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

  • <b>Swann Auction Galleries:</b> Abraham Lincoln, <i>Emancipation Proclamation by the President of the United States,</i> pamphlet, 1862. $10,000 to $15,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries:</b> Family papers of the distinguished Ruby-Jackson family, Portland, Maine, 1853-1961. $3,000 to $4,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries:</b> Family papers of the Confederate Vice President Alexander Stephens & the persons who served him, 1866-1907. $25,000 to $35,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries:</b> Autograph book with inscriptions by orators Moses Roper & Peter Williams, 1821-54. $10,000 to $15,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries:</b> Archive of letters, postcards, and greeting cards sent by Romare Bearden, 1949-87. $5,000 to $7,500.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries:</b><br>E. Simms Campbell, <i>A Night-Club Map of Harlem,</i> in inaugural issue of Manhattan, 1933. $10,000 to $15,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries:</b> Papers of the comedian Nipsey Russell, including a letter from MLK, 1929-2000. $6,000 to $9,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries:</b> Early German-American anti-slavery broadside, <i>Sclaven-Handel,</i> Philadelphia, 1794. $12,000 to $18,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries:</b> Edmonia Lewis, prominent sculptor, carte-de-visite by Henry Rocher, c. 1866-71. $3,000 to $4,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries:</b><br><i>The Black Panther: Black Community News Service,</i> 44 issues, San Francisco, 1967-1971. $3,000 to $4,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries:</b> Ernest Withers, <i>I Am A Man, Sanitation Workers Strike,</i> silver print, 1968. $5,000 to $7,500.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries:</b> <i>March For Freedom Now!,</i> poster for the 1960 Republican Convention. $4,000 to $6,000.

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