• <center><b>William Bunch Auctions<br>October Fine Art and Prints<br>October 29, 2018</b>
    <b>William Bunch Auctions, Oct. 29:</b> Aegidius Sadeler (Flemish, 1570-1629), engraving on laid paper "Madonna and Child in a Landscape", after a drawing by Albrecht Durer. $800 to $1,200
    <b>William Bunch Auctions, Oct. 29:</b> Anders Zorn (Swedish, 1860-1920), drypoint etching on paper "On Hemso Island", 1917, pencil signed. $400 to $600
    <b>William Bunch Auctions, Oct. 29:</b> Joseph Pennell (American, 1860-1926), etching on paper "Setting Up Columns", pencil signed. $200 to $300
    <center><b>William Bunch Auctions<br>October Fine Art and Prints<br>October 29, 2018</b>
    <b>William Bunch Auctions, Oct. 29:</b> William Lee Hankey (British, 1869-1952), drypoint etching on paper "Affection", pencil signed. $200 to $300
    <b>William Bunch Auctions, Oct. 29:</b> William Walcot (English, 1874-1943), drypoint etching on paper "Lower Broadway, New York", 1924, pencil signed. $200 to $300
    <b>William Bunch Auctions, Oct. 29:</b> Auguste Brouet (French, 1872-1941), color etching "La Pirouette", pencil signed, ed 111/250. $400 to $600
    <center><b>William Bunch Auctions<br>October Fine Art and Prints<br>October 29, 2018</b>
    <b>William Bunch Auctions, Oct. 29:</b> Thomas Hart Benton (American, 1889-1975), lithograph on paper "The Boy", pencil signed. $2,000 to $3,000
    <b>William Bunch Auctions, Oct. 29:</b> John Stockton de Martelly (American, 1903-1979), lithograph on paper "Looking at the Sunshine", pencil signed, original AAA certificate. $400 to $600
    <b>William Bunch Auctions, Oct. 29:</b> Jacques Hnizdovsky (Ukrainian-American, 1915-1985), woodcut on paper "Moppet", pencil signed and dated 1965, ed 118/250. $400 to $600
  • <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: Sale Results from <i>Exploration and Travel, Featuring Americana, Part I.</i> September 25, 2018</b>
    <b>Bonhams, Sep. 25 results:</b> Shackleton, Ernest. <i>Aurora Australis.</i> Printed at the sign of 'The Penguins'; East Antarctica, 1908. Sold for $97,500
    <b>Bonhams, Sep. 25 results:</b> Shackleton, Ernest. <i>South Polar Times.</i> 1st edition, limited issue. from the library of Michael Barne. Sold for $25,000
    <b>Bonhams, Sep. 25 results:</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. Sold for $87,50
    <b>Bonhams: Sale Results from <i>Exploration and Travel, Featuring Americana, Part I.</i> September 25, 2018</b>
    <b>Bonhams, Sep. 25 results:</b> <i>The Voice of the People.</i> Boston, 1754. Rare pamphlet on the Excise Tax. Nathaniel Sparhawk's copy. Sold for $8,750
    <b>Bonhams, Sep. 25 results:</b> Autograph Letter Signed ("S.L. Clemens"), offering extensive hard-earned advice on writing, 5 pp, 1881. Sold for $37,500
    <b>Bonhams, Sep. 25 results:</b> Lewis, Meriwether. Contemporary manuscript true copy of his final power of attorney, 1809. Sold for $7,500
    <b>Bonhams, Sep. 25 results:</b> <i>A New Method of Macarony Making, as Practiced at Boston in North America.</i> Mezzotint. London, 1774. Sold for $6,875
    <b>Bonhams, Sep. 25 results:</b> <i>Scientific Base Ball Pitching: A Treatise on the Pitcher, Pitching, Origin and Philosophy of the Curve.</i> Chicago, 1897. Sold for $3,750
  • <center><b> The Library of Pierre Bergé<br>Auction Pierre Bergé & Associés<br>in association with Sotheby’s<br>Paris-Hôtel Drout<br>December 14, 2018<br><br>New York Exhibition<br>Oct. 16 to Oct. 20</b>
    <b>The Library of Pierre Bergé, NY exhibition 10/16 to 10/20:</b> BARTHOLOMEUS ANGLICUS. <i>Le Proprietaire des choses.</i> Lyon, [circa 1484]. 150 000 / 200 000 €
    <b>The Library of Pierre Bergé, NY exhibition 10/16 to 10/20:</b> MONTAIGNE, Michel de. <i>Essais.</i> Bordeaux, 1580. 400 000 / 500 000 €
    <b>The Library of Pierre Bergé, NY exhibition 10/16 to 10/20:</b> PROUST, Marcel. <i>Du côté de chez Swann.</i> Paris, 1914 [1913]. 600 000 / 800 000 €
    <b>The Library of Pierre Bergé, NY exhibition 10/16 to 10/20:</b> MONSTRELET, Enguerrand de. <i>Le Premier [-Tiers] Volume des Cronicques.</i> Paris, circa 1503.<br>300 000 / 400 000 €

Rare Book Monthly

Articles - May - 2017 Issue

The Decades-Old Amazon Sales Tax Battle Comes to an End, But a Second One Begins

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Opening physical bookstores signaled the end of the Amazon sales tax battle.

A war was waged between Amazon and the states over the issue of sales tax collection for almost two decades. It was a pitched battle, with states passing legislation, going to court, and looking to Congress for help in their attempt to force Amazon to collect sales taxes. They lined up their allies, notably local merchants, while Amazon had theirs, such as anti-tax groups. The larger Amazon became, the fiercer the battle raged. However, over the past few years, Amazon has been conceding the battle state by state, and now, it has finally succumbed. The end came with a whimper, virtually unnoticed. By then, only four states remained where Amazon was not collecting taxes. As of April 1, the battle was over. But now, a new one begins.

 

In the early days, when Amazon was but a babbling brook, selling only books, it garnered the ire of traditional bookshops with whom they competed. While Amazon already had the price advantages of low overhead from having no physical stores, and the financial wherewithal to be unprofitable while it built its business, it also had another ace up its sleeve. Outside of its home base of Washington State, it did not have to collect sales taxes. In those states that have a sales tax (most), that generally amounts to a 5%-8% discount, in some states even more. It's possible you may even have purchased something at some time from an online retailer in part based on that consideration.

 

Main Street shops, in combination with state taxing authorities, did everything in their power to force Amazon to also collect sales taxes. Every time they lost. It all goes back to something known as the Quill doctrine. Long ago (1992), in pre-internet days, the state of North Dakota attempted to get catalogue retailer Quill Corp. to collect their sales tax. North Dakota lost in the U. S. Supreme Court. The Supreme Court ruled that the Constitution gives sole authority to regulate interstate commerce to the federal government, so only the federal government could compel out-of-state sellers to collect sales taxes for another state. Many attempts were made to convince Congress to pass such a bill, but it never got to the floor. Congressmen are loathe to do things that raise taxes. It tends to be unpopular with voters.

 

However, the Court also said that there are situations where an out-of-state based retailer can be compelled to collect those taxes. That is when the retailer has a "nexus" with the state. A "nexus" is some sort of presence in the state. So, while Amazon could not be compelled to collect taxes in a state with which it had no connection, if it had a store, an office, a warehouse, or some such presence, it would be considered an in-state retailer. It could then be compelled to collect taxes on behalf of that state, even if their headquarters and internet operations were someplace far away.

 

In the early days, that meant little to Amazon. But, Amazon has grown to an astounding size over the years. Shipping everything from Washington state became unproductively slow and expensive. It began opening warehouses around the country – nexus! It negotiated special deals with some states who desperately wanted Amazon's presence, real estate taxes, and jobs, but increasingly, Amazon had to add new states to the list with which it had a nexus. Now, Amazon is starting to open retail book stores in various states, and who knows, maybe they intend to have stores in all 50 states eventually. The handwriting was on the wall. It was time to concede.

 

Actually, the surrender meant little when it was finally tendered last month. By then, there were only four tax states left where Amazon was not already collecting sales taxes – New Mexico, Maine, Idaho, and Hawaii. My guess is those don't represent a substantial percentage of Amazon's sales. The only states where Amazon still will not collect sales tax are Oregon, Montana, New Hampshire, Delaware, and Alaska. That is because those five states do not charge sales tax. There's something to remember when deciding where to retire. Hope you like cold weather.

 

So, did Amazon end up losing the long war? If so, this was a pyrrhic loss. In the time Amazon fought this war, it made the most of its competitive advantages. It grew from nothing to a monster, selling not only books but just about everything else. Today, Amazon no longer needs that extra boost to prosper. It's size gives it more than sufficient buying power to be competitive on price, an ability to stock everything under the sun, and its concession to nexus on local warehouses enables it to provide fast delivery. Add to that the convenience of buying at home, a favorite of younger people who don't much like going to stores, and you have a huge winner. Some stock analysts are now predicting that Amazon will be the first company to achieve a $1 trillion value. Amazon may have lost the war on sales taxes, but it won the only one that matters – financial success.

 

But, at the beginning of this article, we said a new battle begins. What is left to fight? The answer is "marketplaces," and that might be you. Today, many sales on Amazon's website are not made by Amazon itself, but by smaller, independent sellers. Amazon does not collect sales taxes for those sellers unless those sellers request they do. My guess is there aren't many who request that service for states other than the one in which they are situated. They don't have to. Apparently, a substantial part of Amazon's sales are made by such sellers, possibly as much as 50%. There is a lot of potential sales tax revenue remaining out there to help fill state coffers. New York and a few other states are already planning legislation to demand such taxes be collected. Along with Amazon, there are other large businesses such as eBay, and countless smaller ones.

 

AbeBooks, the largest marketplace of independent booksellers, does not collect such taxes. On its website, the firm explains, "Due to the complexity of international and e-commerce tax laws, AbeBooks does not collect or remit any taxes or duties on behalf of our booksellers. Booksellers are responsible for the collection and payment of taxes for items sold through our websites." If you are an old, rare, or used book seller, the chances are you sell books in Abe's marketplace. Round two begins. Welcome to the next frontier!


Posted On: 2017-05-01 08:52
User Name: PeterReynolds

Do these laws require us to collect taxes? There is a megaseller whose listings say "we do not send to Denmark". But as far as I know the issue with Denmark only arises if you send a large quantity there in the course of a year. Would this be the case with US states? Having visited USA, I have always found the sales tax thing bizarre - that you can go into a dollar store where everything is a dollar but be required to pay more. Here in the UK VAT is "hidden" for retail purchases - only firms selling primarily to businesses advertise prices without our national sales tax already included (we don't have local sales tax). The reason why they are not included for businesses is that businesses claim the VAT on things they but back as a deduction from the VAT on things they sell.


Posted On: 2017-05-01 14:43
User Name: AE244155

At the moment, you would only have to pay a state sales tax if you have a presence in that state, which naturally you do not. Amazon now has a presence in so many states they concluded it was best to start collecting it for all. However, they only collect sales taxes on the items that they sell on behalf of themselves. They do not collect it on sales they make on behalf of independent vendors. Those companies that only sell on behalf independent vendors, such as eBay and AbeBooks, do not collect any sales taxes at all. That is likely to be the next target of states - forcing vendors like those to collect sales tax. The early such proposals are targeted to independent sellers with high volumes of sales, so most booksellers may escape such legislation if it is adopted anyway. My guess is eventually everyone will have to pay, but that is still many years away.

Americans have rejected VATs because we are suspicious of any new taxes, assuming they will be in addition to existing taxes (such as the sales tax) rather than in place of them. We also don't much like hidden taxes as they are easier to raise without our noticing it. Americans are more tax averse than Europeans!


Rare Book Monthly

  • <b>Swann Auction Galleries Nov 8:</b> Kurt Vonnegut, archive of 12 letters, signed to his family, 6 illustrated, 1930s-40s. $4,000 to $6,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Nov 8:</b> Allen Ginsberg, 11 autograph manuscripts, including 10 drafts of poems & a page of notes, circa 1948. $4,000 to $6,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Nov 8:</b> Joan Miró, illustrated autograph note signed to MoMA Director of Exhibitions & Publications, 1959. $6,000 to $9,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Nov 8:</b> Carl Gustav Jung, typed letter signed to a colleague, 1948. $3,000 to $4,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Nov 8:</b> Gustav Mahler, ALS, arranging a meeting during his historic visit to New York, circa 1908. $4,000 to $6,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Nov 8:</b> Mark Twain, ALS, explaining the target of his new book, 1902. $3,000 to $4,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Nov 8:</b> Charles Dickens, ALS, accepting an invitation in the voice of a <i>Martin Chuzzlewit</i> character, 1843. $4,000 to $6,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Nov 8:</b> Jacob Lawrence, illustrated greeting card signed, 1960. $2,000 to $3,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Nov 8:</b> Robert E. Lee, ALS, to the colonel of the Kanawha Valley volunteers, boosting morale, 1861. $15,000 to $25,000
  • <b>Leslie Hindman Auctioneers: The Adventure & Exploration Library of Steve Fossett. October 31, 2018</b>
    <b>Leslie Hindman, Oct 31:</b> SHACKLETON, Ernest Henry, Sir. <i>Aurora Australis. Printed at the Winter Quarters of the British Antarctic Expedition, 1907, During the Winter Months of April, May, June, July, 1908.</i> $60,000 to $80,000
    <b>Leslie Hindman, Oct 31:</b> HUMBOLDT, Alexander von, and Aime J. A. BONPLAND. <i>Vues des Cordillères, et monumens des peuples indigènes de l'Amérique.</i> Paris, 1810. $30,000 to $40,000
    <b>Leslie Hindman, Oct 31:</b> COOK, James, Captain. [Collected Voyages]. London: Strahan and Cadell, 1773, 1777, 1784. First editions of the second and third voyages. $20,000 to $30,000
    <b>Leslie Hindman Auctioneers: The Adventure & Exploration Library of Steve Fossett. October 31, 2018</b>
    <b>Leslie Hindman, Oct 31:</b> DARWIN, Charles. <i>A Narrative of the Surveying Voyages of His Majesty's Ships Adventure and Beagle, between the years 1826 and 1836.</i> $20,000 to $30,000
    <b>Leslie Hindman, Oct 31:</b> SPILBERGEN, Joris van (1568-1620). <i>Speculum orientalis occidentalisque Indiae navigationum.</i> Leiden: Nicolaus van Geelkercken, 1619. $20,000 to $30,000
    <b>Leslie Hindman, Oct 31:</b> DRAKE, Francis, Sir. <i>Sir Francis Drake Revived. Who is or may be a Pattern to stirre up all Heroicke and active Spirits of these Times…</i> London, 1653 [i.e. 1652]. $10,000 to $15,000
    <b>Leslie Hindman Auctioneers: The Adventure & Exploration Library of Steve Fossett. October 31, 2018</b>
    <b>Leslie Hindman, Oct 31:</b> SHACKLETON, Ernest Henry, Sir, Louis C. BERNACCHI, and Apsley George Benet CHERRY-GARRARD, editors. The South Polar Times. London, 1907-1914. $10,000 to $15,000
    <b>Leslie Hindman, Oct 31:</b> ANSON, George. <i>A Voyage round the World, In the Years 1740...</i> 1744. London: John and Paul Knapton for the author, 1748. $8,000 to $12,000
    <b>Leslie Hindman, Oct 31:</b> HERRERA Y TORDESILLAS, Antonio de. <i>Description des Indes Occidentales, Qu'on appelle aujourdhuy Le Nouveau Monde...</i> Amsterdam: Michel Colin, 1622. $8,000 to $12,000
    <b>Leslie Hindman Auctioneers: The Adventure & Exploration Library of Steve Fossett. October 31, 2018</b>
    <b>Leslie Hindman, Oct 31:</b> NOORT, Olivier van. <i>Description du Penible Voyage fait entour de l'univers ou globe terrestre...</i> Amsterdam: Cornille Nicolas, 1610. $5,000 to $7,000
    <b>Leslie Hindman, Oct 31:</b> LEO AFRICANUS, Johannes. <i>A Geographical Historie of Africa, Written in Arabicke and Italian.</i> London: George Bishop, 1600. $4,000 to $6,000
    <b>Leslie Hindman, Oct 31:</b> SCHOUTEN, Willem Corneliszoon. <i>Journal ou Description du Merveilleux Voyage de Guillaume Schouten, Hollandois natif de Hoorn, fait es années 1615, 1616, & 1617.</i> 1619. $4,000 to $6,000

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