support, including by email and phone, and will even return international phone calls. This is certainly in contrast to some of the large selling sites that make it almost impossible to contact them personally. Personal service is critical to building customer confidence. Such service is available to sellers as well as buyers interested in participating in the sales.

 

 

Antiquarian Auctions' next sale begins March 5 and concludes on March 12. Lots are already available for viewing. Prices are listed in U. S. dollars. Those interested in bidding, or booksellers who may want to list in future auctions, should visit the Antiquarian Auctions website. It posts the current auctions and provides much information for both buyers and sellers. Their website is found at www.antiquarianauctions.com.

Rare Book Monthly

  • <b>Swann Auction Galleries Sep 27:</b> Franklin H. Brown, <i>State Sovereignty, National Union,</i> Chicago, 1860. $6,000 to $9,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Sep 27:</b> Thomas Paine, <i>The American Crisis,</i> Fishkill, NY, December 1776. $25,000 to $35,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Sep 27:</b><br>The Aitken Bible, Philadelphia, 1781. $20,000 to $30,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Sep 27:</b> Francisco Loubayssin de Lamarca, probable first edition of the first novel set in the Spanish New World, Paris, 1617. $15,000 to $25,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Sep 27:</b> Juan de la Anunciación, <i>Sermonario en lengua mexicana,</i> first edition, first book of sermons in Nahuatl, Mexico, 1577. $30,000 to $40,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Sep 27:</b> Maturino Gilberti, <i>Thesoro spiritual en lengua de Mechuacá,</i> first edition, Mexico, 1558. $15,000 to $25,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Sep 27:</b> Commission of William O. Stoddard as secretary to the president, signed by Lincoln, Washington, 1861. $7,000 to $10,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Sep 27:</b> <i>Clay and Frelinghuysen,</i> flag banner, circa 1844. $8,000 to $12,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Sep 27:</b> Daguerreotype of a man believed to be Frederick Granger Williams Smith, son of Joseph Smith, circa late 1850s. $10,000 to $15,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Sep 27:</b> John C. Wolfe, <i>Portrait of Abraham Lincoln,</i> oil on board in period wooden frame, circa 1860s. $12,000 to $18,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Sep 27:</b> Francis W. Winton, manuscript on pow-wows with indigenous Canadians, 1881. $15,000 to $25,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Sep 27:</b> Family letters from two young daguerreotype artists, 1826-79. $10,000 to $15,000.
  • <b>Leland Little: Important Fall Auction. September 22, 2018</b>
    <b>Leland Little, Sep. 22:</b> Published Half Plate Ambrotype of a North Carolina Confederate Officer. $2,000 to $4,000
    <b>Leland Little, Sep. 22:</b> Two 19th Century Books Pertaining to Canada's Red River Settlement. $400 to $800
    <b>Leland Little, Sep. 22:</b> Two Books With Fore-Edge Paintings of British Architectual Landmarks. $400 to $600
    <b>Leland Little: Important Fall Auction. September 22, 2018</b>
    <b>Leland Little, Sep. 22:</b> Andy Warhol (American, 1928-1987), "Torte a la Dobosch" from <i>Wild Raspberries</i>. $1,000 to $3,000
    <b>Leland Little, Sep. 22:</b> Keith Haring (American, 1958-1990), <i>Pop Shop II,</i> One Plate screenprint in colors, on wove paper, 1998. $8,000 to $12,000
    <b>Leland Little, Sep. 22:</b> Thomas Rowlandson (British, 1756-1827), Twenty-Two Prints from the <i>Tours of Dr. Syntax</i>. $500 to $1,000
  • <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>Bonhams: Exploration and Travel, Featuring Americana, Part I. September 25, 2018</b>
    <b>Bonhams, Sep. 25:</b> Shackleton, Ernest. <i>Aurora Australis.</i> Printed at the sign of 'The Penguins'; East Antarctica, 1908. $70,000 to $100,000
    <b>Bonhams, Sep. 25:</b> Shackleton, Ernest. <i>South Polar Times.</i> 1st edition, limited issue. from the library of Michael Barne. $20,000 to $30,000
    <b>Bonhams, Sep. 25:</b> General Washington's <i>Proceedings of a General Court Martial... of Major General Lee.</i> Philiadelphia, 1778. 100 copies printed for Congress. BOUND WITH: ...Court Martial... of St Clair and ...Schuyler. $25,000 to $35,000
    <b>Bonhams: Exploration and Travel, Featuring Americana, Part I. September 25, 2018</b>
    <b>Bonhams, Sep. 25:</b> <i>The Voice of the People.</i> Boston, 1754. Rare pamphlet on the Excise Tax. Nathaniel Sparhawk's copy. $4,000 to $6,000
    <b>Bonhams, Sep. 25:</b> Autograph Letter Signed ("S.L. Clemens"), offering extensive hard-earned advice on writing, 5 pp, 1881. $30,000 to $50,000
    <b>Bonhams, Sep. 25:</b> After Fra Egnazio Danti. <i>L'Ultime Parti not:e nel Indie Occid:ntli" [The last known parts of the Western Indies].</i> Painted Map of California, Western Mexico, and Japan. $70,000 to $100,000
    <b>Bonhams: Exploration and Travel, Featuring Americana, Part I. September 25, 2018</b>
    <b>Bonhams, Sep. 25:</b> Ptolemaeus, Claudius. <i>Geographie opus nouissima...</i> 1513. The most important edition of Ptolemy, containing the Admiral's Map. $250,000 to $350,000
    <b>Bonhams, Sep. 25:</b> De Arellano, Don Alonso. Manuscript, his <i>"Relación mui singular y circunstanciada... Capitán del Patax San Lucas,"</i> manuscript copy from the Sir Thomas Phillips collection. $50,000 to $80,000
    <b>Bonhams, Sep. 25:</b> Purchas, Samuel. <i>Purchas his Pilgrimes.</i> First edition. With John Simth's engraved map of Virginia. $70,000 to $100,000
    <b>Bonhams: Exploration and Travel, Featuring Americana, Part I. September 25, 2018</b>
    <b>Bonhams, Sep. 25:</b> Lewis, Meriwether. Contemporary manuscript true copy of his final power of attorney, 1809. $8,000 to $12,000
    <b>Bonhams, Sep. 25:</b> <i>A New Method of Macarony Making, as Practiced at Boston in North America.</i> Mezzotint. London, 1774. $5,000 to $7,000
    <b>Bonhams, Sep. 25:</b> <i>Scientific Base Ball Pitching: A Treatise on the Pitcher, Pitching, Origin and Philosophy of the Curve.</i> Chicago, 1897. $2,000 to $3,000

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