Rare Book Monthly

Articles - March - 2012 Issue

Never Been a Better Time


Pamphlets, money, photographs and maps - 8 random ephemera in 2,700 pieces in my collection

What it turns into I have no idea but I am grateful for having pieced together the collecting opportunity via dealer recommendations and their catalogues, at auction, on listing sites and on eBay.  If I live long enough this collection will soar beyond 5,000 items.  It’s a remarkable inexpensive opportunity and only in its infancy.

My experience suggests that the world of collectibles has undergone a shifting of structure, the old world of collecting within a category becoming more and more a collector/subject centric electronic approach that simultaneously embraces many, and always more, categories of material.  As a kid I never dreamed this was possible and now, in my sixties, I experience it every day.

At the recent book fairs in San Francisco and Pasadena I saw first hand evidence that the new collecting is alive and prospering.  Cheek by jowl you could find ephemera for the new collector and sophisticated rare books for the connoisseur.  What’s clear is that price need not be a barrier to building an interesting collection.

For this article in addition to the two illustrations of traditional and new collecting we have also prepared a more detailed breakdown by market component.  Its percentages are simply guesses and the basic price levels, for collectible material, my assumptions but I find it interesting.  I intend, when time permits, to construct a model of ten years ago and another of ten years out.  I think we may able to see the future.

Were I ten again and sitting with Bill Heidgerd, the historian and book dealer who opened my eyes to the possibilities of collecting, I have no doubt he would tell me to prepare for a revolution in collecting for it is surely coming.   

Rare Book Monthly

  • <center><b>Swann Auction Galleries<br>A Record Breaking Season</b>
    <b>Swann:</b> <i>The Book of Mormon,</b> first edition, Palmyra, NY, 1830. Sold Sept. 30 — $112,500.
    <b>Swann:</b> Vincent Van Gogh, <i>Homme à la Pipe: Portrait du Docteur Gachet, Evening,</i> etching, 1890. Sold Nov. 2 — $161,000.
    <b>Swann:</b> Edward Ruscha, <i>Stains,</i> title page, one of 70, signed, 1969. Sold Nov. 9 — $112,500.
    <b>Swann:</b> John James Audubon, <i>Carolina Parrot, Plate 26,</i> hand colored aquatint, 1828. Sold Dec.9 — $137,000.
    <b>Swann:</b> Edmund Dulac, <i>The Snow Queen,</i> watercolor, gouache, pen & ink, 1910. Sold Dec. 16 — $125,000.
  • <b>Il Ponte Casa d’Aste, Jan. 25:</b> DANTE ALIGHIERI (1265-1321). <i>Commedia.</i> Venezia: Vindelino da Spira, 1477. Estimate: € 40.000 - 60.000.
    <b>Il Ponte Casa d’Aste, Jan. 25:</b> DALI, Salvador (1908-1989) - William SHAKESPEARE (1564-1616). <i>Romeo e Giulietta.</i> Milan: Rizzoli, 1975. Estimate: € 25.000 - 35.000.
    <b>Il Ponte Casa d’Aste, Jan. 25:</b> MALVASIA, Cornelio; MONTANARI, Geminiano. <i>Ephemerides novissimae motuum coelestium.</i> Modena: Cassiani, 1662. Estimate: € 8.000 - 12.000.
    <b>Il Ponte Casa d’Aste, Jan. 25:</b> JANSSONIUS, Johannes. <i>Atlantis majoris quinta pars, Orbem maritimum [Novus Atlas, volume V: carte marittime].</i> Amsterdam: Janssonius, 1650. Estimate: € 12.000 - 18.000.

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