Rare Book Monthly

Articles - June - 2003 Issue

So This Is Day One In The World Of Book Collecting...

Matchmaker2

MatchMaker will Help You Find Interesting Items


By Bruce McKinney


So this is day one in the new world of book collecting. It doesn’t seem to be much different to me. I like to collect books. I did before and I do now. So what exactly is different? The AE Database on this site can answer many questions but it doesn’t tell me what questions to ask. For those who are interested in Americana there are always things around to consider purchasing but not many clear, easy and relatively instant ways to know if a book I’m being shown logically fits into what I’m trying to collect. The world of Americana is relatively small. The total titles that can by any stretch be connected to this field is probably less, and probably significantly less, than 400,000 for titles printed before 1925 but this is still a lot of material. But for collectors the field can feel as big as an ocean when their interests are potentially all of but not more than a mountain lake.

I have always faced a blizzard of collecting possibilities. Early on I focused on imprints because they are self-limiting. Of course book collecting is an itch that has to be periodically scratched so I couldn’t set my parameters too precisely. Over the years I have tended to buy all kinds of imprints if they looked like they came out of small shops. They have always looked interesting to me and they still do.

But now I’m standing on the outside looking at the entire field of Americana. Using the ÆD, I can select very defined parameters in the field of Americana and I can run searches to see what is in a particular field, see what many of the listed titles have cost in the past, and then build a "Wants List" of interesting items that I can then post both to the internet and to be compared to upcoming auctions for a full year. Then if any titles matching my descriptions are posted I’m to be notified within a few hours. What is this miraculous process called? It’s called MatchMaker and it works very well. It is introduced and described elsewhere in ÆM this month.

To see what is in the ÆD today, I run "Keyword" searches in the ÆD for various places. This is what I find: San Jose 286; New Haven 1,500+; Little Rock 232; Trenton 992; New Castle 317; and Omaha 735. These searches are probably the most exhaustive analysis of material you can readily obtain. And because the Æ Database is augmented each week, the number of records in every area of interest increases steadily. I only have to periodically rerun my "Keyword" searches, identify new material and then add these titles to my "Wants Lists". In other words, I can start with a substantial list and see it grow over time.

I’ve been working with this Æ Database software, in prototype form, for several months and I have already identified several interesting items that I’ve purchased on the net. I’m finding that I have to work at this a bit though. This MatchMaker software is beginning to take me very deeply into a relatively narrow field. I find I like this because I seem to be quickly becoming more knowledgeable about this small area than most dealers are. I’m also finding that periodically I want to go back to look at the results in the Æ Database searches to look for clues to other material. For instance I found that Fishkill is also spelled Fish-kills and Fish-kill. Fishkill currently has 79 matches, Fish-kill 52 and Fish-kills 7. In time my "Wants List" for the Hudson Valley are going to reach 1,000 titles. Right now it is at about 325.

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 Apr 26:</b> Jacques-Émile Ruhlmann, wallpaper sample book, circa 1919. $15,000 to $25,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Apr 26:</b> Archive from a late office of the Breuer & Smith architectural team, New York, 1960-70s. $3,500 to $5,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Apr 26:</b> William Morris, <i>The Story of the Glittering Plain or the Land of Living Men,</i> illustrated by Walter Crane, Kelmscott Press, Hammersmith, 1894. $2,500 to $3,500.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Apr 26:</b> Gustave Doré, <i>La Sainte Bible selon la Vulgate,</i> Tours, 1866. $15,000 to $25,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Apr 26:</b> Gustav Klimt & Max Eisler, <i>Eine Nachlese,</i> complete set, Vienna, 1931. $15,000 to $25,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Apr 26:</b><br>Eric Allatini & Gerda Wegener, <i>Sur Talons Rouges,</i> with original watercolor by Wegener, Paris, 1929. $5,000 to $7,500.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Apr 26:</b><br>C.P. Cavafy, <i>Fourteen Poems,</i> illustrated & signed by David Hockney, London, 1966. $5,000 to $7,500.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Apr 26:</b> Jean Midolle, <i>Spécimen des Écritures Modernes...</i>, Strasbourg, 1834-35. $3,000 to $4,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Apr 26:</b><br>E.A. Seguy, <i>Floréal: Dessins & Coloris Nouveaux,</i> Paris, 1925. $3,000 to $4,000.
  • <b>Bonhams: Results from Fine Books and Manuscripts on March 9, 2018</b>
    <b>Bonhams, Mar. 9:</b> BEETHOVEN, LUDWIG VAN. Autograph Manuscript sketch-leaf part of the score of the Scottish Songs, "Sunset" Op. 108 no 2. [Vienna, February 1818]. Inscribed by Alexander Wheelock Thayer. SOLD for $131,250
    <b>Bonhams, Mar. 9:</b> Violin belonging to Albert Einstein, presented to him by Oscar H. Steger, 1933. SOLD for $516,500
    <b>Bonhams, Mar. 9:</b> EINSTEIN, ALBERT. Autograph Letter Signed ("Papa") to his son Hans Albert, discussing his involvement with the atomic bomb, September 2, 1945. SOLD for $106,250
    <b>Bonhams: Results from Fine Books and Manuscripts on March 9, 2018</b>
    <b>Bonhams, Mar. 9:</b> HAMILTON, ALEXANDER. Autograph Letter Signed, to Baron von Steuben, with extensive notes of Von Steuben's aide Benjamin Walker, June 12, 1780. SOLD for $16,250
    <b>Bonhams, Mar. 9:</b> NEWTON, ISAAC. Autograph Manuscript in Latin, being detailed instructions on making the philosopher's stone. 8 pp. 1790s. SOLD for $275,000
    <b>Bonhams, Mar. 9:</b> 1869 Inauguration Bible of President Ulysses S. Grant. SOLD for $118,750
  • <b>Doyle, April 25:</b> E.H. SHEPARD, Original drawing for A.A. Milne’s The House at Pooh Corner.<br>$40,000-60,000
    <b>Doyle, April 25:</b> BERNARD RATZER, Plan of the City of New York in North America, surveyed in the years 1766 & 1767. $80,000-100,000
    <b>Doyle, April 25:</b> THOMAS JEFFERSON, Autograph letter signed comparing Logan, Tecumseh, and Little Turtle to the Spartans. Monticello: 15 February 1821. $14,000-18,000
    <b>Doyle, April 25:</b> JOHN C. FREMONT, Narrative of the Exploring Expedition to the Rocky Mountains, in the Year 1842.. Abridged edition, the only one containing the folding map From the Sporting Library of Arnold “Jake” Johnson. $3,000-5,000
    <b>Doyle, April 25:</b> ZANE GREY, Album containing 94 large format photographs of Grey and party at Catalina Island, Arizona, and fishing in the Pacific. From the Sporting Library of Arnold “Jake” Johnson. $5,000-$8,000
    <b>Doyle, April 25:</b> WILLIAM COMBE, A History of Madeira ... illustrative of the Costumes, Manners, and Occupations of the Inhabitants. produced by Ackermann in 1821; From the Sporting Library of Jake Johnson. $2,000-$3,000
    <b>Doyle, April 25:</b> ERIC TAVERNER, Salmon Fishing... One of 275 copies signed by Taverner, published in 1931,From the Sporting Library of Jake Johnson. $2,000-$3,000
    <b>Doyle, April 25:</b> JOHN WHITEHEAD, Exploration of Mount Kina Balu, North Borneo. Whitehead reached the high point of Kinabalu in 1888. Part of a major group of travel books from the Sporting Library of Jake Johnson. $2,000-$3,000
    <b>Doyle, April 25:</b> JOHN LONG, Voyages and Travels of an Indian Interpreter and Trader, describing the Manners and Customs of the North American Indians... The first edition of 1791. $3,000-$5,000
    <b>Doyle, April 25:</b> SAMUEL BECKETT, Stirrings Still. This, Beckett’s last work of fiction with original lithographs by Le Brocquy, limited to 200 copies signed by the author and the artist. From the Estate of Howard Kaminsky.. $1,500-$2,500

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