Rare Book Monthly

Articles - April - 2013 Issue

To Co-Op or Not to Co-Op


Booktown. Photo by Rinn Wright.

The combination of fourteen different dealers with fourteen different ideas of how a co-op should function makes for some interesting meetings and discussions. It works thusly; every book is coded and priced by each bookseller. One might find six copies of a book in six different booths at six different prices, or only one book in the entire place dealing with some weird, eclectic subject. Most dealers have a specialty that they feature and then carry other genres as well. For instance, we have one fellow who only has military books. One dealer loves antiquarian and “seldom found” books. One dealer carries an incredible selection of graphic novels, comic books, and related art books. Another dealer only carries unique or scarce LP records and CDS. My category specialties are Remarkable Women in History, Metaphysical (or I call them Woo Woo) books, Western Americana and Native American books, but I also have lots of others. There is one communal display case and one glass case downstairs in the main room with lots of shelves where dealers rotate their displays monthly. There are also several spinner racks and a table in front where special books are offered on rotation.

There is a rare book room downstairs, a recent innovation, and another in the hall upstairs in back of my booth. These areas hold cabinets with the crème de la crème securely locked up. The general overall stock is of a mid- to low- price range with lots of great sales going on in different booths. It is kind of a pain to keep track of who has what sale at any particular moment, but we work it out. Collectors often come in looking for something special and if one of us doesn’t have it, someone else probably does. One never knows what one might find if one looks hard enough. Name a category; there is probably at least one book to fill it!

Many people bring in books to sell. Whichever dealers are on the desk on any given day, have first choice of books that come in the door. There are usually at least one or two dealers beside the ones on duty who catch up any stray books that the first dealers turn down.

Maybe the big benefit to the co-op system is that we don’t have the expense of hiring help because we take turns working, two at a time, in the store. There is no money going out the door for benefits and wages. Each dealer works a required number of hours a month computed on how much space that particular dealer has, and rents are also calculated on occupied space. Booths are all different sizes and if one dealer wants more than one booth, then he or she will pay the rent on that additional space. Who gets what newly opened space is determined by who is next on the list. If a booth is empty, it is not so good, as the rest of the dealers have to split the rent on that space to pay the landlord until the space is filled, but that doesn’t happen too often.

Rare Book Monthly

  • <b>Bonhams, Mar. 6:</b> Helvelius. Two Autograph Letters Signed to Francis Aston, Royal Society Secretary, noting his feud with Robert Hooke, 5 pp total, 1685. $70,000 to $100,000.
    <b>Bonhams, Mar. 6:</b> Newton, Isaac. Autograph manuscript on God, 4 pp, c.1710, "In the beginning was the Word...."?$100,000 to $150,000.
    <b>Bonhams, Mar. 6:</b> Beethoven's Ninth Symphony. First edition, first issue. Untrimmed copy in contemporary boards. $30,000 to $50,000.
    <b>Bonhams, Mar. 6:</b> Lincoln, Abraham. Signed photograph, beardless portrait with Civil War provenance. $80,000 to $120,000.
    <b>Bonhams, Mar. 6:</b> IMPEACHMENT. Original engrossed copy of the first Andrew Johnson impeachment resolution vote. $120,000 to $180,000.
    <b>Bonhams, Mar. 6:</b> Mucha, Alphonse. 11 original pencil drawings for?<i>Andelicek z Baroku,</i> "Litte Baroque Angel," Prague, 1929. $10,000 to $15,000.
    <b>Bonhams, Mar. 6:</b> Einstein, Albert. Annotated Galley Proofs for <i>The Meaning of Relativity.</i> 1921. $25,000 to $35,000.
    <b>Bonhams, Mar. 6:</b> Silverstein, Shel. Original maquette for <i>The Giving Tree,</i> 34 original drawings. $10,000 to $15,000.
    <b>Bonhams, Mar. 6:</b> Roth, Philip. Typed Manuscript with substantial autograph corrections for an unpublished sequel to <i>The Breast.</i> $10,000 to $15,000.
    <b>Bonhams, Mar. 6:</b> Taupin, Bernie. Autograph Manuscript, the original draft of lyrics for Elton John's "Candle in the Wind," 2 pp, 1973. $100,000 to $150,000.
    <b>Bonhams, Mar. 6:</b> HARVEY, WILLIAM. <i>De Motu Cordis et Sanguinis in Animalibus Anatomica Exercitatio.</i> Padua: 1643. $12,000 to $18,000.
    <b>Bonhams, Mar. 6:</b> CESALPINO, ANDREA. <i>Peripateticarum Quaestionum Libri Quinque.</i> Venice: 1571. $30,000 to $40,000.
  • <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 10:</b> Francis Scott Key, <i>Star Spangled Banner,</i> first printing, c. 1814-16. $8,000 to $12,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 10:</b> William Sydney Porter, a.k.a. “O. Henry,” archive of drawings made to illustrate a lost mining memoir, c. 1883-84. $30,000 to $40,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 10:</b> [Bay Psalm Book], printed for Hezekiah Usher of Boston, Cambridge, c. 1648-65. $50,000 to $75,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 10:</b> Book of Mormon, first edition, Palmyra, 1830. $40,000 to $60,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 10:</b> <i>Noticia estraordinario,</i> probable first announcement in Mexico City of the fall of the Alamo, 1836. $40,000 to $60,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 10:</b> Patrick Gass, first edition of earliest first-hand account of the Lewis and Clarke expedition, Pittsburgh, 1807. $6,000 to $9,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 10:</b> Diploma from the Princeton Class of 1783, commencement attended by Washington & Continental Congress. $10,000 to $15,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 10:</b> <i>Sprague Light Cavalry!</i> color-printed broadside, NY, 1863. $5,000 to $7,500.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 10:</b> <i>The Lincoln & Johnson Union Campaign Songster,</i> Philadelphia, 1864. $3,000 to $4,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 10:</b> Lucy Parsons, labor organizer, albumen cabinet card, New York, 1886. $800 to $1,200.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 10:</b> Daniel L.F. Swift, journal as third mate on a Pacific Whaling voyage, 1848-1850. $3,000 to $4,0000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 10:</b> Two photos of Thomas Moran, Grand Canyon, silver prints, 1901. $1,500 to $2,500.

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