Rare Book Monthly

Articles - February - 2011 Issue

Library and Institution Acquisitions - Some tips for booksellers

We spoke to Michael Maher, Head Historian of the Nevada Historical Society and asked him where he gets his books.   “I keep up with new book literature.  We have special collections and we collect Nevada and Great Basin-related material.  We go to bookstores, read Nevada and Reno newspapers, academic publishers send information and catalogs, we get donations, word of mouth from people who come here to do research, and if we are approached by a bookseller it depends on the cost and rarity.  If it is a book we really want and we can’t afford it, we see if there are individual donors that will purchase it for us.”

 

He also said that when local authors use photos from the Society’s enormous historical photo collections, they ask the authors to donate a copy of the book when it is published.  He said they usually do, but sometimes not.

Next we spoke with, Brenda Baxter, Knowledge Services Coordinator for the Washoe County Library in Reno. She oversees the selection and ordering of all WCLS materials including circulating materials, reference, databases, ebooks, periodicals, and the like.  I asked her several questions regarding their acquisitions.

Where do you get your new books?  “We order the vast majority of our books from Baker and Taylor.  Very rarely, we go directly to a vendor when we cannot get a title from B & T.”

 

Where do you get collectible or antiquarian books?  “As a public library, we offer very few books of this nature and the few we have are donated.”

How and when do you make the decision to send the books to the Friends of the Library sales?  “Books must fit into a set of criteria for us to add to our collection.  This criteria is consistent with our collection development policy.”

I noted that the books they accept required the same physical characteristics that I require when I buy books, and I think most book buyers look for the same thing;  no writing, highlighting, inscriptions, or markings on materials, no yellow pages or water-damaged materials, no rips, tears, no stinkyness or smoke smell.  She said they also do not take advance copies of books, cassette tapes, or magazines.  In the case of non-fiction, they want books no older than three years, especially when concerned with computers, legal, or medical subjects.  With fiction and audio books, they want books no older than five years (except for the classics) and they must have no more than four other titles in the system - and then only if the books are in high demand.  All donations that do not fit into these criteria are sent to the Friends Store and Sales.  

 

We next spoke to Katherine Gienger, Operations Manager for the Monographic and Serial Paper unit of Collections and Acquisitions services for the University of New Mexico library.  Katherine has been in the department for thirty-one years and was kind enough to chat with me about their acquisition policies.

 

How do you decide what books to buy?  She said that the heads of the collections department “ambassadors” (as they are called) consult with faculty in each department such as history, economics, sciences, or others.  The faculty reviews the offerings and then decides what they want to purchase.  

 

Do you ever buy from independent booksellers or from online sellers such as Amazon, ABE or Alibris?  She noted that if a bookseller has a book that they feel the University might want, they can contact the acquisitions folks and, if the price is right and they want the book, then they will buy it.

 

She said that they do buy from all three online sellers, depending on price and subject matter.  They have many vendors that they usually use, but if they are in a rush for a book and their usual contacts don’t have it, they will check Amazon, ABE, et al.  And of course, they want to get the best prices possible.

Rare Book Monthly

  • <b>Swann Auction Galleries:</b> Ian Fleming, <i>Goldfinger,</i> first edition, inscribed to Sir Henry Cotton, MBE, London, 1959. Sold for $25,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries:</b> Joseph Brant, Mohawk Chief, ALS, writing after pledging support to King George III against American rebels, 1776. Sold for a record $35,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries:</b> Sonia Delaunay, <i>Ses Peintures</i> . . ., 20 pochoir plates, Paris, 1925. Sold for a record $13,750.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries:</b> Diana, Princess of Wales, 6 autograph letters signed to British <i>Vogue</i> editor, 1989-92. Sold for $10,400.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries:</b> Alexander Hamilton, ALS, as Secretary of the Treasury covering costs of the new U.S. Mint, 1793. Sold for $12,500.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries:</b> Benjamin Graham & David L. Dodd, <i>Security Analysis,</i> first edition, inscribed by Graham to a Wall Street trader, NY, 1934. Sold for $20,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries:</b> George Barbier & François-Louis Schmied, <i>Personnages de Comédie,</i> Paris, 1922. Sold for $9,375.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries:</b> Alphonse Mucha, <i>Ilsée, Princesse de Tripoli,</i> Paris, 1897. Sold for a record $13,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries:</b> Ralph Waldo Emerson, <i>The Dial,</i> first edition of the reconstituted issue, Emerson’s copy with inscriptions, Cincinnati, 1860. Sold for a record $3,250.
  • <b>Mayfair Book Auctions, July 17:</b><br>Lot 14. [CRIMEAN WAR] HAMLEY. <i>The Story of the Campaign of Sebastopol.</i> 1855. £150 to £200
    <b>Mayfair Book Auctions, July 17:</b><br>Lot 17. JONGH & D'ALMEIDA. <i>L’armee Russe...</i> c.1898. Colour plates and many illustrations. £500 to £600
    <b>Mayfair Book Auctions, July 17:</b><br>Lot 18. [RUSSIA] LE PRINCE. <i>Oeuvres. 1782.</i> Rare folio format with 80 etchings and 74 aquatints. £4000 to £6000
    <b>Mayfair Book Auctions, July 17:</b><br>Lot 21. [RUSSIA] MORNAY. Set of 8 hand-coloured aquatints of carriages, sleighs and occupants. c.1825. £1200 to £1800
    <b>Mayfair Book Auctions, July 17:</b><br>Lot 33. BOWDICH. <i>Excursions in Madeira and Porto Santo.</i> 1825. A fine copy. £800 to £1200
    <b>Mayfair Book Auctions, July 17:</b><br>Lot 37. QUIN. <i>An Historical Atlas.</i> 1836. 2nd edn, 21 hand-coloured maps revealing civilisation. £800 to £1200
    <b>Mayfair Book Auctions, July 17:</b><br>Lot 39. LE BRUN. <i>Voyages [...] par la Moscovie, en Perse...</i> 1718. 300+ engravings, panorama. £4500 to £5500
    <b>Mayfair Book Auctions, July 17:</b><br>Lot 48. BRIERLY. <i>The English and French fleets in the Baltic.</i> 1855. Colour lithographs. £7000 to £9000
    <b>Mayfair Book Auctions, July 17:</b><br>Lot 60. DELLA VALLE. <i>Reise Beschreibung... in Turckey, Egypten, Palestina[...].</i> 1674. £1500 to £2000
    <b>Mayfair Book Auctions, July 17:</b><br>Lot 77. MURRAY, Mrs. Watercolour Album of Heaths. c.1860. 55 original watercolours. £750 to £1000
    <b>Mayfair Book Auctions, July 17:</b><br>Lot 91. ADDISON. <i>Works...</i> 1721. 4 vols, large paper copy, English red morocco. £2500 to £3500
    <b>Mayfair Book Auctions, July 17:</b><br>Lot 96. HOLBEIN. Imitations of original drawings. 1792-1800. Exceptional copy. £4000 to £6000
  • <b>Bonhams, Jun 13 results:</b> Darwin, Charles. <i>On the Origin of Species.</i> Presentation Copy. Sold for $500,075.
    <b>Bonhams, Jun 13 results:</b> Darwin, Charles. Autograph Letter Signed, 3 pp, negotiating the 2nd American edition with Appleton. Sold for $21,325.
    <b>Bonhams, Jun 13 results:</b> Hemingway, Ernest. Autograph Letter Signed, 8 pp, Paris, 1924, to his father discussing Bullfighting, Stories, and his new baby. Sold for $25,075.
    <b>Bonhams, Jun 13 results:</b> Shakespeare, William. <i>Corialanus.</i> London, 1623. 1st printing [Extracted from the First Folio]. Sold for $50,075.
    <b>Bonhams, Jun 13 results:</b> Swift, Jonathan. <i>Gulliver's Travels.</i> London, 1726. 1st edition, Teerink's A edition, fine, large copy. Sold for $21,325.
    <b>Bonhams, Jun 13 results:</b> Fitzroy, Robert. Autograph Letter Signed to agent Thomas Stilwell, informing him of the progress of H.M.S. Beagle. Sold for $17,575.
    <center><b>Bonhams<br> Property from the Collection of Nicole and William R. Keck II</b>
    <b>Bonhams, Jun 13 results:</b> Shakespeare, William. <i>Sonnets.</i> 1901. 2 volumes. Printed on vellum and illuminated by Ross Turner, bound by Trautz-Bauzonnet. Sold for $13,825.
    <b>Bonhams, Jun 13 results:</b> Beardsley, Aubrey. <i>The Birth, Life, and Acts of King Arthur.</i> 1893-94. 2 volumes. Contemporary painted vellum gilt by Chivers. Sold for $5,325.
    <b>Bonhams, Jun 13 results:</b> Assisi, St. Francis. <i>The Canticle of Brother Sun.</i> Illuminated on vellum, for the Grolier Society. Sold for $7,575.
    <b>Bonhams, Jun 13 results:</b> Rackham, Arthur. <i>Peter Pan in Kensington Gardens.</i> 1/500 copies signed by Rackham. Sold for $4,825.
    <b>Bonhams, Jun 13 results:</b> Proust, Marcel. <i>Du coté de chez Swann.</i> 1st edition, 1st issue. Inscribed by Proust. Sold for $8,825.

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