Rare Book Monthly

Articles - January - 2007 Issue

Take Control of Your Foreign Affairs, Part II

R1

Don't settle for de facto exchange rates.


By Renée Magriel Roberts

In my December article I discussed some of the problems that we booksellers face in buying and selling overseas, with a specific focus on the expense and time involved in buying books from overseas sellers:
  • Vendors may want payments in their own currencies, either by wire transfer or by bank draft in their own currency. Or, if they are in Canada or the USA, they may prefer EFT/ACH electronic payments. What is the simplest way to initiate these transactions?
  • Third-party transactions in foreign currencies create timing issues. How can one guarantee that the exchange transaction will allow a reasonable profit?
  • How can costly bank fees and unfavorable exchange rates be avoided?
  • How can one eliminate the extra credit card charges incurred when dealing with foreign exchanges?
  • Time is money in our industry. How can we avoid the long lines at the bank and the do-overs from processes that are not efficiently set up?
  • How can we readily transfer funds between accounts in the USA and overseas at minimum expense and effort?
In order to begin solving these problems, we found we needed more control over the central process in any foreign purchase: the actual exchange to and from US dollars. By better understanding and controlling the process, we avoided just about all of the time and energy drains of doing business the old way.

Taking control of our foreign affairs started out with just getting better information on the current and ever-changing exchange rates. We began by using XE.com. A free and easy-to-use site, XE.com launched its flagship service, "The Universal Currency Converter"®, to dynamically calculate exchange rates among all 193 of the world's currencies. The XE payment system used to make trades, which we will describe later in this article, supports the 15 major world currencies:

* AUD Australia Dollars, * CAD Canada Dollars, * CHF Switzerland Francs, * DKK Denmark Kroner, * EUR Euro, * GBP United Kingdom Pounds Sterling, * HKD Hong Kong Dollars, * JPY Japan Yen, * MXN Mexico Pesos, * NZD New Zealand Dollars, * NOK Norway Kroner, * SGD Singapore Dollars, * SEK Sweden Kronor, * USD United States Dollars, and * ZAR South Africa Rand.

Using XE.com is extremely easy. You just plug in an amount in one currency and pick the target currency; the Currency Converter displays the result and the exchange rate used in the calculation. In addition the Universal Currency Converter will display the so-called mid-market rates for many other currencies. You can readily bookmark this site and use it whenever you wish, and there is also a library of free web tools to integrate the technology into your own site as a customer service.

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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