Rare Book Monthly

Articles - April - 2016 Issue

Aubrey McClendon: An Extraordinary American Collector

F26d9f8b-5552-4f7b-bc34-48ea57b85bf6

Aubrey McClendon, dead at 56

I contacted Graham Arader, the map dealer, for his perspective on Aubrey McClendon, the man and the collector.  He knew him well and sold him important maps for over a decade.

 

About him Graham had this to say.  “He was a great man who, in pursuing imaginative strategies, kept the price of gas low for all Americans.  And it‘s my feeling that he is the primary reason there has been little or no inflation in the United States over the past 20 years.  For this he is a hero.” 

 

Aubrey McClendon was a gifted man with a positive perspective on life and insights into the value and importance of natural gas that set him apart from others in the oil and gas fields.  He saw the future of natural gas and became a billionaire by buying cheaply what would later become precious.  He was the definition of a Renaissance man.  He died recently in a single car accident that occurred a few hours after he was indicted by federal authorities over oil lease bidding irregularities.  He was 56. 

 

And he was also a collector in the rare and collectible maps field, an Arader Galleries client and owner of some fifteen million dollars of maps purchased between 2000 and 2010.  He was, as Graham Arader described him, a force.

 

“He was as a collector, from the beginning very well prepared.  We organized a research library for him and found him knowledgeable when we visited his offices three or four times a year.

 

“We would prepare a hundred or more examples and bring them in our van to his headquarters in Oklahoma City.  Aubrey would ask about them and expect clear answers.  He was engaged, a man for whom maps were the story of the American southwest.  He was remarkable.”

 

“But he could also be in the throes of maps and slip back, via phone or quietly whispered message, instantly into his complex role in energy, the transition at once visible and jarring.  What he thought and what he did was highly influential.  He mattered and you could feel it.”

 

“That he was a major, arguably the major American collector in his era in the map field, and at the same time, his maps were a rounding error in his net-worth, was simply stunning.  Many people collect history.  Aubrey made history.”

 

“Once he selected his purchases I would sometimes see to the framing and hanging myself.  You wanted his approval.  He was a magnet and all within his reach wanted to be in and of his world.  He will be greatly missed.”

 

The saying is “one in a million.”  “For him that expression does not go far enough.  He was one in a billion.” 

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>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 8:<br>Early Printed, Medical, Scientific & Travel Books</b>
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 8:</b> Caius Julius Hyginus, <i>Poeticon Astronomicon,</i> first illustrated edition, Venice, 1482. $15,000 to $20,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 8:</b> Giovanni Botero, <i>Le Relationi Universali... divise in Sette Parti</i>, Venice, 1618. $3,000 to $5,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 8:</b> <i>L'Escole des Filles</i>, likely third edition of the first work of pornographic fiction in French, 1676. $8,000 to $12,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 8:<br>Early Printed, Medical, Scientific & Travel Books</b>
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 8:</b> Illuminated Book of Hours in Latin on vellum, Flanders, early 16th century. $6,000 to $9,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 8:</b> Johannes Regiomontanus, <i>Calendarium,</i> Venice, 1485. $8,000 to $12,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 8:</b> Pedro de Medina, <i>Libro d[e] gra[n]dezas y cosas memorables de España,</i> Alcalá de Henares, 1566. $3,000 to $5,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 8:<br>Early Printed, Medical, Scientific & Travel Books</b>
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 8:</b><br>Luis de Lucena, <i>Arte de Ajedres,</i> Salamanca, circa 1496-97. $10,000 to $15,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 8:</b> Andrés Serrano, <i>Los Siete Principes de los Ángeles, válidos de Rey del Cielo,</i> Spain, 1707. $800 to $1,200.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 8:</b> Johannes de Sacrobosco, <i>Sphaera mundi,</i> first illustrated edition, Venice, 1478. $15,000 to $20,000.
  • <b>Bonhams, Feb. 11:</b> A Rare 3-rotor German Enigma I Enciphering Machine. $70,000 to $90,000
    <b>Bonhams, Feb. 11:</b> Important collection of correspondence between Werner Heisenberg and Bruno Rossi. $40,000 to $60,000
    <b>Bonhams, Feb. 11:</b> Walt Whitman Autograph manuscript containing his thoughts on death. $20,000 to $30,000
    <b>Bonhams, Feb. 11:</b> David Roberts. <i>Holy Land</i>. Six volumes. 1842-1849. First edition. $15,000 to $25,000
    <b>Bonhams, Feb. 11:</b> Extensive collection of Ray Bradbury's primary works, most signed or inscribed. $15,000 to $20,000
    <b>Bonhams, Feb. 11:</b> Peter Force. Declaration of Independence. $12,000 to $18,000
    <b>Bonhams, Feb. 11:</b> Steinbeck. <i>Grapes of Wrath</i>. A fine copy of the first edition. $10,000 to $15,000
    <b>Bonhams, Feb. 11:</b> Lewis & Clark. <i>Travels to the Source of the Missouri River</i>... First English edition, extra-illustrated. 1814. $10,000 to 15,000
    <b>Bonhams, Feb. 11:</b> Manuscript document signed by Nuno de Guzman relating to Hernan Cortes, 1528. $8,000 to $12,000
    <b>Bonhams, Feb. 11:</b> “Nos los inquisidores..." The first book in English printed West of the Mississippi. [1787]. $5,000 to $8,000.

Article Search

Archived Articles

Ask Questions