• <b>Sotheby’s London: Fine Autograph Letters and Manuscripts from a Distinguished Private Collection. Part I: Music. 26 October 2017</b>
    <b>Sotheby’s London Oct 26:</b> Beethoven, Ludwig van. Autograph Manuscript of the Canon "Ewig Dein" Woo 161, signed at the end ("...[Ewig] Dein...Freund Ludwig Van Beethowen"). Est. £120,000 to £150,000
    <b>Sotheby’s London Oct 26:</b> Brahms, Johannes. Autograph Manuscript of the "Geistliches Wiegenlied", Op.91 No.2, for Contralto, Viola And Piano, the original version of 1864, signed and inscribed at the end by the composer. Est. £200,000 to £250,000
    <b>Sotheby’s London Oct 26:</b> Chopin, Frédéric. Autograph Manuscript of the Opening of the Étude Op.25 No.2, in A-Flat Major, signed and dated ("Paris Ce 28 Avril F. Chopin"). Est. £100,000 to £150,000
    <b>Sotheby’s London: Fine Autograph Letters and Manuscripts from a Distinguished Private Collection. Part I: Music. 26 October 2017</b>
    <b>Sotheby’s London Oct 26:</b> Haydn, Joseph. Autograph Letter Signed ("Jos Haydn[Paraph]"), to the Baden Choirmaster Anton Stoll, 30 July 1802. Est. £20,000 to £30,000
    <b>Sotheby’s London Oct 26:</b> Verdi, Giuseppe. Autograph Working Manuscript of a scene from Ernani. Est. £100,000 to £150,000
    <b>Sotheby’s London Oct 26:</b> Verdi, Giuseppe. Highly Important Series of Thirty-Six Autograph Letters Signed to The Librettist Salvadore Cammarano, written between 1844 And 1851, the greater part unpublished and unrecorded. Est. £250,000 to £300,000
  • <b>19th Century Shop’s Catalog 170 Great Books and Photos. Please inquire for a copy.</b>
    <b>19th Century Shop:</b> Exodus 10:10 to 16:15. Complete Biblical scroll sheet in Hebrew, a Torah scroll panel. Middle East, ca. 10th or 11th century.
    <b>19th Century Shop:</b> Copernicus Refuted. (Astronomy.). Scientific manuscript of a course of studies at Collège de la Trinité, Lyon. 1660s.
    <b>19th Century Shop:</b> Israel’s War of Independence and the Early Days of the IDF. 58 photographs presented to Israel Ber, IDF officer and later convicted spy.
    <b>19th Century Shop’s Catalog 170 Great Books and Photos. Please inquire for a copy.</b>
    <b>19th Century Shop:</b> Early Unpublished Darwin letter on the races of man. Autograph Letter Signed [to Henry Denny]. Down, Kent, June 1, [1844].
    <b>19th Century Shop:</b> Classic Image of American Slavery. Kimball, M. H. <i>Emancipated Slaves</i>. New York: George Hanks, 1863.
    <b>19th Century Shop:</b> (Underground Railroad.) Scaggs, Isaac. Important Runaway Slave Poster: $500 Reward Ran away, or decoyed from the subscriber…
  • <b>Sotheby’s Paris: Books & Manuscripts. 30 October 2017</b>
    <b>Sotheby’s Paris, Oct. 30:</b> MARCEL PROUST. Du côté de chez Swann. Grasset, 1913. First edition. One of 5 copies on Japan paper, inscribed by the author to Louis Brun. Est. €400,000 - 600,000
    <b>Sotheby’s Paris, Oct. 30:</b> Saint-Exupéry. <i>25 Autograph Illustrated Letters to his Friend Charles Sallès</i>. Est. €30,000-50,000
    <b>Sotheby’s Paris, Oct. 30:</b> French Revolution, 1793. Déclaration des droits de l’Homme. 2,55 x 1,30m. A monumental wallpaper poster of the 1793 version, with hand-colored highlights. Unique copy. Est. €100,000 - 150,000
    <b>Sotheby’s Paris, Oct. 30:</b> GIAMBATTISTA PIRANESI. <i>Vedute di Roma</i>, 1748-1775. 107 etchings. An exceptional copy, printed and bound before 1780. Est. €50,000 - 80,000
    <b>Sotheby’s Paris, Oct. 30:</b> Picasso, Pablo -- Fernando de Rojas. LA CÉLESTINE. [PARIS, EDITIONS DE L'ATELIER CROMMELYNCK, 1971.] One of the 30 copies hors commerce (n° X). 66 original etchings by Picasso. Signed. Est. €30,000 - €35,000
  • <b>Sotheby’s New York: The Magnificent Botanical Library of D. F. Allen. October 26, 2017</b>
    <b>Sotheby’s NY, Oct. 26:</b> Redouté, Pierre Joseph, and Claude Antoine Thory. <i>Les Roses</I>. Paris: Firmin Didot, 1817–1824. Est. $225,000 to $325,000
    <b>Sotheby’s NY, Oct. 26:</b> Trew, Jakob Christoph. <i>Hortus Nitidissimis Omnen Per Annum Superbiens Floribus</i>… Nuremberg: Johann Joseph Fleischmann, 1750 [–1786]. Est. $200,000 to $300,000
    <b>Sotheby’s NY, Oct. 26:</b> Trew, Christoph Jakob, and Benedict Christian Vogel. <i>Plantæ Selectæ</i>…[Nuremberg:] 1750–1773; Supplement, [Augsburg:] 1790 [–1792]. Est. $200,000 to $300,000
    <b>Sotheby’s New York: The Magnificent Botanical Library of D. F. Allen. October 26, 2017</b>
    <b>Sotheby’s NY, Oct. 26:</b> Jacquin, Nikolaus Joseph von. <i>Plantarum Rariorum Horti Caesarei Schönbrunnensis Descriptiones Et Icones.</i>Vienna; London; Leiden, 1797–1804. Est. $180,000 to $250,000
    <b>Sotheby’s NY, Oct. 26:</b> Weinmann, Johann Wilhelm. <i>Phytanthoza Iconographia; Sive Conspectus Aliquot Millium, Tam Indigenarum Quam Exoticarum</i>… Regensburg, 1735–1737–1745. Est. $120,000 to $180,000

Rare Book Monthly

Articles - July - 2015 Issue

If you want to have collectors . . .

239e0e51-9a67-4128-9efa-4e5cc3ddf966

If you want to have collectors of books manuscripts, maps and ephemera collecting today and into the future this community will have to have time, interest and money.  Education plays an important part as well but many collectors are self-educated so I don’t feel it’s an absolute requirement, in fact I think collecting is sometimes a compensation for having less education.  Taken as a group [or category] collectors are complex, many of them intensely interesting, a fair number of them over-the-top eccentrics.  They are also the bedrock of collecting in the books, manuscripts, maps and ephemera field and without them there is no field or future.

 

But changing fundamentals are undermining the emergence of the next generation of collectors.  The middle class, the principal source of new collectors, has experienced stagnating wages and higher costs for education and other essential services now for almost thirty years.  In the past it was enough to have steady income, interest, and knowledge.  These three ingredients permitted a would-be collector without many resources to embark on a collecting career.  Today sufficient means are more important and also more difficult to come by.

 

For this there are many causes.  Many jobs have been exported and many more will be.  The fundamental nature of a developed economy has shifted from sweat to intellectual labor, from assembly line to development teams.  A small portion of the American community has facilitated this shift, even led this transition.  And as a consequence brute force now matters less.  This places the American economy in transition at a time when the very premise that big government can solve big problems is under attack.  The timing is bad for the challenge for America and Americans is to develop new skills and new perspective and this takes money at the government level and it’s in perpetually short supply because we have significantly reduced taxes on wealth.

 

For much of the 20th century the United States employed progressive tax rates to pay for infrastructure, fund investments on behalf of the nation and reduce taxes for the majority of Americans.  Beginning in the 1980’s however tax rates on all Americans were cut but the most substantial cuts were at the highest income levels.  In time, the money Washington was no longer receiving could no longer be spent.  Financial obligations shifted to the states and to local governments that then cut services.  School days were shortened and many other educational services curtailed or eliminated.  In other words, at the very moment that more government investment has been needed less has been provided while reports now confirm that the concentration of wealth in the hands of a few is intensifying to 19th century robber-baron levels.  Less understood is that while a few are quickly accumulating millions, even billions, others are losing their hope and their chances,   

 

 

In the United States today tax rates on earned income for many in the middle class are higher than they are on investment income.  Hence a teacher earning $70,000 may be subject to a marginal tax rate of 25% while an investor earning a million dollars on long-term capital gains pays 23% rate.  The larger story is that capital has been gaining relative strength in its battle with labor.  Said another way, capital is easily employed at a good rate of return while labor has been forced to compete in a world that has more job seekers than jobs.  The net of this is that the value of labor is essentially unchanged over the past three decades while the value and importance of capital has continued to increase.  Said another way, the wealthy are becoming wealthier while they who receive paychecks often see only small increases.

 

For collecting this trend predicts that the rarest and best examples in all collectible fields will continue to find financially capable collectors to buy them.  But for the less important and often obscure material that has always been the first enticement for new collectors and the backbone of everyday sales for most dealers a much larger audience will be needed to absorb what is becoming a much larger supply that dealers, libraries and collectors will increasingly sell.  In the cross hairs on the one side, stock to be disposed and on the other, the emerging new audience, the future of the field will be determined.  The material will come out in torrents.  Waiting expectantly for their opportunity we need an army of new collectors. 

 

In some sense it’s a race against time and this is a shame because collectors cannot be summoned from thin air.   They are not simply born; they are groomed.  For some; their background, intelligence and first introduction to the field in youth, in middle age leads to serious collecting.  But this is a torturous path made infinitely more complex by the Internet that increasingly presents thousands of collecting possibilities and paths to pursue them complete with bright lights and big discounts.  Not so long ago the rare and used book and stamp dealers in small towns had virtual monopolies for promoting collecting in their fields.  And they did so to great effect.  But not so much any more.  These shops have since mostly disappeared into eBay and Abe Books and their owners gone to Florida for their well-earned early-bird specials.  The next generation of collectors will have to get to book collecting by other routes.  And to get to that point they first need to be exposed.  Hence the anguish about the declining number of old, used and rare bookshops and the often expressed lament, where are the new collectors?   The local bookshop has been the place where the new collector and their first collected material first embraced.  It now occurs at a dispassionate remove with UPS and Federal Express delivering the goods if not the charm that was once a key ingredient in the introduction and seduction associated with first purchases.

 

The decline in bookshops has not of itself signaled an immediate decline in book collecting which is a field where the hook first implanted often does not ensnare the collector until they are greying at the temples.  But this decline will come as fewer new collectors emerge from the old model.  The next generation will have to emerge from other routes.  And it’s possible.

 

There is some evidence that collectors are simply rerouting their impulses via the tools available on the web.  They are buying more at auction and they are buying at auction much earlier than collectors once did.  And where once single copies offered at shops with succinct explanations were saleable at randomly established prices today there are online sellers that easily and instantly confirm importance and price.  Collectors increasingly know to search for this information and dealers have come to expect collectors to do this.  These are the collectors who have entered the arena. 

 

But where are the others and by what routes will they join this collecting community?  Their paths to introduction are less clear and whether they will have the resources to invest significantly in collecting is also uncertain.  And this will be terribly important.  Collectors emerge most often from the middle class, a middle class that in America was built on progressive tax rates that reallocated from the top to aid the poor and the middle class.  We aren’t doing this so much now.  On the political right it has been decided that wealth is the engine of prosperity while on the left, they believe as they have for the past 100 years, that the strength of the middle class is the strength of the nation.  But these days we are living in the shadow of Ronald Reagan and in an era of very low taxes on wealth.  As outcomes of this policy increasingly take hold our infrastructure rots and our public schools decline.  And correspondingly, the interest in the collectible printed materials that the middle class once bought is also declining.  There are many reasons for this, not only tax policy, but tax policy is the most important reason for the decline in book collecting.  Reversing this may take decades.

 

The wealthy never needed these tax cuts.  They make their money not because they are lucky but because they are smart.  But for the middle class who need more tax breaks and lower rates to pay their mortgages and raise their children there is wage stagnation and reduced local services.  And somewhere in among the millions affected by these regressive tax policies there are hundreds of thousands of the next generation of collectors, proverbial buds on the tree that may never flower.

 

So that’s the predicament.  The wealthy are our best customers but there will not be enough of them to absorb all the material that will come to market.  What’s needed is a stronger middle class and to restore that strength we need to significantly increase the tax rates on wealth.  Can we do it?  I don’t know.  But I do know that for the collectible book field to prosper we’ll need to restore collecting as a middle class prerogative.

 

If not, the market will continue to strengthen at the top and weaken at the bottom.  And we should be able to do better than that.  


Posted On: 2015-07-01 12:20
User Name: LDRB

A superb insight to the realities of collectors and collecting. Can we do it? I don't know. These two comment are really the keys.
I would think that the ones who benefit the most are the ones to be most motivated to provide answers and develop solutions. Who are these?
Two organizations come to mind when I think of this question, not necessarily in this order:
1) Trade organizations starting with ILAB to IOBA,
2) Auction Houses from Christie's to Ebay.
Can these groups jointly form a task force or think tank, develop ideas and most importantly, make them successfully happen?
The current situation in Greece comes to mind when a solution for the broader good cannot be found.
Perhaps Bruce, you might be the "chair" or ambassador representing the "new collector" group and invite key leaders from these "benefit groups" to participate in a conference?
Why not?
Duncan McLaren
Lord Durham Rare Books


Posted On: 2015-07-03 11:21
User Name: don11cs

Thanks for letting us know the "wealthy never needed these tax cuts"! Your economic history and tax policy analysis is sophomoric. Stick to collecting.


Posted On: 2015-07-03 21:31
User Name: AE244154

They didn't and I don't.

Bruce McKinney


Posted On: 2015-07-04 14:04
User Name: don11cs

Now that you put it that way, of course, you must be right. That's exactly what the middle class and future collectors needs, higher taxes on success and more government spending. Fantastic recipe for economic growth! In that case I think I'll invest in a rare book shop in Greece and Venezuela. (and by the way, nothing preventing you from paying more if you think you not taxed enough or you could cut out the middleman and not charge fees for your services. That would encourage collectors).


Posted On: 2015-07-06 15:38
User Name: willie1874

How does Mr. McKinney think that taking money from the private sector where rare books are purchased and putting it into the government sector is going to increase the sale of books? The government isn't going to use the money to buy rare books of course. And will more government tinkering with the economy finally help the middle class when it has failed over the past 50 years? To continue to hold this belief is a delusion. There are cultural changes, as well as economic changes, in the United States which have led to a decline in new book collectors along with the decline of many other traditions.
Craig V. Showalter
Book Collector


Rare Book Monthly

  • <b>Announcing a new Books for Sale platform hosted by Biblio!</b>
    <b>List your books simultaneously on Rare Book Hub and Biblio!</b>
  • <b>Results from Bonhams’ sale of <i>Fine Books & Manuscripts Featuring Exploration and Travel</i></b>
    <b>Bonhams, Sep. 26:</b> Columbus. De Insulis nuper in mari Indico repertis. Basel, 1494. SOLD for $751,500
    <b>Bonhams, Sep. 26:</b> Cook in Tahiti. [Playbill]. [Germany, c.1840.] SOLD for $6,250
    <b>Bonhams, Sep. 26:</b> Aa, Pieter van der. Naaukeurige versameling der gedenk-waardigste zee en land-reysen. Leyden, 1706-8. SOLD for $35,000
    <b>Bonhams, Sep. 26:</b> Dürer. Underweysung der messung [and two more]. Nuremberg, 1525-8. SOLD for $175,000
    <b>Bonhams, Sep. 26:</b> Cortes, Hernan. A Pleito signed by Antonio de Mendoza in the case of Hernan Cortes. 1542. SOLD for $8750
    <b>Results from Bonhams’ <i>The Air and Space Sale</i></b>
    <b>Bonhams, Sep. 27:</b> Russian Kholod 5D67 HFL Rocket Engine. SOLD for $25,000
    <b>Bonhams, Sep. 27:</b> Neil Armstrong Apollo Era Training Glove. SOLD for $50,000
    <b>Bonhams, Sep. 27:</b> Full Scale Sputnik-1 EMC/EMI Lab Model. SOLD for $847,500
    <b>Bonhams, Sep. 27:</b> SOLRAD GREB Spy Satellite Engineering Dummy. SOLD for $10,000
    <b>Bonhams, Sep. 27:</b> Soviet LK-3 Lunar Lander Model. SOLD for $25,000
  • <b>Swann Auction Galleries Nov 14: 19th & 20th Century Literature</b>
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Nov 14:</b><br><i>The Centenary Edition of the Works of Ian Fleming</i>, one of 26 lettered sets, 18 volumes, London, 2008. $25,000 to $30,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Nov 14:</b> William Faulkner, <i>The Marble Faun</i>, first edition, signed & inscribed to Dorothy Wilcox by Faulkner & Phil Stone, Boston, 1924. $18,000 to $25,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Nov 14:</b> Maurice Sendak, <i>Where the Wild Things Are</i>, first edition, signed & inscribed to William Archibald, New York, 1963. $10,000 to $15,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Nov 14: 19th & 20th Century Literature</b>
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Nov 14:</b> Anne Frank, <i>Het Achterhuis</i>, first edition, in first state jacket, Amsterdam, 1947. $12,000 to $18,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Nov 14:</b> Roald Dahl, <i>Charlie and the Chocolate Factory</i>, first edition, signed, New York, 1964. $6,000 to $9,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Nov 14:</b><br>Ray Bradbury, <i>Fahrenheit 451</i>, first limited edition bound in Johns-Manville Quinterra, New York, 1953. $7,000 to $10,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Nov 14: 19th & 20th Century Literature</b>
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Nov 14:</b> Benjamin Graham, <i>The Intelligent Investor</i>, first edition, in original dust jacket, New York, 1949. $4,500 to $6,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Nov 14:</b> Anna Sewell, <i>Black Beauty</i>, first edition, inscribed, London, 1877. $7,000 to $10,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Nov 14:</b> Arthur Conan Doyle, <i>A Study in Scarlet</i>, first American edition, Philadelphia, 1890. $6,000 to $9,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Nov 14: 19th & 20th Century Literature</b>
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Nov 14:</b> James Fenimore Cooper, <i>The Last of the Mohicans</i>, first edition, two volumes, Philadelphia, 1826. $5,000 to $7,500.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Nov 14:</b> Amelia Earhart, <i>20 hrs. 40 mins. Our Flight in Friendship</i>, limited first edition, signed, New York, 1928. $4,000 to $6,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Nov 14:</b> Philip K. Dick, <i>World of Chance</i>, first edition, signed, London, 1956. $3,000 to $4,000.

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