Rare Book Monthly

Articles - July - 2010 Issue

A Sale in the Fall to Test the Market


New England's Prospect. 1635

The documentation will provide perspective on the current state of the market by making it possible to compare purchase details over the past twenty years with estimates today and realizations once the sale is complete. Such information will provide clear comparison and no doubt be the subject of analysis by many with an interest in collectible books.

This said, the material is Americana, one of the strongest categories of book, manuscript and ephemera collecting over the past two decades. Whether the material has increased in value is an open question. With reserves to be set generally at 60% of what I paid more than a decade ago prices will not achieve current levels unless there are multiple bidders.

This second sale will also make it possible to add a factor to the equation; extended time to pay. When I bought at major sales I was extended this privilege and it was always a factor for me. In organizing this sale I requested and Bonhams agreed, to provide buyers the choice of a 2% discount for immediate cash payment or alternatively, up to 6 months in installments interest free. Lines of credit will be established by the house. At my request, because many items in the sale will bring modest realizations, Bonhams will provide credit lines from $2,500. Scale should not be a requirement for credit. In my 20s the opportunity to have a modest line of credit to bid in a major sale would have been a wonderful thing.

It will be 90 days before the catalogue is finalized. In the meantime it is not too early to sign up for a copy of the free catalogue. Readers who register with Bonhams will receive hard cover copies, everyone else a soft cover edition.

If you would like to receive the catalogue simply click here to be added to the list.

Come December we will have taken the measure of the marketplace by sending some very fine canaries into Bonham's very fine coal mine. We'll then know much about the present and have a better sense of the future, not a bad outcome for the 330 lots that have in some cases been preparing for this moment since they came off the press almost four hundred years ago.

Rare Book Monthly

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