Auction Update Review

Nopreview

Sometimes it Rains in June

Auctions have a rhythm and their patterns change.  Over the past one hundred years the auction market for printed materials has closely followed the economic climate.  In the ten year run-up to the depression the business in rare books was spectacular, when the bubble burst the decline long and painful.  Books are an aphrodisiac whose appeal will not wane but their prices do adjust.  As the auctions archived this week suggest buyers are hanging back a bit.  Perhaps it is the uncertainty in Greece or the speculation in Washington that Tea Partiers will cause an American Government debt default by blocking an increase in the debt ceiling.  Whatever the causes declining prices of collectible books are not the culprits.   They are simply some of the hostages.  In effect the purchasing power of money is increasing and this is visible in the free-for–all in the auction rooms.  It’s taking fewer British pounds, Euros and dollars to buy desirable books.   We are lucky for the clarity that auctions are providing.      

 

This was Bub Kuyper week.  Of the twelve sales recently archived half of them were Bub Kuyper’s sales.  They are auctioneers of books, manuscripts, prints and drawings and are located in the Netherlands.  They offered 5,695 lots and sold 3,572 of them.  Over four consecutive days, May 24th to May 27th, they offered more material than the majority of auction houses post in a year.  On the American side such large sales anymore are never encountered.  In the United States auction houses invariably carefully parse the lots and descriptions and calibrate them to the limited attention span of the book collecting public.  This approach tends to provide comfortable results but the spectrum on offer is deceptively narrow.  The Bub Kuyper results, which cover an extensive range, should remind all that one of the crucial aspects of auctions is to broadly re-price material as taste and economic circumstances change. 

 

By providing a broad cross-section,  they afford the opportunity for an honest appraisal and it suggests the field continues to be in flux with a negative bias.  If not for auction houses rendering this essential service the market could be seriously mislead by the prices posted on listing sites.  Auctions adjust while for the most part listings on listing sites don’t and the difference is increasing.

 

We are in the midst of a significant shift that is quite visible in Europe.  The ability and willingness of the American auction market to handle a comparable re-pricing of middle market material will be very important. 

 

For the first time in a while there are no reported auctions this week that reached 100% of their aggregate high estimates.

 

For the week ahead the following sales are scheduled:

 

Monday June 20th                Dorotheum.  Books and Decorative Prints;

 

Tuesday June 21st                Piasa.  Manuscripts – Second Vacation;

Wednesday June 22nd         Bloomsbury.  Vintage Posters;

                                                Bonhams.  Fine Books and Manuscripts;

                                                Bonhams.  20th Century Illustration Art;

Thursday June 23rd             Antiquarian Auctions – ZA.  Rare Books;

                                                Christie’s.  Books and Manuscripts;

                                                Cowan’s Auctions.  American History

Friday June 24th                   Ader. Music and Movie Pictures - 4th part;

                                                Alde.  Autographs and Manuscripts;

                                                Galerie Koller.  Modern Prints;

Saturday June 25th               Heritage.  2011 June Dallas Signature Arms and Militaria Auction;

                                                Neal Auction Company.  Summer Estates Auction with an important collection of Natural History and Historical Prints and Maps – Day 1;

Sunday June 26th                 Bruun Rasmussen.  Books;

                                                Bruun Rasmussen.  Hans Christian Anderson

                                                National Book.  Books and Ephemera – Illustrators, Children, Americana;       

                                                Neal Auction Company.  Summer Estates Auction with an important collection of Natural History and Historical Prints and Maps – Day 2.

 

All in all a busy week ahead.

 

Bruce McKinney

AE                   

  • <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 8:<br>Early Printed, Medical, Scientific & Travel Books</b>
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 8:</b> Caius Julius Hyginus, <i>Poeticon Astronomicon,</i> first illustrated edition, Venice, 1482. $15,000 to $20,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 8:</b> Giovanni Botero, <i>Le Relationi Universali... divise in Sette Parti</i>, Venice, 1618. $3,000 to $5,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 8:</b> <i>L'Escole des Filles</i>, likely third edition of the first work of pornographic fiction in French, 1676. $8,000 to $12,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 8:<br>Early Printed, Medical, Scientific & Travel Books</b>
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 8:</b> Illuminated Book of Hours in Latin on vellum, Flanders, early 16th century. $6,000 to $9,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 8:</b> Johannes Regiomontanus, <i>Calendarium,</i> Venice, 1485. $8,000 to $12,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 8:</b> Pedro de Medina, <i>Libro d[e] gra[n]dezas y cosas memorables de España,</i> Alcalá de Henares, 1566. $3,000 to $5,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 8:<br>Early Printed, Medical, Scientific & Travel Books</b>
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 8:</b><br>Luis de Lucena, <i>Arte de Ajedres,</i> Salamanca, circa 1496-97. $10,000 to $15,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 8:</b> Andrés Serrano, <i>Los Siete Principes de los Ángeles, válidos de Rey del Cielo,</i> Spain, 1707. $800 to $1,200.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 8:</b> Johannes de Sacrobosco, <i>Sphaera mundi,</i> first illustrated edition, Venice, 1478. $15,000 to $20,000.
  • <b>Bonhams: Fine Books and Manuscripts. March 9, 2018</b>
    <b>Bonhams, Mar. 9:</b> BEETHOVEN, LUDWIG VAN. Autograph Manuscript sketch-leaf part of the score of the Scottish Songs, "Sunset" Op. 108 no 2. [Vienna, February 1818]. Inscribed by Alexander Wheelock Thayer. $80,000 to $120,000
    <b>Bonhams, Mar. 9:</b> Violin belonging to Albert Einstein, presented to him by Oscar H. Steger, 1933. $100,000 to $150,000
    <b>Bonhams, Mar. 9:</b> EINSTEIN, ALBERT. Autograph Letter Signed ("Papa") to his son Hans Albert, discussing his involvement with the atomic bomb, September 2, 1945. $100,000 to $150,000
    <b>Bonhams: Fine Books and Manuscripts. March 9, 2018</b>
    <b>Bonhams, Mar. 9:</b> HAMILTON, ALEXANDER. Autograph Letter Signed, to Baron von Steuben, with extensive notes of Von Steuben's aide Benjamin Walker, June 12, 1780. $10,000 to $15,000
    <b>Bonhams, Mar. 9:</b> NEWTON, ISAAC. Autograph Manuscript in Latin, being detailed instructions on making the philosopher's stone. 8 pp. 1790s. $200,000 to 300,000
    <b>Bonhams, Mar. 9:</b> 1869 Inauguration Bible of President Ulysses S. Grant. $80,000 to $120,000
  • <b>Leland Little: Important Spring Auction. March 3, 2018</b>
    <b>Leland Little, Mar. 3:</b> Copper Printing Plate for "Marshall's Household Engraving of Washington." $500 to $1000
    <b>Leland Little, Mar. 3:</b> Important Documentary Painting Showing Baseball Great Ty Cobb in Cuba. $1,000 to $2,000
    <b>Leland Little, Mar. 3:</b> <i>Alcoholics Anonymous Comes of Age</i>, Inscribed by Bill Wilson. $500 to $1,000
    <b>Leland Little: Important Spring Auction. March 3, 2018</b>
    <b>Leland Little, Mar. 3:</b> Joan Miró (Spanish, 1893-1983), <i>Prise à l'hameçon.</i> $3,000 to $6,000
    <b>Leland Little, Mar. 3:</b> Maurice Dufrène (French, 1876-1955), <i>Rayon des Soieries</i>. $400 to $800
    <b>Leland Little, Mar. 3:</b> William Pope.L (American, b. 1955), <i>Intimacy Project</i>. $2,000 to $4,000
  • <b>Dominic Winter, March 9:</b> Collection of 131 Herbert Ponting gelatin silver contact prints of Antartica, £6000-8000
    <b>Dominic Winter, March 9:</b> One of several lots of Henri Cartier-Bresson gelatin silver prints, £200-300
    <b>Dominic Winter, March 9:</b> Vintage gelatin silver print of Diego Rivera by Leonard McCombe, £300-500
    <b>Dominic Winter, March 9:</b> Albumen print portrait by Julia Margaret Cameron of Sir John Herschel (April, 1867), £30,000-50,000
    <b>Dominic Winter, March 9:</b> Albumen print by Julia Margaret Cameron, Love, 1864 (from the Norman album), £1000-1500
    <b>Dominic Winter, March 9:</b> Albumen print by Lewis Carroll of Twyford School Eleven (Summer Term, 1859), £1000-1500
    <b>Dominic Winter, March 9:</b> Albumen print portrait by Lewis Carroll of Xie Kitchin as 'Dane' (Oxford, 1873), £500-800
    <b>Dominic Winter, March 9:</b> Calotype print (c1845) by Hill & Adamson of Lady Elizabeth (Rigby) Eastlake, £3000-4000
    <b>Dominic Winter, March 9:</b> Group of 12 waxed paper negatives of Scottish scenes by Thomas Keith, mid-1850s, £3000-5000
    <b>Dominic Winter, March 9:</b> One of 15 lots of Roger Fenton salt prints of his work in the Crimea, mid-1850s, £400-600
    <b>Dominic Winter, March 9:</b> Quarter plate ambrotype (c.1860s) with ethnographic portrait of a woman seated at a table, £400-600
    <b>Dominic Winter, March 9:</b> Rare whole plate thermoplastic union case of the Landing of Columbus (c.1858),part of the John Hannavy collection, £1500-2000
  • <b>19th Century Shop:</b> Charles Darwin on sexuality and the transmission of hereditary characteristics: Autograph Letter Signed to Lawson Tait. Down, 17 January [1877].
    <b>19th Century Shop:</b> MILTON, JOHN. <i>Paradise Lost. A Poem written in ten books.</i> London: 1667. A very rare example with the contemporary binding untouched and with a 1667 title page.
    <b>19th Century Shop:</b> Hamilton secures the ratification of the Constitution: <i>The Debates and Proceedings of the Convention of the State of New-York, assembled at Poughkeespsie, on the 17th June, 1788.</i>
    <b>19th Century Shop:</b> The social contract “Man is born free, and everywhere he is in chains”: ROUSSEAU, JEAN-JACQUES. <i>Principes du Droit Politique [Du Contract Social]</i>. Amsterdam: Michel Rey, 1762
    <b>19th Century Shop:</b> “The first English textbook on geometrical land-measurement and surveying”: BENESE, RICHARD. <i>This Boke Sheweth the Maner of Measurynge All Maner of Lande…</i>