• <b>Forum Auctions: Fine Books, Manuscripts and Works on Paper. May 30, 2019</b>
    <b>Forum Auctions May 30:</b> Bouchette (Lt.-Col.Joseph, Canadian Surveyor-General of British North America). A Plan of the Province of Upper Canada, manuscript map, [c.1790-1795]. £20,000 to £30,000
    <b>Forum Auctions May 30:</b> Browne (W.H.). Ten Coloured Views taken during the Arctic Expedition of Her Majesty's Ships "Enterprise" and "Investigator", first edition, presentation copy, 1850. £4,000 to £6,000
    <b>Forum Auctions May 30:</b> Lovelace (Ada).- Lacroix (Silvestre Francois). <i>An Elementary Treatise on the Differential and Integral Calculus,</i> first edition in English, Lovelace's copy, Cambridge, 1816. £3,000 to £4,000
    <b>Forum Auctions: Fine Books, Manuscripts and Works on Paper. May 30, 2019</b>
    <b>Forum Auctions May 30:</b> Rackham (Arthur). <i>Grimm's Fairy Tales,</i> one of 750 copies signed by the artist, 1909. One of several signed limited editions by Rackham in the sale. £1,000 to £1,500
    <b>Forum Auctions May 30:</b> Schedel (Hartmann). <i>Liber chronicarum [German] Das Buch der Croniken und Geschichten,</i> Augsburg, Johann Schonsperger, 1500. £10,000 to £15,000
    <b>Forum Auctions May 30:</b> Gandhi, Mohandas.- Eichenberg (Fritz, German-American illustrator). Autograph inscription by Ghandi with celebrated bust-length wood-engraved portrait by Eichenberg, c.1942. £10,000 to £15,000
    <b>Forum Auctions: Fine Books, Manuscripts and Works on Paper. May 30, 2019</b>
    <b>Forum Auctions May 30:</b> Shakespeare (William). <i>A Collection of Poems,</i> 2 vol. in 1, for Bernard Lintott, [1710-11]. £8,000 to £12,000
    <b>Forum Auctions May 30:</b> Churchill (SirWinston Spencer). Midland Conservative Club. Presidential Address Delivered by Winston Spencer Churchill, Esq., June 1st, 1899, first edition, [1899]. £10,000 to £15,000
    <b>Forum Auctions May 30:</b> [Walpole (Horace)]. <i>The Castle of Otranto, a Story,</i> first Dublin edition, Dublin, 1765. £800 to £1,200
    <b>Forum Auctions: Fine Books, Manuscripts and Works on Paper. May 30, 2019</b>
    <b>Forum Auctions May 30:</b> Dickens (Charles). Sketches by "Boz," Illustrative of Every-day Life, and Every-day People, [First Series] - Second Series, together 3 vol., first editions, first issues , 1836-7. £10,000 to £15,000
    <b>Forum Auctions May 30:</b> Wilde (Oscar). [Works], 14 vol., first collected edition, one of 80 sets on Japanese vellum, Methuen & Co., 1908. £8,000 to £12,000
    <b>Forum Auctions May 30:</b> Rowling (J.K.). <i>Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone,</i> first edition, first printing, 1997. £20,000 to £30,000
  • <b>Bonhams, Jun 13:</b> Darwin, Charles. <i>On the Origin of Species.</i> Presentation Copy. Very Fine. $200,000 to $300,000
    <b>Bonhams, Jun 13:</b> Darwin, Charles. Autograph Letter Signed, 3 pp, negotiating the 2nd American edition with Appleton $20,000 to $30,000
    <b>Bonhams, Jun 13:</b> Hemingway, Ernest. Autograph Letter Signed, 8 pp, Paris, 1924, to his father discussing Bullfighting, Stories, and his new baby. $20,000 to $30,000
    <b>Bonhams, Jun 13:</b> Shakespeare, William. <i>Corialanus.</i> London, 1623. 1st printing [Extracted from the First Folio]. $40,000 to $60,000
    <b>Bonhams, Jun 13:</b> Swift, Jonathan. <i>Gulliver's Travels.</i> London, 1726. 1st edition, Teerink's A edition, fine, large copy. $15,000 to $25,000
    <b>Bonhams, Jun 13:</b> Neill, John R. Pen-and-ink drawing from Oz, "He raised his gun, took aim and fired," $6,000 to $8,000
    <center><b>Bonhams<br>Fine Books and Manuscripts<br>June 13 - New York</b>
    <b>Bonhams, Jun 13:</b> Shakespeare, William. <i>Sonnets.</i> 1901. 2 volumes. Printed on vellum and illuminated by Ross Turner, bound by Trautz-Bauzonnet. $8,000 to $12,000
    <b>Bonhams, Jun 13:</b> Thompson, Kay. <i>Eloise at Christmastime.</i> New York: Random House, [1958]. First edition. In custom binding by Asprey. $3,000 to $5,000
    <b>Bonhams, Jun 13:</b> Beardsley, Aubrey. <i>The Birth, Life, and Acts of King Arthur.</i> 1893-94. 2 volumes. Contemporary painted vellum gilt by Chivers. $2,000 to $3,000
    <b>Bonhams, Jun 13:</b> Assisi, St. Francis. <i>The Canticle of Brother Sun.</i> Illuminated on vellum, for the Grolier Society. $7,000 to $9,000
    <b>Bonhams, Jun 13:</b> Taylor, Deems. <i>Walt Disney’s Fantasia.</i> New York: 1940. In custom binding by Asprey. $3,000 to $5,000
    <b>Bonhams, Jun 13:</b> Proust, Marcel. <i>Du coté de chez Swann.</i> 1st edition, 1st issue. Inscribed by Proust. $5,000 to $7,000
    <b>Bonhams, Jun 13:</b> Rackham, Arthur. <i>Peter Pan in Kensington Gardens.</i> 1/500 copies signed by Rackham. $1,500 to $2,500
  • <center><b>Chiswick Auctions</b>
    <b>Chiswick Auctions, May 29:</b> Rumphius (Georgius Everhardus). <i>D’Ambionsche Rariteitkamer,</i> FIRST EDITION, 61 handcoloured engraved plates, 1705. £10,000 to £15,000
    <b>Chiswick Auctions, May 29:</b> Collodi (Carlo) Le avventure di Pinocchio. <i>Storia di un burattino,</i> FIRST EDITION, frontispiece and 61 illustrations by Enrico Mazzanti, 1883. £8,000 to £12,000
    <b>Chiswick Auctions, May 29:</b> De Bry (T, J T & J I). <i>[Great Voyages, part IV] Americae sive Insignis & Admiranda Historia de Reperta primum Occidentali India,</i> FIRST EDITION, 23 engraved plates, 1594. £4,000 to £6,000
    <b>Chiswick Auctions, May 29:</b> Wine & Beer.-Kellermaysterey. <i>Gründtlicher bericht wie man alle wein Teütscher und Welscher landen vor allen zufallen bewaren...,</i> 16 leaves of manuscript notes, 1548. £2,000 to £3,000
    <b>Chiswick Auctions, May 29:</b> Table Globe'- Doppelmayr (J G) & Puschner (J G, engraver). An 8-inch German terrestrial table Globe, diameter c.200 mm, height c.300 mm, 1730. £6,000 to £8,000
    <center><b>Chiswick Auctions</b
    <b>Chiswick Auctions, May 30:</b> An album with 107 original watercolours featuring landscapes and views of various places in England, Scotland and Ireland, late 1840s. £600 to £800
    <b>Chiswick Auctions, May 30:</b> Hemingway (Ernest). Black and white, landscape photograph of man on horseback, signed and inscribed by Hemingway. £1,000 to £1,500
    <b>Chiswick Auctions, May 30:</b> Unrecorded autograph letter by Charles William Stewart to his father the Marquess of Londonerry, describing the ceremony of the presentation to Consul Bonaparte in January 1803. £6,000 to £8,000.
    <b>Chiswick Auctions, May 30:</b> Davis (William Heath). <i>Seventy-five Years in California,</i> Author's Section of the Argonaut Edition, no. 142 [of 250 copies] signed by the editor and publisher on limitation leaf. £1,500 to £2,000
    <b>Chiswick Auctions, May 30:</b> Prussian Royal Family. Six signed photographs of members of Prussian Royal Family, in a contemporary folding triptych, ebonised wood display case. £1,500 to £2,000
  • <b>Christie’s London June 5:</b> <i>Le Neptune François, ou Atlas Nouveau des Cartes Marines. Levées et Gravées par ordre exprès du Roy...</i> Paris: Hubert Jaillot, 1693 [but Amsterdam: Pieter Mortier, 1693-1700].
    <b>Christie’s London June 5:</b> BLAEU, Willem Janszoon. <i>Le Flambeau de la Navigation monstrant la description & delineation de toutes les Costes & Havres…</i> Amsterdam: Jan Jansson, 1620.
    <b>Christie’s London June 5:</b> [WALDSEEMÜLLER, Martin.] <i>Orbis Typus Universalis Iuxta Hydrographorum Traditionem.</i> [Strasbourg: 1513].
    <b>Christie’s London June 5:</b> KEULEN, Johannes van. <i>De Groote Nieuwe Vermeerderde Zee-Atlas ofte Water-Werelt.</i> Amsterdam: Johannes van Keulen, 1688.
    <b>Christie’s London June 5:</b> DONCKER, Hendrick. <i>De Zee-Atlas of Water-Waerelt.</i> Amsterdam: Hendrick Doncker, 1666.
    <b>Christie’s London June 5:</b> GARNIER, Francis and Ernest DOUDART DE LAGRÉE. <i>Voyage d'exploration en Indo-Chine effectué pendant les années 1866, 1867 et 1868 par une Commission Française.</i> Paris: Hachette, 1873 [-1875].

Rare Book Monthly

Articles - September - 2012 Issue

Free or Nearly Free: Great Finds that Cost $0 or Next to $0 & Sell for a Great Deal More

Zero $$

My dad, the great book seller Morton “Jock” Netzorg, a dealer for well over 50 years, had all kinds of rules about how to make money selling books. But Netzorg’s #1 rule was: “What you pay for it has nothing to do with what it’s worth.”

Looking over my list of sales so far this year I was surprised to notice how many of the things that were profitable came in the door for free – found sitting on the curb waiting for the garbage man or were, if not free, nearly free – cost to me $1 or even less.

I sent a query to an on-line list where dealers chat among themselves and asked did this happen to other sellers, and if so how often? My in-box rapidly filled with many examples from those with similar experiences.

Buy low, Sell high

There were too many stories to share them all, but here are just a few examples:

* The Florida dealer who got a first edition of the Alcoholics Anonymous Blue Book for $1 and sold it the next day for $150.

* The North Carolina dealer who paid $2 for a ratty looking antique astronomy book with a big black ink spot on the cover who resold it within 24 hours for over $200.

* The Alabama used book seller who bought a box of vintage golf course score cards for $10. So far he estimated he’s made over $2,000 on what’s been sold and he still has a third of them left.

* The Iowa dealer who got a first edition, second state of the Hobbit for a quarter and resold it for $1200.

* The seller in Europe who picked up a batch of older books in English for a few pounds. In the lot he found some early mystery and detective stories. Just two of the best ones brought over £900.

*The retired dealer from the East Coast who often helped haul away freebies. In the pile he found Portrait of an Artist by James Joyce. It was a ratty copy and a later printing. He estimated its value at about $2. But when he discovered it was signed by Joyce the price went up steeply. He sold it for $4,000.

*A California seller told about a signed biography of a billiard player, “I paid about 35 cents for a paperback. There were none listed for sale online and I had no idea how much the book was worth, so I listed it on eBay with a starting bid of $50.00. I ended up selling it for $1750.”

It happens all the time

Almost everybody who wrote said this has happened to them not just once, but with reassuring regularity. Some added the proviso, “These kinds of finds do not come along often enough to make a living from them,” but the consensus was great deals do happen and often enough to make things interesting.

Even in the days of on-line information galore, you’d think people would look it up before they throw it out. But they either don’t know how or could care less, as a result good stuff can come your way and sometimes it’s free, gratis and for nothing.

But as the seller your part of the deal is to be looking for it.

What you bring to the equation is curiosity, knowledge and an intuitive sense of who else might not only want what you have, but might actually be willing to pay for it.

The things I find that seem to have the best margins are usually non-fiction pre-ISBN books and vintage or antique ephemera. I find them because I’m looking.

Looking means really looking

Looking is not just a glance. Looking means not just the outside but the inside, not just the front but the back. Not just the book itself but what’s laid inside the book, not just the subject but why someone would be interested in the subject. Not just the condition but the content. Not just the text but the pictures, the dust jacket, the credits, the inscription. Not just books but magazines, photos, and every other kind of paper. Just because somebody else has tossed it doesn’t mean it is without value.

Here’s the way one Massachusetts seller put it: “Right now I am going through a few mixed boxes of ephemera from an ABAA member who does primarily books
and all this paper would have slowed him down. So I am going through the paper one piece at a time and I am making a pretty penny. He already got what he needed from these lots.


She went on to say, “I pulled out a few items and sent a box to still ANOTHER dealer who does even more specialized material. It's sort of a trickle down bookselling.”

Rare Book Monthly

  • <b>Swann Auction Galleries June 6:</b><br>John Carte, <i>The Frontispiece of the Cosmographical Clock,</i> hand-colored broadside, London, circa 1699. $2,000 to $3,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries June 6:</b><br>John Fisk Allen & William Sharp, <i>Victoria Regia,</i> Boston, 1854. $15,000 to $20,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries June 6:</b> George Catlin, <i>North American Indian Portfolio,</i> London, 1844. $30,000 to $50,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries June 6:</b> Abraham Ortelius, <i>Islandia,</i> Antwerp, 1598. $5,000 to $7,500.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries June 6:</b> Plancius Petrus, map of Southern Africa, Amsterdam, 1592-94. $3,000 to $5,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries June 6:</b> Pieter Verbiest, <i>Nova Totius Terrarum Orbis Geographica,</i> Antwerp, 1636. $10,000 to $15,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries June 6:</b><br>Emil B. Fischer, <i>Map of Southwestern Colorado,</i> lithograph, 1893. $2,000 to $3,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries June 6:</b><br>A.P. Folie, <i>Plan of the Town of Baltimore,</i> Philadelphia, 1792. $7,000 to $10,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries June 6:</b> Lewis Evans, <i>A General Map of the Middle British Colonies,</i> proof copy, annotated, signed & dated by Evans, Philadelphia, 1755. $30,000 to $50,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries May 23:</b> Lester Beall, <i>Rural Electrification Administration,</i> 1939. $20,000 to $30,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries June 6:</b> Jacob Robyn, after Arent Roggeveen, <i>The First Part of the Burning Fen,</i> with English text, Amsterdam, circa 1680. $20,000 to $30,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries June 6:</b> Large bird’s-eye view of New York City, hand-painted photo, circa 1933. $2,000 to $3,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries June 6:</b> Arundel Society, group of approx. 185 chromolithographed Renaissance paintings, late-19th century. $6,000 to $9,000.
  • <center><b>Ketterer Rare Books<br>Auction on May 27th</b>
    <b>Ketterer Rare Books, May 27:</b><br><i>Breviarium Romanum,</i> before 1478. Est: € 15,000
    <b>Ketterer Rare Books, May 27:</b><br>C. Ptolemaeus, <i>Geographie,</i> 1513.<br>Est: € 140,000
    <b>Ketterer Rare Books, May 27:</b><br>M. Chagall, <i>Daphnis & Chloé,</i> 1961.<br>Est: € 130,000
    <center><b>Ketterer Rare Books<br>Auction on May 27th</b>
    <b>Ketterer Rare Books, May 27:</b><br>F. Colonna, <i>Hypnerotomachia Poliphili,</i> 1499. Est: € 20,000
    <b>Ketterer Rare Books, May 27:</b><br>J. H. van Linschoten, <i>Itinerarium,</i> 1644. Est: € 50,000
    <b>Ketterer Rare Books, May 27:</b><br>M. Chagall, <i>Cirque,</i> 1967.<br>Est: € 120,000
    <center><b>Ketterer Rare Books<br>Auction on May 27th</b>
    <b>Ketterer Rare Books, May 27:</b><br>G. L. L. Buffon, <i>Histoire naturelle des oiseaux,</i> 1765-83. Est: € 30,000
    <b>Ketterer Rare Books, May 27:</b><br>K. Marx, <i>Das Kapital,</i> 1867.<br>Est: € 30,000
    <b>Ketterer Rare Books, May 27:</b><br>P. J. Redouté, <i>Les liliacées,</i> 1802-16.<br>Est: € 120,000
    <center><b>Ketterer Rare Books<br>Auction on May 27th</b>
    <b>Ketterer Rare Books, May 27:</b><br>M. E. Bloch, <i>Naturgeschichte der Fische,</i> 1782-95. Est: € 50,000
    <b>Ketterer Rare Books, May 27:</b><br>H. A. Châtelain, <i>Atlas historique,</i> 1718-20. Est: € 18,000
    <b>Ketterer Rare Books, May 27:</b><br>Bauhausbücher, complete series, 1925-30. Est: € 28,000

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