Rare Book Monthly

Articles - November - 2003 Issue

American Historical Novels:<br>Scribner&#146;s Catalogue 115 Revisited


Cooper's The Water-Witch was the most expensive item at $285.

Here are a few other notes and caveats. Books on the net tend to be there for a while. Sellers may become impatient and be willing to negotiate the price to end their misery. It is perfectly okay to ask. When there are 50 copies available the buyer is holding the high cards. Even when only a single copy is available there is no saying the seller won’t negotiate. No listing site shows the original date offered so you have to probe a bit to understand a seller's willingness to negotiate. If you could see that a book had been online for two years and had been reduced three times you would know the seller is ready to part with their copy. Right now, the selling fields are opaque.

Give the seller an opportunity to tell you more about their copy. "Is there anything else I should know?" is a very important question. Sellers put up thousands of books and then sell them slowly. They may not look carefully at a particular copy until your call or email arrives.

Final note: When contacting a seller ask if they have any other material that relates to the book you're interested in. Every once in a while they'll have something you never thought about that relates to the item you are buying. "Oh, you're interested in letters too? There were a dozen tucked into the book and I was going to sell them separately." Such material simply makes book collecting a Zen-like experience.

For those who are AE Database members the entire catalogue is online. You find it, after signing in by going to the AED, selecting priced records, then advanced search. In the Database Source field type in SCRIBNER and in the Source Record Number field 115-001:115-228. As a Research member you can access each complete record. As an Octavo, Quarto, or Folio member you can select each record for uploading both to the internet and to match this list against all future auctions. You can have a good start on rebuilding this catalogue in a week. In a year you'll be well on your way.

Rare Book Monthly

  • <center><b>Swann Auction Galleries<br>View Our Record Breaking Results</b>
    <b>Swann:</b> Scott Joplin, <i>Treemonisha: Opera in Three Acts,</i> New York, 1911. Sold March 24 — $40,000.
    <b>Swann:</b> Louisa May Alcott, autograph letter signed, 1868. Sold June 2 — $23,750.
    <b>Swann:</b> Anne Bradstreet, <i>Several Poems Compiled with Great Variety of Wit and Learning, full of Delight,</i> Boston, 1758. Sold June 2 — $21,250.
    <b>Swann:</b> William Shakespeare, <i>Comedies, Histories, and Tragedies. Published according to the true Originall Copies. The Second Impression,</i> London, 1632. Sold May 5 — $161,000.
    <center><b>Swann Auction Galleries<br>View Our Record Breaking Results</b>
    <b>Swann:</b> John Bachmann, <i>Panorama of the Seat of War,</i> New York, 1861-62. Sold June 23 — $35,000.
    <b>Swann:</b> Charlotte Bronte, <i>Jane Eyre,</i> first edition, London, 1847. Sold June 16 — $23,750.
    <b>Swann:</b> Elihu Vedder, <i>Simple Simon, His Book,</i> 1913. Sold June 9 — $12,350.
    <b>Swann:</b> Frederick Catherwood, <i>Views of Ancient Monuments in Central America, Chiapas and Yucatan,</i> London, 1844. Sold April 7 — $37,500.

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