“Williams found his niche with a little help from Edward Maggs,” Daze continues, “the man who inherited the family firm. 'There might have been something brewing in Ed’s mind that we needed to cover this demographic,’ says Williams.”
“It really began when I started cataloguing all this proto-counter-culture American Beat stuff from the 50s and it did really well – I sold about 80 per cent of it. I designed a catalogue based on Ginsberg’s Howl, the same size and typeface. It did well, people liked it and I realised I had the right skills for the subject.”
Asked by AE Monthly how he arrives at valuation for the items he sells, Williams acknowledged it was not an easy call because, “It’s rare to sell the same thing twice.”
“At Maggs,” he said the bottom prices start at “about 35 pounds.” They go up from there to “as much as a million Euros.” And though the field may be of enormous popular interest at the moment, he can count his “serious customers” on the fingers of two hands. For him, that’s an improvement, “I only had one before.”
As for future trends, Williams said predictions are not his specialty, but it wouldn’t surprise him if one day he started offering “hard drives and email transcripts.” That day has not yet arrived, but quoting Hegel, “the owl of Minerva flies at dusk.”
That means we only know in hindsight what’s hot (and stayed hot), seldom in advance.