• <b>One of a Kind Collectibles<br>Now through Oct. 27: Rare Autographs, Books, Sports and Art</b>
    <b>One of a Kind Collectibles<br>Now through 10/27:</b> Important Aviation Archive w/The Contract For First Trans-Pacific Flight. Est. $30,000-$50,000.
    <b>One of a Kind Collectibles<br>Now through 10/27:</b> Albert Einstein Signed Photo. Est. $2500-$3500.
    <b>One of a Kind Collectibles<br>Now through 10/27:</b> Dodgson’s own copy of <i>The Hunting of the Snark</i>, signed and dated by the author the day after publication with original photo. Est. $10,000-$12,000.
    <b>One of a Kind Collectibles<br>Now through Oct. 27: Rare Autographs, Books, Sports and Art</b>
    <b>One of a Kind Collectibles<br>Now through 10/27:</b> Abraham Lincoln Early Legal Brief. Est. $3500-$4000.
    <b>One of a Kind Collectibles<br>Now through 10/27:</b> The Beatles: Autographs of John Lennon, Paul McCartney and George Harrison and more 60's Groups. Est. $3000-$2500.
    <b>One of a Kind Collectibles<br>Now through 10/27:</b> Hector Berlioz Rare AMQS. Est. $4000-6000.
    <b>One of a Kind Collectibles<br>Now through Oct. 27: Rare Autographs, Books, Sports and Art</b>
    <b>One of a Kind Collectibles<br>Now through 10/27:</b> Renoir, Autograph Letter Signed. Est. $2700-3500.
    <b>One of a Kind Collectibles<br>Now through 10/27:</b> Ferdinand and Isabella, Manuscript Document Signed. Est. $6000-9000.
    <b>One of a Kind Collectibles<br>Now through 10/27:</b> Lincoln-Douglas Debates Signed by William Howard Taft. Est. $1400-$1600.
    <b>One of a Kind Collectibles<br>Now through Oct. 27: Rare Autographs, Books, Sports and Art</b>
    <b>One of a Kind Collectibles<br>Now through 10/27:</b> Stunning Vintage Amelia Earhart Signed Photo. Est. $2000-$2500
    <b>One of a Kind Collectibles<br>Now through 10/27:</b> Marilyn Monroe's Hair From her hair dresser. Est. $1200-$1800.
    <b>One of a Kind Collectibles<br>Now through 10/27:</b> Babe Ruth Signed Album with Others Sports and Entertainment Stars of the 20s. Est. $1800-2500.
  • <b>19th Century Shop.</b> CURTIS, EDWARD. <i>Original glass plate photograph, Honovi – Walpi Snake Priest, prepared by Curtis for the printing of The North American Indian</i>, c.1910
    <b>19th Century Shop.</b> (AMERICAN WEST.), Watkins, Taber, Savage, and others. <i>Magnificent Album of Mammoth Photographs of the American West, with other subjects various</i>, ca. 1865-1880s
    <b>19th Century Shop.</b> DARWIN, CHARLES. <i>Carte-de-visite Photograph Album</i>. Down, Kent, 1871-1879
    <b>19th Century Shop.</b> (SECRET SERVICE). <i>The photographic archive, papers, and relics of William Kennoch, Secret Service Agent</i>. Various places, 1870s and 1880s
    <b>19th Century Shop.</b> (AMERICAN REVOLUTION). STONE, BALTUS. <i>Daguerreotype Portrait of Baltus Stone</i>. [Philadelphia], 1846
  • <b>Pierre Bergé & Associés in association with Sotheby’s:<br>The Library of Pierre Bergé<br>From the Pre-Romantics to 1900<br>November 8 and 9, 2016</b>
    <b>Pierre Bergé & Sotheby's Nov. 8 & 9:</b> Gustave Flaubert. Par les Champs et les Grèves (Voyage en Bretagne). <i>[Croisset, 1847]</i>, 3 January 1848.<br>Est. €400,000–600,000.
    <b>Pierre Bergé & Sotheby’s Nov. 8 & 9:</b> Victor Hugo. La Légende des Siècles. <i>Paris, 1877</i>. Est. €60,000–80,000.
    <b>Pierre Bergé & Sotheby’s Nov. 8 & 9:</b> Charles Baudelaire. Les Fleurs du Mal. <i>Paris, 1857</i>.<br>Est. €100,000–150,000.
    <b>Pierre Bergé & Sotheby’s Nov. 8 & 9:</b> Arthur Schopenhauer. Die Welt als Wille und Vorstellung. <i>Leipzig, 1819.</i><br>Est. €40,000–60,000.
    <b>Pierre Bergé & Associés in association with Sotheby’s:<br>The Library of Pierre Bergé<br>From the Pre-Romantics to 1900<br>November 8 and 9, 2016</b>
    <b>Pierre Bergé & Sotheby’s Nov. 8 & 9:</b> Walt Whitman. Leaves of Grass. <i>Brooklyn, New York, 1855</i>.<br>Est. €40,000–50,000.
    <b>Pierre Bergé & Sotheby’s Nov. 8 & 9:</b> Oscar Wilde. The Ballad of Reading Gaol, by C.3.3. <i>London, 1898.</i><br>Est. €10,000–15,000.
    <b>Pierre Bergé & Sotheby’s Nov. 8 & 9:</b> Fyodor Dostoyevsky. [Crime and Punishment]. <i>Saint Petersburg, 1867.</i> Est. €30,000–40,000.
    <b>Pierre Bergé & Sotheby’s Nov. 8 & 9:</b> Leo Tolstoy. [War and Peace]. <i>Moscow, 1868-1869</i>. Est. €20,000–30,000.
  • <b>Bonhams: Voices of the 20th Century. December 7, 2016</b>
    <b>Bonhams: History of Science and Technology. December 7, 2016</b>
    <b>Bonhams: Voices of the 20th Century. December 7, 2016</b>
    <b>Bonhams: History of Science and Technology. December 7, 2016</b>

Rare Book Monthly

Articles - October - 2015 Issue

10 More Tips from an e-Bay Power Seller


Smaller is better: Sometimes, especially in science fiction, the earliest version is in digest or paperback format. "The Fireman" the first incarnation of Fahrenheit 451 came out in Galaxy in 1951, the true first was the Ballantine paperback of 1953.

Here are 10 bookish tips for those who sell books and antiquarian paper online. Perhaps the best way to summarize these suggestions is by saying anyone can have a book, magazine, map, photo or other kind of old paper, but what the really good dealer adds is knowledge that sets what they have to offer apart from others and inspires confidence.


In today’s market smaller is better, and that includes vintage paperbacks and older digest sized specialty magazines such as science fiction. Looking at a shelf of paperbacks, look for the short ones, they are apt to be older. When in doubt about the actual publication date be guided by the cover price. The lower the price the older the paperback. Some of the most collectible science fiction came out first in paperback or in digest sized magazines. For example, Ray Bradbury’s “Fahrenheit 451” came out first as the novella “The Fireman” in Galaxy, Feb. 1951; it was expanded and published as a Ballantine paperback in 1953. The paperback is considered the true first edition.


First class packages are a good value. They are not expensive to ship, the classification goes up to 13 oz. and it goes by air. There’s a lot of small cool stuff that can be well packed and still under 13 oz. Words like “mini, tiny, wee, petite, itsy-bity" and even the old stand by ”small” are all sell words that describe a size. “Little” is good.

3 DATES TO KNOW:  Zip Code, Bar Code, ISBN Number

Trying to date something where the feel of the paper doesn’t match the date on the copyright page? There are several useful dates to know.

Zip codes first began in mid 1961 and became universal rapidly. No zip code on the publisher’s address usually means pre-1961. ISBN numbers come into use in the late 1960s and early 1970s and are slightly different depending on whether the item is American or English. If it’s got an ISBN number it is apt to be post-1970. Bar codes were first used in 1974 and were not widespread until a few years later.

So no matter what the printed copyright date says, if it has a bar code or an ISBN, it’s published sometime in the 70s or later, sometimes much later.


As people increasingly search for more and more specific kinds of antiquarian paper materials, it’s important not just to include a date, but also to include a date that puts the material in context. If you’re offering an early cartoon about the perils of flying published in 1909, don’t just say “1909.” It’s better to say, “1909, only six years after the  Wright Brothers first flight in 1903.”  If you don’t know the benchmark date, then look it up. If the material you are offering is in some way prophetic and the forecast turned out to be right, don’t neglect to  say so, it’s it’s apt to make the item appear more valuable and significant. Also mention if it was wrong, the wronger the better. Don’t just say “historic,” give the actual publication date, and a companion benchmark date that puts it in context, and if there is some futuristic element, right or wrong, point it out.


You have doubtless encountered books that carry the Book of the Month Club imprint. With rare exceptions these books are of lesser value because they were printed in very large editions and thus were very common. The best way not to get stuck with them is not to take them in in the first place. A typical BCE (Book Club Edition) has no price on the dust jacket, is a little smaller than the size the book was first issued, and frequently the binding has a small dimple (a little impressed mark about the size of a blunt pencil point) on the back board near the bottom close to the spine. A book without a dust jacket that has that little dimple is almost certainly a BCE.


Some of the early Little Golden Books bring a decent price, but where do you find the the actual edition indicated? Clever those publishing folks, they hid the mark inside the back cover. Open the back of the book. With the book open press down on the pages in the book. Gently look underneath the back cover below the bottom staple near the bottom edge of the last page. There should be a letter in the margin near the spine. The lower the letter the earlier the printing. The letter “A” designates a first.



Sad to say much of the current value of rare and scarce books, especially fiction, resides in the dust jacket. A book with a dust jacket, no matter how ratty that jacket might be, is worth more than one without. A book with a priced dust jacket is worth more than a book with a price clipped jacket. So don’t forget to mention when that book you’re selling has a complete priced dust jacket and include the original price shown.


Most of the time you don’t want to be the one who repairs a book. Especially if you think it might have significant value, leave it alone. It’s not your job to fix it; it’s your job to describe it accurately. With less than perfect dust jackets put them in jacket protectors and let the tension of the backing keep the jacket intact and prevent further deterioration. For older books (especially those with interesting bindings) you almost never want to fix it. You want to describe what’s wrong (backstrip detached but present, hinge broken or tender, etc.) and let the buyer decide if it’s worth it to them to send it out for repairs. The exceptions are low value books that need simple mending  - then use a linen backed adhesive tape for repairing broken hinges and Filmoplast or other inert archival tape to fix small edge tears. Don’t use Scotch tape. Don’t tape the dust jacket to the boards. When in doubt do nothing.


An real signature or inscription by the author can substantial value, just be sure you describe what you actually have. “Hand signed” by the author, illustrator or photographer means a real signature on the item. If there is a signature, inscription or date, it is important to note them. The term “flat” signed” has come to mean a book that is not inscribed to a particular person, it just has the autograph. However in the higher end more agust regions of bookselling world this term is vehemently opposed, and while it is useful to know what it is intended to mean, it is seldom (OK never) a good idea to include that particular terminology in your description if you want to be taken seriously by the elders of the tribe. No matter which descriptive term you use to describe a handwritten signature, remember it is not difficult to forge signatures so be cautious.  If it is a book or poster that you are taking to get signed, ask that it be dated, particularly if it is close to the original date of issue. “Signed in the plate” is another way of saying a printed signature (looks like a signature but it is a reproduction). “Inscribed” can a variety of meanings: Inscribed by a prior owner can mean something like “Happy birthday, Love Mom”, while inscribed by the author can be a much more significant, “A fond memory of Havana, regards Ernest Hemingway.”

On older  material, especially prints and maps the abbreviation “del.” stands for delineator - the name of the person who drew the picture, i.e. artist, (it’s usually on the left under the edge of the image.) The  abbreviation “sc.” or a number of other terms starting with the letters “sc” gives the name of the engraver or firm that did the engraving. This is usually found at the right below the edge of the image.  If you see “del” or “sc” point it out along with the names that follow.

Posted On: 2015-10-01 08:09
User Name: edition

Interesting article. I have fixed 20+ SciFi books and after your comments I'm unsure about if it was the right decision. For instance a professional fixed an ExLib Doubleday of Dick's "Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep". With ExLibs, replacing the end papers make such a difference. Of course I have chosen the appearance (color and thickness) of the endpapers exactly as the original. The book looks so much better, on first sight almost new. There is still a handwritten number on the front page that tells you that is an ExLib. I have paid $150 for the professional restauration. Was this a good decision?

Posted On: 2015-10-01 15:53
User Name: SASB

Excellent article. I would add, regarding book club editions, that often they feel less hefty in in the hand - just lighter than they ought to be. Also some quite modern book club books lack a bar code.

Posted On: 2015-10-01 19:33
User Name: old_susanhalas

As the author of the article I have received quite a few comments from other dealers objecting to the use of the term "flat signed" ever under any circumstances. Readers should be aware that even though the term has come to mean an item with only the signature of the author, there is a back story to its use in the trade that has a less than ethical connotation and thus the sentiment seems to be to avoid its use altogether. As one correspondent put it the word is "tainted with questionable practices." I myself do not use it but when I see it used, that is usually what it means. Susan Halas

Posted On: 2015-10-01 19:36
User Name: old_susanhalas

In response to the reader who asked if paying $150 to "restore" an ex-library copy to something approaching its original state, I can't say for sure. It depends on your own taste and that of your customers. As long as when you sell it you indicate the extent of the restoration is is your choice to do it or not do it. The main point is to indicate that work has been done.

Posted On: 2015-10-02 13:49
User Name: mcbr1depub

Please be accurate: ZIP code began July 1, 1963. It took a while for it to be used universally in printed matter: for example, postcards from the 1960s may or may not have ZIP code in the publisher's address, even though the card may show a motel parking lot scene with a 1968 Pontiac. Else fine or near fine article.

The Jumping Frog

Posted On: 2015-10-06 16:24
User Name: Fattrad1

You failed to mention the use of hand laid paper and archival acid free glue for book repairs.

Rare Book Monthly

  • <b>Skinner Auctioneers and Appraisers: Fine Books & Manuscripts.<br>October 30, 2016</b>
    <b>Skinner Oct. 30:</b> Cook’s <i>Voyages</i>, 1773-1785, complete set with Atlas volume. $40,000-60,000
    <b>Skinner Oct. 30:</b> Henry Warre, <i>Sketches in North America</i>, 1848, first edition, hand-colored.<br>$40,000-60,000
    <b>Skinner Oct. 30:</b> Catlin’s <i>North American Indian Portfolio</i>, 1875. $40,000-60,000
    <b>Skinner Auctioneers and Appraisers: Fine Books & Manuscripts.<br>October 30, 2016</b>
    <b>Skinner Oct. 30:</b> John Torrey Morse’s <i>The American Statesman</i>, autograph edition, extra-illustrated with original signed documents.<br>$35,000-55,000
    <b>Skinner Oct. 30:</b> McKenney & Hall’s <i>History of the Indian Tribes of North America</i>, folio, three volumes, 1837-1844. $35,000-55,000
    <b>Skinner Oct. 30:</b> John Webber’s <i>Views in the South Seas</i>, 1820, hand-colored plates. $30,000-50,000
    <b>Skinner Auctioneers and Appraisers: Fine Books & Manuscripts.<br>October 30, 2016</b>
    <b>Skinner Oct. 30:</b> A Collection of Eight Signed Letters, Some Men of Fame Autograph Collection.<br>$35,000-40,000
    <b>Skinner Oct. 30:</b> George Washington Signed Letter inviting Senator John Laurance to John Adams’s Presidential swearing in ceremony. $30,000-40,000
    <b>Skinner Oct. 30:</b> Elizabeth, Empress of Russia Coronation Festival Book, St. Petersburg, 1744. $30,000-40,000
  • <b>Seth Kaller:</b> Leaves from<br>George Washington's Own Draft <br>of His first Inaugural Address. An Extraordinary Rarity!
    <b>Seth Kaller:</b> Declaration of Independence: Benjamin Tyler 1818 - First Print with Facsimile Signatures.
    <b>Seth Kaller:</b> Thomas Jefferson Signed Act of Contress Authorizing Alexander Hamilton to Complete Famous Portland Maine Lighthouse.
    <b>Seth Kaller:</b> Emanuel Leutze. Silk Flag Banner designed by Leutze, created by Tiffany & Co., and presented to Gen. John A. Dix, 1864.
    <b>Seth Kaller:</b> The "greatest of early American maps … a masterpiece" (Corcoran). Thomas Holme.
    <b>Seth Kaller:</b> Lincoln Summons His Cabinet for a Historic Meeting to Discuss Compensated Emancipation.
    <b>Seth Kaller:</b> Albert Einstein. Autograph Letter Signed. Einstein Counsels His Son ... Meaning of Life.
    <b>Seth Kaller:</b> Normal Rockwell. Painting/Drawing Signed. Rockwell's "Barbeshop Quartet", 1936.
    <b>Seth Kaller:</b> Frederick Douglass. Autograph Letter Signed to unknown correspondent. Washington, D.C.
    <b>Seth Kaller:</b> Harry Truman. Autograph Manuscript Notebook for Kansas City Law School Night Class.
    <b>Seth Kaller:</b> Robert E. Lee. Autograph Letter Signed, June 11, 1782. Hours after the Battle of Culpeper Court House, Lee Escapes Again.
    <b>Seth Kaller:</b> George Washington. Letter Signed, as Commander-in-Chief, Continental Army, to Elias Dayton, Headquarters, [Newburgh, N.Y.], June 11, 1782.
  • <b>Swann Auction Galleries Nov 1: Autographs</b>
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Nov 1:</b><br>Civil War-era album with more than 130 signatures, including 18 presidents, 1864-2010.<br>$60,000 to $90,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Nov 1:</b><br>Claude Monet, Autograph Letter Signed, to friend and art critic Gustave Geffroy, 1891.<br>$6,000 to $9,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Nov 1:</b><br>George Washington, partly-printed Document Signed as Commander-in-Chief, a military discharge, 1783. $7,000 to 10,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Nov 1: Autographs</b>
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Nov 1:</b><br>Clarence Darrow, Typed Letter Signed, inviting attorney Frank Spurlock to join him during the Scopes Trial, 1926. $3,000 to $4,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Nov 1:</b><br>J.D. Salinger, Autograph Letter Signed, "Jerry," offering consolation, 1972. $4,000 to $6,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Nov 1:</b><br>Poster Signed by each member of The Beatles near the inkblot he most resembles, 1964. $4,000 to $6,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Nov 1: Autographs</b>
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Nov 1:</b><br>Photograph Signed by The Three Stooges, additionally inscribed by Moe, 1930s. $2,500 to $3,500.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Nov 1:</b><br>Jules Verne, Photograph Signed and Inscribed, 1900. $3,000 to $4,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Nov 1:</b><br>Thomas Jefferson, Printed Document Signed as Secretary of State, admitting Vermont into the Union, 1791. $10,000 to $15,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Nov 1: Autographs</b>
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Nov 1:</b><br>George Washington, lottery ticket signed "G:Washington," 1768.<br>$4,000 to $6,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Nov 1:</b><br>Muhammad Ali, Signed & Inscribed Photograph and Typed Letter Signed, 1967. $1,000 to $2,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Nov 1:</b><br>Lou Gehrig, Photograph Signed & Inscribed (lower signatures printed), 1931. $3,500 to $5,000.
  • <b>Doyle: Rare Books, Autographs & Photographs. November 22, 2016</b>
    <b>Doyle Nov. 22:</b> Adam Smith, Wealth of Nations. Est: $70,000-100,000
    <b>Doyle Nov. 22:</b> The Present State of the British Colonies in America / The Hillsborough Colonial Returns. Est: $100,000-150,000
    <b>Doyle Nov. 22:</b> Joseph Smith, The Book of Mormon. Palymra, NY: 1830. First edition. Est: $30,000-50,000
    <b>Doyle: Rare Books, Autographs & Photographs. November 22, 2016</b>
    <b>Doyle Nov. 22:</b> Declaration of Independence - Early Newspaper Printing. The Pennsylvania Journal. Est: $125,000-225,000
    <b>Doyle Nov. 22:</b> Space - Iran, Photographs and signed items from the Apollo-Suyuz mission, Skylab I, II & III, and the 1976 Tehran F.A.I. Conference. Est: $6,000-9,000
    <b>Doyle Nov. 22:</b> Edward Sherriff Curtis, Canon de Chelly, 1904. Est: $10,000-15,000
    <b>Doyle: Rare Books, Autographs & Photographs. November 22, 2016</b>
    <b>Doyle Nov. 22:</b> Simon Bolivar, An inscribed portrait of El Libertador. Lima: 1823. Est: $2,000-3,000
    <b>Doyle Nov. 22:</b> Orson Welles, Signed color photograph of Welles smoking a cigar. Est: $2,500-3,500
    <b>Doyle Nov. 22:</b> Bill Brandt, Henry Moore in his Studio, Hertfordshire, 1946. Est: $3,000-5,000
    <b>Doyle: Rare Books, Autographs & Photographs. November 22, 2016</b>
    <b>Doyle Nov. 22:</b> John Wilkes Booth, Autograph letter signed Washington: 14 Nov 1864. Est: $50,000-80,000
    <b>Doyle Nov. 22:</b> Herman Melville, Moby-Dick; or, the Whale. New York: 1851. First American edition. Est: $20,000-30,000
    <b>Doyle Nov. 22:</b> The Beatles, Ed Sullivan Show cue sheet, signed by each member of the group. Est: $10,000-15,000

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