Rare Book Monthly

Articles - September - 2017 Issue

Here's How to Find What's Available at Auction During the Busy Season

066c6189-f64b-4393-813a-336ba66b7aa2

Just enter your term(s) and click "Search."

The busiest time of the year for book and paper auctions is about to arrive. Last year, 30% of the items were sold in the last three months of the year. Moreover, many saved their best for last, as 36% of the dollars were spent from October-December. We have some outstanding tools to make it easier to find what you want and follow what is happening this fall.

 

There are around 100-200 auction houses that at least on occasion sell books and works on paper. Many won't have auctions this fall, but others will have multiple sales. To figure out whether any of them have material of interest to you, you need someone to consolidated the lots offered at each sale and make them available for a combined search. That is exactly what Rare Book Hub does.

 

Near the top of this and most pages on this site you will see a search box. If it says anything other than "Upcoming Auctions" to the left, toggle it (click the downward pointing arrow) and select "Upcoming Auctions." Then enter your search term(s) and click "Search." That's it.

 

Don't look to be overwhelmed with matches, such as you get searching sites like Amazon, AbeBooks, or Biblio. Those sites have tens if not hundreds of millions of listings. Even at the peak of the season, there will only be around 50,000 book lots offered at auction at any one time. Many terms will generate no matches at a particular moment. However, unlike the listing sites where books accumulate for years and years, auction inventory is constantly changing. Within two weeks time, most of today's listings will be gone, replaced by new ones. The inventory is always turning over as one auction is completed and a new one begins.

 

You don't want to search auction lots the same as you would the book listing sites. Use a broader search. For example, if you collect Mark Twain, search for "Twain." Nothing more. The number of matches will be small enough that you can quickly evaluate all. This way, you won't risk missing anything. A recent AbeBooks search for "Twain" returned 138,000 matches. That's way too many to evaluate. It included 775 for Shania Twain. Man, I feel like this not what I want. In the unlikely event an auction search turns up a Shania Twain item, you can easily ignore it (unless, of course, it is Shania you are seeking).

 

Due to the rapid turnover of items listed at auction, with some houses only publishing lists a few days before a sale, you need to search every couple of days if you don't want to risk missing a lot you really want. This is seriously not a problem with the huge listing sites where listings accumulate for years. You may find this repeated searching a bit burdensome, particularly if you have multiple terms you wish to search.

 

Here is a shortcut. On the top toolbar, you will see a link for Matchmaker. You will need to be a member to use this service. We need to know who you are in order to send you matches. However, any level of membership will do, including free. Here is where to sign up if you are not already a member: Become a Member.

 

Once you are logged in to your membership (you must be logged in), go to Matchmaker and click on "Add Keywords" above the rectangle. We recommend only one term at a time so as to maximize matches. Then click "Add Keywords." You can go back and add as many more keywords as you like. New matches will be added to your account once a day (nightly in the Western Hemisphere). The first day a keyword is entered, you will receive matches for every upcoming auction currently in the database. Each day thereafter, you will receive matches only for newly entered auctions so there will be no repetition.

 

When the results are posted by the auction house, the sales prices will also show up in your Matchmaker account so you can see at what price the lot sold.

 

It's all self-explanatory, but do check out the Matchmaker Preferences. You can decide how long to keep matches (up to 30 days). You also can decide whether you wish to receive an email alert. This will let you know whether you have new matches on a given day without having to check in to see. It will be sent to the email address associated with your account. If you prefer not to receive emails, you can turn them off.

 

You also have the option of receiving matches from Books for Sale (you can turn this off on your Preferences page), and if signed up at the Octavo or Folio level, matches from eBay too.

 

There is much more on this site pertaining to auctions to cover at once. A few other things include a calendar of auctions for the month (you can scroll back or forward for other months). Auctions in green have lots listed (click the name to see), green with a check means the results have been posted, brown means lot listings are not yet available. If you click on one where the results are in, you will see a link for "Auction Report." This will provide you details about the sale plus a list of the 25 most expensive lots.

 

When you sign up, you can elect to receive weekly auction updates. This is an email providing a summary of what happened in the past week, sent out Sunday evening. It is full of links to past sales, upcoming sales, and the 25 most expensive lots for the week. Make sure it doesn't end up in your spam folder as spam filters often assume a lot of links means spam. Set your filter to accept email from RareBookHub.com. If you later decide you no longer wish to receive these emails, or you change your mind and do wish to receive them, click on the My Home link top right on any page, go to the "My Mailings" box, and change your selection.

 

If you have any questions about Rare Book Hub's auction services, you may post them at the end of this article, or send a message to editorial@rarebookhub.com. We are real people. We will respond.

Rare Book Monthly

  • <b>Swann Auction Galleries Sep 27:</b> Franklin H. Brown, <i>State Sovereignty, National Union,</i> Chicago, 1860. $6,000 to $9,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Sep 27:</b> Thomas Paine, <i>The American Crisis,</i> Fishkill, NY, December 1776. $25,000 to $35,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Sep 27:</b><br>The Aitken Bible, Philadelphia, 1781. $20,000 to $30,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Sep 27:</b> Francisco Loubayssin de Lamarca, probable first edition of the first novel set in the Spanish New World, Paris, 1617. $15,000 to $25,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Sep 27:</b> Juan de la Anunciación, <i>Sermonario en lengua mexicana,</i> first edition, first book of sermons in Nahuatl, Mexico, 1577. $30,000 to $40,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Sep 27:</b> Maturino Gilberti, <i>Thesoro spiritual en lengua de Mechuacá,</i> first edition, Mexico, 1558. $15,000 to $25,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Sep 27:</b> Commission of William O. Stoddard as secretary to the president, signed by Lincoln, Washington, 1861. $7,000 to $10,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Sep 27:</b> <i>Clay and Frelinghuysen,</i> flag banner, circa 1844. $8,000 to $12,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Sep 27:</b> Daguerreotype of a man believed to be Frederick Granger Williams Smith, son of Joseph Smith, circa late 1850s. $10,000 to $15,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Sep 27:</b> John C. Wolfe, <i>Portrait of Abraham Lincoln,</i> oil on board in period wooden frame, circa 1860s. $12,000 to $18,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Sep 27:</b> Francis W. Winton, manuscript on pow-wows with indigenous Canadians, 1881. $15,000 to $25,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Sep 27:</b> Family letters from two young daguerreotype artists, 1826-79. $10,000 to $15,000.
  • <b>Leland Little: Important Fall Auction. September 22, 2018</b>
    <b>Leland Little, Sep. 22:</b> Published Half Plate Ambrotype of a North Carolina Confederate Officer. $2,000 to $4,000
    <b>Leland Little, Sep. 22:</b> Two 19th Century Books Pertaining to Canada's Red River Settlement. $400 to $800
    <b>Leland Little, Sep. 22:</b> Two Books With Fore-Edge Paintings of British Architectual Landmarks. $400 to $600
    <b>Leland Little: Important Fall Auction. September 22, 2018</b>
    <b>Leland Little, Sep. 22:</b> Andy Warhol (American, 1928-1987), "Torte a la Dobosch" from <i>Wild Raspberries</i>. $1,000 to $3,000
    <b>Leland Little, Sep. 22:</b> Keith Haring (American, 1958-1990), <i>Pop Shop II,</i> One Plate screenprint in colors, on wove paper, 1998. $8,000 to $12,000
    <b>Leland Little, Sep. 22:</b> Thomas Rowlandson (British, 1756-1827), Twenty-Two Prints from the <i>Tours of Dr. Syntax</i>. $500 to $1,000
  • <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: Exploration and Travel, Featuring Americana, Part I. September 25, 2018</b>
    <b>Bonhams, Sep. 25:</b> Shackleton, Ernest. <i>Aurora Australis.</i> Printed at the sign of 'The Penguins'; East Antarctica, 1908. $70,000 to $100,000
    <b>Bonhams, Sep. 25:</b> Shackleton, Ernest. <i>South Polar Times.</i> 1st edition, limited issue. from the library of Michael Barne. $20,000 to $30,000
    <b>Bonhams, Sep. 25:</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. $25,000 to $35,000
    <b>Bonhams: Exploration and Travel, Featuring Americana, Part I. September 25, 2018</b>
    <b>Bonhams, Sep. 25:</b> <i>The Voice of the People.</i> Boston, 1754. Rare pamphlet on the Excise Tax. Nathaniel Sparhawk's copy. $4,000 to $6,000
    <b>Bonhams, Sep. 25:</b> Autograph Letter Signed ("S.L. Clemens"), offering extensive hard-earned advice on writing, 5 pp, 1881. $30,000 to $50,000
    <b>Bonhams, Sep. 25:</b> After Fra Egnazio Danti. <i>L'Ultime Parti not:e nel Indie Occid:ntli" [The last known parts of the Western Indies].</i> Painted Map of California, Western Mexico, and Japan. $70,000 to $100,000
    <b>Bonhams: Exploration and Travel, Featuring Americana, Part I. September 25, 2018</b>
    <b>Bonhams, Sep. 25:</b> Ptolemaeus, Claudius. <i>Geographie opus nouissima...</i> 1513. The most important edition of Ptolemy, containing the Admiral's Map. $250,000 to $350,000
    <b>Bonhams, Sep. 25:</b> De Arellano, Don Alonso. Manuscript, his <i>"Relación mui singular y circunstanciada... Capitán del Patax San Lucas,"</i> manuscript copy from the Sir Thomas Phillips collection. $50,000 to $80,000
    <b>Bonhams, Sep. 25:</b> Purchas, Samuel. <i>Purchas his Pilgrimes.</i> First edition. With John Simth's engraved map of Virginia. $70,000 to $100,000
    <b>Bonhams: Exploration and Travel, Featuring Americana, Part I. September 25, 2018</b>
    <b>Bonhams, Sep. 25:</b> Lewis, Meriwether. Contemporary manuscript true copy of his final power of attorney, 1809. $8,000 to $12,000
    <b>Bonhams, Sep. 25:</b> <i>A New Method of Macarony Making, as Practiced at Boston in North America.</i> Mezzotint. London, 1774. $5,000 to $7,000
    <b>Bonhams, Sep. 25:</b> <i>Scientific Base Ball Pitching: A Treatise on the Pitcher, Pitching, Origin and Philosophy of the Curve.</i> Chicago, 1897. $2,000 to $3,000

Article Search

Archived Articles

Ask Questions