Rare Book Monthly

Articles - September - 2008 Issue

Book Collectors to See Stars

Profiles



By Bruce McKinney

If you are a movie buff or simply like movie stars in the buff I know where you'll be in early December - at the auction, close-out and house cleaning of the Collector's Bookstore in LA. In typical Hollywood style, Profiles in History of Calabasas, the designated auction seller, is planning a five day auction beginning on December 10th to sell the estimated 3 million items in CB's stock. Assuming that no one sleeps that's at least 25,000 items per hour, 400 a minute, one every fifteen one hundredths of a second. Auctioneers are known to talk fast and fast talkers are legendary in Hollywood but this promises to be a superhuman display of tongue-twisting acumen. Of course it can't be done this way. It isn't cool.

The inventory is actually a bit more than three million items, by some estimates closer to four. I rounded down. Here it is: three million Hollywood photos, 200,000 negatives, 30,000 movie scripts, 150,000 posters and more than 18,000 movie magazines dating back to 1912. According to Joseph Maddalena, the President of Profiles, an extensive full color catalogue will be available in early November. Single copies will be $30 and the complete sale available online as a PDF at no charge. AE expects to host a fully searchable version and it will also be accessible through eBay Live.

According to Mr. Maddalena, the inventory will be divided into approximately 3,000 lots. This suggests that an average lot will contain about a thousand items. Photographs will be sold "by the filing cabinet," approximately 15 running feet each. There are 150 filing cabinets. The best scripts will be grouped 5 to 10 per lot, the balance of the 30,000 available in much larger lots. "Hollywood memorabilia is a worldwide currency" according to a spokesman for the seller.

Also to be sold during the same sale will be 150 statues that are to be deaccessioned by the Hollywood Wax Museum. Figures from Mash, likenesses of John Wayne, Jerry Lewis, Wonder Woman [Linda Carter], Arnold Schwarzenegger, Ronald Reagan, May West and John Travolta lead an all-star caste.

According to Mr. Maddalena the estimated value of the collection is $4.0 million. For buyers, assuming that the inventory of 3.6 million pieces is parsed into 3,000 lots, the average lot will bring about $1,333 and contain more than 1,100 items. For eBay resellers, collectors and dealers it promises to be an intriguing opportunity.

The Collector's Bookstore was founded by Malcolm Willis and Leonard Brown in 1965. They were both collectors and started by selling what they collected: kitsch. In time the kitsch turned to gold and the store into a career. Six years ago the company closed its retail location and shifted its focus to eBay. Now they are ready to call it quits.

The material will be available for inspection by appointment and inspections are highly recommended. To arrange a seance call 310.859.7701.

The sale will conducted at Profiles in History, 26901 Agoura Road, Calabasas, California 91301. The start date is subject to change. Their website is www.profilesinhistory.com.

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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