Rare Book Monthly

Articles - September - 2015 Issue

PBA Moves Uptown

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1233 Sutter, a block over from Van Ness in San Francisco

 

As the population in San Francisco increases, new buildings are being wedged into the available space.  So too these buildings are taller and their rents higher.  Internet madness has fully taken hold and the city’s residents and its businesses are forced to recalibrate their expectations of what will work.  Most hard pressed are the twenty somethings that are looking to buy a home.  These days paper millionaires are thick as cordwood and their appetite for renting right up there with their taste for castor oil.  They want to buy and almost certainly will, even if the prices are high.  These days asking prices are actually starting prices and bidding 10 to 20% over quite common.

 

San Francisco businesses have similar but not identical problems.  Businesses tend to rent and to have 5, 7, 10 and 20 year leases.  While these arrangements are in place their rents become progressively cheaper as the prices around them adjust to the market.  At lease termination many companies move or simply disappear.  Pacific Book Auction Galleries, long term tenants at 133 Kearny Street, wanting to stay in the city and facing a July deadline, executed an interesting and successful move uptown to 1233 Sutter, a scant mile to the west but sufficiently removed from the white hot downtown to get beyond the cauldron of writhing prices. In a somewhat fitting coincidence, the new premises are just across the street from the one-time location of Butterfield & Butterfield, the age-old San Francisco auction company that was absorbed by the British auctioneer Bonhams.

 

Their old 4th floor location was deep in the downtown, within walking distance of high-end shopping, entertainment and lawyers.  The new location is ground level, a stand-alone building, a block off Van Ness and a few blocks the other way from what was for many years a high crime area.  But that area is changing, multi-millionaire gentrification now reaching into every crack of what was until a few years ago transitional turf.  It’s a very smart move that assures the company’s continuing city presence and invites both consignors and bidders to visit.

 

Within the new space the section set aside for the auctions is limited as the high majority of bids now flow through the phones and over the Internet.  Sales will still occur here but the bids will arrive mostly from across town and from around the world.

 

They have been in the new space since July 1st and the transition is well underway, and in fact, although it is summer, the regular pace of sales continues.

 

Come fall the house will begin to sell the exceptional Warren Heckrotte collection of Rare Cartography, Exploration and Voyages, that will be dispersed in what is expected to be four sales over the next eight months.  I had a chance to view the material and saw some beautiful examples of important voyages, early maps, and other rarities. [link to pba press release]

 

So you’ll have good reason to stop by.  The new location has a nice feel and ample nearby parking and the material coming up for sale is very appealing.  It turns out both the management of PBA and Mr. Heckrotte have a good eye.  And that’s a good thing.  Just as book dealers move out of cities so too auction houses may.  But book auctions in San Francisco are a very old thing and PBA’s decision to remain here provides an ongoing vital link between past and future.

 

Link to the PBA site.

 

Pacific Book Auctions [PBA]

1233 Sutter Street

San Francisco, California 94105

415.989.2665

Rare Book Monthly

  • <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
  • <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.

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