Auction Update Review


August Arrives in a Year of Uncertainty

For the week ending Saturday July 30th we have archived 13 sales.  Four of them are past sales that we did not integrate into our results until last night.  For the nine recent sales all were denominated in dollars.  European houses are off for holiday.  Three thousand one hundred and fifty-two lots were offered and 2,396 sold for a 76% sell-through rate.  Turnover was relatively light and the results somewhat soft.  Reported turn over for the recent nine recent sales was $1,175,676.  Most of these sales took place in the past ten days and were selling under the penumbra of the American budget dispute and prospect of debt default.  No doubt outcomes were reduced, none more so than at JMW Auctions in Kingston that sold, in addition to 500 posters, 100 lots of books that included some very appealing material.  The auction house did its job but buyers hesitated and some important material sold for a fraction of its value.  Summer country auctions can be very exciting but when the national mood is somber prices can go low.


While outcomes overall were below par Cowan’s of Cincinnati conducted an online auction on July 23rd on the Western Expansion and did very well:  achieving 192% of the aggregate high estimate.  As 100% of the material offered sold it's fair to assume that reserves were low or non-existent.   Cowan’s provides high quality descriptions and has attracted a wide following.


Four other sales were archived.  One dated back six months and the other three to April.  In a few cases we inadvertently omitted the long since posted results.  In two other cases the results were disappointing to the house and results, until recently, withheld.  Every auction houses has some tough sales.  If you do this long enough everyone has a bad day.  We appreciate that all auction houses we cover have agreed to provide their results, be they good or difficult.  It makes for an honest if not always comfortable market.


Occasional problems aside the path forward for auction houses generally looks clear.  As one auction house representative mentioned this past week “we are seeing more consignors expressing their need to raise money.”  This translates into more consignments and sales.


For the coming week four sales are scheduled:


Monday August 1st:               Cowan’s Auctions.  American History;

Wednesday August 3rd.        Swann Galleries.  Vintage Posters;

Thursday August 4th.            Antiquarian Auctions.  Rare Book Auction;

Saturday August 6th.             Morton Case de Subastas.  Books, Records and Prints


While the number of sales is at its lowest level in August the material can be very good.  It is worth following.


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>