The American Experience: 1630-1890: A Collection

- by Bruce E. McKinney


Understanding this disconnect, between what has been written and what happened, was my ambition in piecing together the true story from the disparate facts. In this collection a general contemporary consensus emerges. This is why I built this collection: to identify the differences between reality and historical interpretation. Another person pursing a similar goal could collect other material and reach different conclusions. Did I collect to learn or confirm? The truth probably lies somewhere in between.

For collectors to pursue important material the impulse will always be strong but the motivations differ widely.

All this said, collections have a time and place. They both reflect the collector, their sources and ambitions and the world they inhabit. The individual books themselves each have a history, their provenance part of the story that connects present and past collectors in an ongoing parade. Such continuity, it turns out, is important for books are an intellectual currency whose dividends are often paid in connection.

Beyond the material there are also its circumstances. The collection, 314 items that cost $3.3 million more than a decade ago, are described in a particularly transparent way. Acquisition source, date and price are, when confirmed, provided. The sale is unreserved and extended payment terms provided. Total purchases of $2,500 may be settled in 90 days, purchases of $5,000 and more paid over six months.

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If you would like to view the fourth video relating to this sale and the first in which I'm interviewed about it, click here. Bonham's, with its series of videos relating to this sale, has provided a perspective that will be useful to consignors and bidders looking to understand what consigning and selling entails.