Auction Update Review


This is the week that was

This was a very good week for book auction houses, for consignors, buyers and arm chair impresarios. Any way you slice it the numbers look good. Ten auctions raised $5.65 million against their aggregate high estimate of $5.7. That's ten auctions together achieving 99% of their high estimate. It confirms that bidders, rather than consignors [through reserves], are establishing prices. Continuing performance along these lines will go a long way to restoring confidence and encouraging new collectors into the field. While these are just the results of a single week it is an indication that when savvy auction houses and intelligent consignors work together two objectives are obtained: good prices and strong encouragement to collectors. This makes this past week, to quote the 1960's television show "the week that was."

Confidence for consignors and auction houses going forward will be born in reality, not misplaced optimism. The emerging formula for auction success is careful selection, solid description, extensive illustration, enticing estimates, extensive publicity, early posting [a minimum of 17 days] and multiple channels for bidder participation. The book business is a mosaic and every part has its place.

While Christies was the dollar champion Bloomsbury in the UK took honors for best single performance of overall sales versus total high estimate. Their sale of Natural History on the 23rd brought 171% of the high estimate. Alain and Evelyne Morel de Westgaver achieved 147%. Bloomsbury, selling the Library of the 5th Marquis Camden Will Trust 135%, Christies' Travel, Science and Natural History sale in London on the 23rd 117%. This is very difficult to achieve.

Many other sales did well. Click on the first sale and cursor through them. In doing so, whatever your role and relation to the field, whether a buyer or seller, the news is good, the results refreshing.

An update on AE. We are now beta testing the new site. The feedback is very positive, the approach fresh. If you would like to have a look send me an email at Include your phone number. If you previously volunteered for beta testing we'll contact you this week. We're now aiming for an October 5th release.

Bruce McKinney


  • <b>19th Century Shop’s Catalog 170 Great Books and Photos. Please inquire for a copy.</b>
    <b>19th Century Shop:</b> Exodus 10:10 to 16:15. Complete Biblical scroll sheet in Hebrew, a Torah scroll panel. Middle East, ca. 10th or 11th century.
    <b>19th Century Shop:</b> Copernicus Refuted. (Astronomy.). Scientific manuscript of a course of studies at Collège de la Trinité, Lyon. 1660s.
    <b>19th Century Shop:</b> Israel’s War of Independence and the Early Days of the IDF. 58 photographs presented to Israel Ber, IDF officer and later convicted spy.
    <b>19th Century Shop’s Catalog 170 Great Books and Photos. Please inquire for a copy.</b>
    <b>19th Century Shop:</b> Early Unpublished Darwin letter on the races of man. Autograph Letter Signed [to Henry Denny]. Down, Kent, June 1, [1844].
    <b>19th Century Shop:</b> Classic Image of American Slavery. Kimball, M. H. <i>Emancipated Slaves</i>. New York: George Hanks, 1863.
    <b>19th Century Shop:</b> (Underground Railroad.) Scaggs, Isaac. Important Runaway Slave Poster: $500 Reward Ran away, or decoyed from the subscriber…
  • <b>Bonhams, inviting consignments for Sep 27:</b> Newton. <i>Philosophiae naturalis principia mathematica</i>. London, 1687.
    <b>Bonhams, inviting consignments for Sep 27:</b> Josephus. <i>De antiquitate Judaica.</i> Lubeck, 1475-76.
    <b>Bonhams, inviting consignments for Sep 27:</b> Carlerius. <i>Sporta fragmentorum, Sportula fragmentorum</i>. Brussels, 1478-79.
    <b>Bonhams, inviting consignments for Sep 27:</b> Fridolin. <i>Der Schatzbehalter</i>. Nuremberg, 1491.
    <b>Bonhams, inviting consignments for Sep 27:</b> Pinder. <i>Der beschlossen gart des rosenkrantz marie</i>. Nuremberg, 1505.
    <b>Bonhams, inviting consignments for Sep 27:</b> Isidorus Hispalensis. <i>Synonyma de Homine</i>. Nuremberg, 1470-71.
    <b>Bonhams, inviting consignments for Sep 27:</b> Durer. Sammelband including <i>Underweysung der messing</i>. Nuremberg, 1525-29.
  • <b>Swann Auction Galleries: Fall 2017 Auction Schedule</b>
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Sep 19: 19th & 20th Century Prints & Drawings</b>
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Sep 28: Printed & Manuscript Americana</b>
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Oct 5: African-American Fine Art</b>
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries: Fall 2017 Auction Schedule</b>
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Oct 17: Early Printed, Medical, Scientific & Travel Books</b>
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Oct 19:<br>Art & Storytelling: Photographs & Photobooks</b>
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Oct 26: Rare & Important Travel Posters</b>
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries: Fall 2017 Auction Schedule</b>
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Nov 2:<br>Old Master Through Modern Prints</b>
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Nov 7: Autographs</b>
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Nov 14: 19th & 20th Century Literature</b>
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries: Fall 2017 Auction Schedule</b>
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Nov 16: Contemporary Art</b>
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Dec 5:<br>Maps & Atlases, Natural History & Color Plate Books</b>
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Dec 14: Illustration Art</b>
  • <b>Announcing a new Books for Sale platform hosted by Biblio</b>
    <b>List your books simultaneously on Rare Book Hub and Biblio</b>