Auction Update Review
This past week four auctions were archived and they illustrate the complexity of auctions today. Bonhams, In San Francisco, continues to build a business in the dispersal of interesting and collectible books, manuscripts, maps and ephemera. On February 27th, in one of their Sunset Estate Sales they sold $69,976 of material as part of a larger sale of over 700 lots. National Book of Ithaca, New York, continuing to define itself as a source of printed works on paper raised $27,100. Morton Casa de Subastas, in Mexico City, sold $41,910 and Dirk Soulis, of Lone Jack, Missouri raised $207,261. The Soulis auction was particularly interesting. The entire sale was unreserved and there were many surprises.
Lot 1 set the stage – Sebastian Brandt’s Ship of Fools – could have been purchased for $10 starting bid. It brought $13,200. A Horace Greeley signed photograph, started at $10 and brought $330 – thus proving that "going west young man" only required going as far as Missouri. Pride of place went to lot 27, a signed Walt Whitman manuscript poem, in this version called ‘Ah, not that Granite Dead and Cold’ and later published as ‘Washington’s Monument.’ Against its $10 starting bid it brought $61,050. Unreserved sales are the most interesting auctions today. They are also uncommon.
Heritage’s March Dallas Signature Texana Auction in Dallas [March 10-12] is fully illustrated and looks very appealing. PBA’s Rare Americana – Travel & Exploration – Cartography on March 10th is also fully illustrated. Images of items in both sales are cycling through the AE home page, are searchable in upcoming auctions and come up in triangulated searches across the site. Images in dealer listings are also randomly appearing on the home page. View Heritage and PBA.
Listing sites and the upcoming auctions section in AE have been essentially passive. If someone has searched and the material was available it came up in the results. With the recently introduced triangulated search the prospect of matches is greatly increased, and with images, these matches come to life. We are moving past the era of passive listings and the field will in time be transformed.