Recent Auction Reports: The Market's Pulse

- by Bruce E. McKinney


Snapshots of Recent Auctions

It is widely acknowledged that the same book on different days at the same auction house brings different results. It is also true that the same book offered at different auction houses will bring a wider range of results. The process is imperfect and auction houses have embraced the internet precisely because it increases awareness and bids and provides a degree of pricing stability. But auctions today are also selling into a slowing economy and rising inventory. The waters are choppy and Recent Auction Reports a way to see through the churn. It's an exceptional barometer.

For decades, booksellers relied on auction history to set prices. Then internet pricing emerged and an online concensus among sellers developed. In time the number of copies multiplied and sales slowed while generally listed prices did not fall. Today the gulf between auction realizations and online listed prices is often 40%, a difference that is bringing buyers into the rooms. As a consequence the auctions are returning to normal rates of sell-though while the listing sites continue to be slow.

In 2008 we covered 420 auctions as they offered 220,000 lots and more than half a million individual books, manuscripts and ephemera. This year it will be about the same so every day, on average, some fresh results will be posted. Tune in to watch the world go by.

Select Upcoming Auctions and you are there.

Auction Search Page.