Rare Book Monthly

Articles - March - 2017 Issue

Caren Chooses Christie's, Cowans & Country

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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.

 

Contacts:

 

At Cowans

Katie Horstman

513.871.1670

katie@cowans.com

 

 

At Christie's

Christina Geiger 

212-636-2667

cgeiger@christies.com

 


Posted On: 2017-03-01 05:33
User Name: daviddilaura

Why is this here? It is not informative; it is not focused; it is not . . . bookish. It is little more than the loose ramblings of the self-absorbed.


Posted On: 2017-03-01 15:04
User Name: baseballbooks

Do believe "We Have Met The Enemy... Us" was (first ???) used by Walt Kelly as title of one of his POGO collections in the 1960s.


Posted On: 2017-03-02 08:30
User Name: 19531953

In answer to your question David; it is there because I have owned and continue to own some of the rarest historical pieces in private hands. You are right that it is not bookish... I don't collect books though I have authored 12. I collect Printed &Manuscript Broadsides, Newspapers, Posters, Manuscripts, Letters, Pamphlets, Almanacs, Periodicals, Postcards and Photographs. AND I have educated hundreds of thousands of people through The Newseum, my reprint compilations, my books, etc. I apparently was "bookish" enough to be elected to The Grolier Club, AAS, ABAA and to have been an early Director of The Ephemera Society of America. I have bought and sold millions of dollars worth of rare treasures.
My question for you is what does your question do in any positive manner? It says little but speaks "volumes" about the kind of person that you are. Hardly worth my time to respond...but evidence of someone who has nothing bether to do than write shallow critiques. There are 30+ pgs. of Google links for my achievements in the field and I have been a friend of 5 past Presidents of the "Bookish" ABAA. William Reese widely considered as "One of The Greatest Rare Books Dealers of our Times" was my primary Sponsor for both ABAA and Grolier so perhaps you should ask him why I get covered so widely. As for self absorbed; I guarantee you that my generosity to my fellow human beings far exceeds yours. You Sir are not a Gentleman and I am so glad not to know you.


Posted On: 2017-03-02 08:47
User Name: 19531953

And to Baseball Books; There is nothing new under the sun and my quote was simply used to make a point...my apologies to you and Mr. Pogo if I took any credit away from him. I wonder if you and David are one and the same. If not...you undoubtedly would be like 2 peas in a pod. If either one of you would like to discuss this further; feel free to phone me. I would be happy to accept your apologies!


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.

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