Rare Book Monthly

Articles - March - 2012 Issue

Reading the Entrails

Appraisals2

On Sunday the line for expert appraisals was long

The San Francisco Book and Paper Fair held center stage in northern California over the first weekend in February.  The fair, an every other year opportunity when the ABAA Fair goes to Southern California, leaves the city and convention center available for a mixed group of ABAA and non-ABAA members to exhibit to a collecting audience that wants a major book and ephemera fair every year.

This year, for the first time the fair was organized by Nancy Johnson, her firm, Nancy Johnson Events Management, the inheritor of years of events long held by Walter Larsen and Associates.   Mr. Larsen is now retired.

By many accounts the fair was very worthwhile.  One eastern collector-dealer reported spending more than $35,000.  Other random reports suggest both collectors and dealers did well.  As one buyer explained it “this year’s fair had a ‘scavenger’s’ feel.  The material was deep and attractively obscure.”  Collectors like to be surprised.

Show promoters tend to round up on traffic estimates but no rounding was required for this fair.  The next-door parking lot told the story and it was full both days.

The only glitch reported was a snafu in the printing of the show catalogue that included a map of exhibitors that did not entirely comport with reality.  This ensured that those relying on it to move from one chosen booth to the next needed to search every space down to the farthest corners.  Fortunately most people were content to search everywhere and those that did were doubly rewarded in finding both the dealers they sought and others with appealing material they might otherwise have overlooked.

On Sunday volunteers offered opinions on material brought in by visitors to be appraised a la the Antiques Road Show.  The line was long and the expectations high.  No Gutenbergs were identified but one of the appraisers described the material as very good.   
 

San Francisco deserves a great book fair every year.

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.

Article Search

Archived Articles

Ask Questions