Auction Update Review

Nopreview

Clarity Emerging

Swann in New York had the two top sales for the most recent reporting period selling $2,527,774 of 19th and 20th Century Prints and Drawings on the March 3rd and a week later raising $834,448 for Printed and Manuscript African Americana on the 10th. For the week there were ten archived auctions, with total sales of $5,497,350. Swann’s two sales represented 61% of the total. Of the 10 reported events five had sales above the aggregate high estimate:

Adler: Old and Modern Prints on March 4th. 144.73%

Marc Van de Wiele: Spring Book Auction on March 4th. 129.95%

Tajan [France]: Photographs on March 4th. 119.03%

Marc Van de Wiele: Spring Book Auction on March 5th. 116.29%

Dominic Winter: Printed Books, etc on March 2nd. 116.08%

For all sales 78.36% of the lots sold. The nine-year average is 74% but over the past two years it fell below 70% in some quarters. The recovery is all the more remarkable because both auction houses and consignors must agree to the lower estimates and reserves that set the table for active bidding.

Taken together there is an increasingly discernible shift to lower estimates and it suggests gathering strength in the rooms relative to the other primary markets for books; listing sites, traditional dealer offers and book fairs. There are now and again reports of strength in all sectors of the rare book business but activity in the other arenas cannot be confirmed. Auctions, as reported on AE, are an entirely public process and anyone can do the math.

The conventional wisdom has been that the market price for important books is set by dealers based on the general formula that auction realizations are equal to 70% of dealer retail. Increasingly it looks to us that a more accurate formula will be to increasingly rely on recent auction realizations + 20% as the basis for dealer prices. The retail market has been struggling for years with large inventories while the auction market has been growing. If dealer prices come into line with auction realizations we should see a gradual clearing of the overhanging inventory.

Collectors and institutions are increasingly focused on ‘value' rather than on asking prices.

Bruce McKinney
AE

  • <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>