Rare Book Monthly

Articles - April - 2018 Issue

A New Look for Old World Auctions

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The homepage of Old World Auctions' brand new website

Many of you have been members of Rare Book Hub for years now, and over that time, you have surely witnessed the site change and evolve. But we are certainly not the only business in the industry innovating and undergoing redesigns! Old World Auctions, the online-only auction house specializing in maps and cartography and run by Eliane and Jon Dotson, has just released a brand new iteration of their website and auction platform. I had a chance to catch up with Eliane on the phone this past month, and she walked me through some of the biggest changes they’ve made.

 

Old World Auctions’ previous website was built in the 1990s, so to say it was due for an overhaul is a major understatement. For Eliane, the age of the site was felt most in its lack of flexibility to add features or to fix things when inevitable bugs cropped up, but her customers had different issues with the original site. So, two years ago, the Dotsons surveyed their members asking for feedback, and with the new site’s deployment, buyers and sellers at Old World have been heard. Before I go into detail about what’s changed though, I should mention that some things remain the same. Their auctions still operate in the same manner, with an online catalog open for bidding for one to two weeks before auctions close at 10pm eastern time. Browsing and searching auctions, adding items to a Watch List, and a Bid Status List have all been carried over as well (though they’ve also been updated and overhauled). Existing login details have also not changed.

 

The most striking difference you’ll immediately notice when going to oldworldauctions.com is the aesthetic change. The site is modern, with a large and eye-catching slideshow of highlight lots from the current or most recently past auction. This works particularly well because of Old World’s map-centric offerings that are inherently visual. Going past the initial impression, the site has been vastly decluttered. Clear links for the company’s newsletter, registering to bid, and consigning material present themselves on the homepage, while links related to auctions and the user’s account are kept in dropdown menus accessible in the top right corner.

 

A wealth of new features has been added to the site, and this is a direct response to member feedback. Global keyword and advanced searches of both the current auction and past auction archive are now available. Eliane told me that the motivation for this, especially in providing a transparent and searchable auction archive, stems from the fact that “our goal is always to be as open and honest as possible to build trust with our customers.” Over sixty thousand previously auctioned lots are searchable going back to 1998, with estimates, prices, and images included for each. As an employee of a service that prides itself on providing transparency to all elements of the rare book field, I believe this is a great move for the industry.

 

The Bid Status List that existed on the old site remains, but it has been updated to provide real-time data and a live count-down clock for individual lots is now present. Color coding has also been added as clear indicators of status, whether above or below the reserve, or simply outbid. Members’ invoice histories are also now easily accessible back to 1999. And finally, the site is mobile friendly!

 

As someone who periodically handles tech support requests for Rare Book Hub, I am keenly aware that when websites undergo major change, there can be a bit of a learning curve. Old World Auctions knows this too, and they’ve created a YouTube channel with several information videos on important subjects: How to Bid, Managing a Watch List, and Bidding the During the 10-Minute Rule. If you have bid on their auctions in the past, or plan to in the future, I recommend watching their videos here. They total less than 15 minutes combined.

 

Website development and evolution is a process, and Old World Auctions is not done. In the coming months, more features will be added to the new site:

  • Additional search functionality, including searching within a price range, condition range, or date range (for the past auction archive)
  • Additional browse functionality to allow you to select how many lots are visible on a page at one time (currently the maximum is 50 per page)
  • Adding over 80,000 high-resolution images to the past auction archive

 

Old World Auctions’ next auction is scheduled to begin May 23rd and end June 6th. Their most recent sale ended March 28th, but they are currently conducting a post-auction sale of unsold items for reserve prices through April 4th.

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>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
  • <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.

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