Eric Caren, the exceptional collector and sometime dealer, continues this month to explain his decisions about collecting and collections. He’s recently decided to send some of his best material to auction and has chosen Christie's and Cowan's to handle 3 sales. A Christie's event is scheduled for June and the first of two Cowan sales in September. Many consignors wax hot and cold on selling their material but few, if any, in the current era speak so directly of the process and the motivation. His angst is real, his perspective clear.
Here is Eric in his own words.
So for those of you who know me or have followed this small saga; here follows a short narrative and the outcome. To refresh your memories; Trump elected was for me the last straw! I had watched this country going South in myriad ways for too long. Friends knew that I was thinking about selling my beloved NY home and much of my immense archive and hightailing it to my beach home in Costa Rica even while Trump was still known mainly for saying "You're Fired" on The Apprentice. The polls were saying Trump couldn't win...A friend in the Midwest said "Why are you still worrying Eric; Hillary is a shoe in!" Now I know how the opposition felt during the rise of the NSDAP...How did it happen? It took 13 years in Germany while here it literally changed over one election night. Of course the distrust of both parties had been building over many years and mosquitoes were more popular than Congress!
So when I got this sick feeling in the days leading up to Election night that I wasn't just having a bad dream; it was similar to the feeling that I had driving into NYC on 9/11 when the radio informed me that the first Tower was down and NYC was closed. Surreal (I think chosen as the word of the year) then as now. On 9/11 I turned the car around and headed back to my home in Westchester, NY and watched the news all of the rest of that otherwise sunny Tuesday. I was in such a state of disbelief that each time that the newscasters repeated that one and then both towers were down; I thought that they meant some towers on the top of the buildings had been knocked off even as I sadly watched over and over again the buildings implode to the ground.
The election on the other hand hit me like a ton of bricks... it was definite! I was going to sell almost everything not nailed down (collection and NY Home, cars, etc.) and swim all day every day until my arms fell off or I ran out of sunscreen in CR. And then I changed my mind back and forth several times a day or at the very least, several days a week.
In any case, I did decide that while I was see-sawing on whether to continue to keep both homes; in either case it was time to hold some more auctions. One colleague at the NY ABAA fair teasingly asked me if I was up to Auction #43. No, but after having four single owner auctions preceded by the sale of Collection 1 to The Newseum; I am about to put pen to paper with Christie's NY (June) and Cowan's (Fall and a second one early in 2018)! Everyone at both Houses has been extraordinarily kind, industrious, sympathetic, respectful and professional. How refreshing!!!
Every day I walk my rescued dog at least twice through my woods and around my private Gorge. I get to watch leaves turn and still have enough evergreens to make the property a winter wonderland when it snows! I love the natural beauty of my home in NY as much as the natural beauty of my beach home in CR. So my mind told me (still does) get out before it is too late but my heart couldn't pull the trigger (there's a bone for all of you members of the NRA). I have never been a coward but I am a wounded and tired warrior from my 57 years on this planet.
So I will continue to collect, continue to buy, continue the hunt! continue the research and continue to watch my cursed NY Jets (perhaps the most depressing thing in this piece). And I will ask one thing of everyone who is reading this. Don't fall into the trap of turning on one another. If you are a Republican, a Democrat, a Socialist or an Independent...We are ALL Americans and we have too many foreign enemies of every ilk from rogue individuals sitting at computers and hacking away at us to Terrorist groups to Totalitarian regimes like North Korea. We can ill afford to let Politicians and The Media (May have just lost my membership to The National Press Club) and Putin create a second Civil War or second Revolution!
2 famous historical quotes to leave you with...."We are all Republicans, We are all Federalists" Thomas Jefferson and "A House Divided Against Itself Cannot Stand" Abraham Lincoln and one quote from me "We Have Met The Enemy And They Are Us" Modified from Perry at Lake Erie, War of 1812. May we change our course and live in peace!
Special thanks to Bruce of Rare Book Hub, Sven, Christina and Peter of Christie's, and Wes, Katie and Matt of Cowans.