Rare Book Monthly

Articles - April - 2014 Issue

The Annual Antiquarian Book Fair Returns to New York

3518fc87-2466-4709-ad11-78bbbb85851e

In a few days the gates will swing open and advocates and adherents of the rare book trade will hurry up the steps of the Park Avenue Armory at 67th and Park in New York.  Their pace will quicken as they enter, those with coats and briefcases turning to the right to swap their possessions for a claim check.  Those prepared to enter the great hall will sweep to the left to join the queue of mostly men, well dressed, most on their phones, a few exchanging notes, the majority hoping to buy, a few hoping to sell.  The fair will open shortly.

 

Inside the hall more than 200 book dealers are pregnant with excitement.  Their passages to this hall have been paid by years of work.  Those who have come from overseas have often attended serious colleges, apprenticed for years with top flight dealers, gone off to start their own businesses and in time earned the admiration and respect of members of their national book seller’s association sufficient to earn them an invitation to join.  Once a member they went on to join ILAB and it is that membership that has made them eligible to participate in this New York fair.

 

On the American side the national association for the trade is the Antiquarian Book Seller’s Association.  Here too the path to membership is long and membership in the ABAA never certain until it achieved.  The association is the corral that pretends to control its cats and on most days does this surprisingly well.  These American booksellers are individuals and never entirely move beyond their impulse for food fights.

 

In the year leading to this fair material has been identified, researched, photographed and catalogued.  A typical dealer may bring three hundred items.  Most will be meticulously understood but have gone through a final vetting the day before the doors officially open when other dealers may acquire at the standard trade discount anything their instincts tell them is undervalued and presumably for which they have a client.  Dealers who misprice will see their stock flee to other booths even before the opening bell rings.  Of course if they price high they’ll have all their stock on hand when the show opens and possibly, if they have seriously misjudged the market, still have it at the end.

 

And for most that’s a serious problem.  Go back 30 years ago and most dealers had shops.  Today perhaps 15% do.  Many issued catalogues and few do today.  Most had committed clients they could rely on.  Over the past 20 years, as shops closed, listing sites emerged for the general book trade as their most consistent way to sell – up to a point.   That point is price.  When the material is expensive discussion and negotiation are often essential ingredients in the final agreement and this fair and others are increasingly the place where such discussions begin.  This has made the great trade fairs even more important than they traditionally were because it is here that buyers with five, six and even seven figure budgets identify material, and then sit to discuss the fine points and the price.

 

The shows are that important.

 

As the clock is winding toward 3:00 pm there is restlessness in the crowd.  If past years are any guide a hundred or more are here and ready to stream in, some to browse randomly, others to walk directly to a dealer marked on the show map.

 

Behind the closed doors Donald Heald, who has presided over the New York Show Committee for many years and has his booth near to the entrance, has been walking about confirming that all appears in good order.  With a few minutes to go handshakes are exchanged and best wishes extended.  On the one side more than 10,000 years of dealer experience is waiting.  On the other the first wave of what will be more than a billion dollars of buying power begins to move.  The clock has struck 3:00.  Ticket takers and credential checkers are on the ready.  Then from just beyond the curtain a clear voice can be heard, “the show is open.”

 

Friends and members of AE can reach me in New York if you would like to talk or to meet.  My number is 415.823.6678, my email address bmckinney@americanaexchange.com.  I have some passes I can share.

 

Links to the ABAA Fair


Posted On: 2014-04-27 20:26
User Name: MiRIAMGREEN

very well done and appreciated, will look forward to your rear view overview
in subtle expression you spoke volumes about the dealers at the shows, their long accomplishments and dedicated work, we all know who they are
but remember there are those of us who are the remaining 15% with an open shop that chooses not to go internet, wherein whose membership in the signature book club is prevented more by expense of dues, not by excellence or inventory
just saying...
Susan Alon MiriamGreen.com Antiquarian Bookshop and Gallery, Clinton, CT 06413

Hi to all!


Rare Book Monthly

  • <b>Swann Auction Galleries Apr 15:</b> Frances Palmer, <i>Battle of Buena Vista,</i> chromolithograph, New York, 1847. $4,000 to $6,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Apr 15:</b> Antonio Colmenero de Ledesma, the earliest publication concerned solely with chocolate, first edition, Madrid, 1631. $10,000 to $15,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Apr 15:</b> Romans Bernard, <i>An Exact View of the Late Battle at Charlestown, June 17th, 1775,</i> engraving, 1776. $40,000 to $60,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Apr 15:</b> <i>A Short Narrative of the Horrid Massacre in Boston,</i> English edition, London, 1770. $12,000 to $18,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Apr 15:</b> William Soule, <i>Lodge of the Plains Indians,</i> albumen print, 1872. $1,500 to $2,500.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Apr 15:</b> Manuscript document to enforce New York’s “Agreement of Non-Importation” during the heyday of the Sons of Liberty, New York, 1769. $10,000 to $15,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Apr 15:</b> Clarence Mackenzie, <i>Drummer Boy of the 13th Regiment of Brooklyn,</i> salt print with applied color, 1861. $3,000 to $4,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Apr 15:</b> Moses Lopez, <i>A Lunar Calendar,</i> first Jewish calendar published in America, Newport, RI, 1806. $3,000 to $4,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Apr 15:</b><br>The Book of Mormon, first edition, Palmyra, 1830. $30,000 to $40,000.
  • <b><center>Neal Auction Company<br>Spring Estates 2021<br>April 16-18</b>
    <b>Neal Auction Co., Apr. 16:</b> Lyscosthenes, Conrad. <i>Prodigiorum ac ostentorum chronicon,</i> Basilea: Henricus Petrus, c. 1557, first edition, folio. $5,000 to $7,000.
    <b>Neal Auction Co., Apr. 16:</b> Collection of Ethiopic Religious Texts, in Ge'ez , illuminated manuscripts on vellum, c. 1700-20th c. (5 pcs.) $5,000 to $7,000.
    <b>Neal Auction Co., Apr. 16:</b> Augustinus, Aurelius Sanctus.<br><i>De Civitate Dei,</i> Venice: Bonetus Locatellus per Octavianus Scotus, 9 Febbraio, 1486, 4to. $5,000 to $7,000.
    <b><center>Neal Auction Company<br>Spring Estates 2021<br>April 16-18</b>
    <b>Neal Auction Co., Apr. 16:</b> Choiseul-Gouffier, Marie Gabriel Comte de. <i>Voyage Pittoresque de la Grece,</i> Paris, J.J. Blaise, 1782-1809-1822, first edition. $4,000 to $6,000.
    <b>Neal Auction Co., Apr. 16:</b> Rufinus, Tyrannius (c. 345-411). <i>Expositio in symbolum apostolorum,</i> [Cologne, Ulrich Zel, c. 1472], first edition. $3,000 to $5,000.
    <b>Neal Auction Co., Apr. 16:</b> Magnus, Albertus. <i>Summa de eucharistiae sacramento,</i> Ulm: Johann Zainer, 1474. $3,000 to $5,000.
    <b><center>Neal Auction Company<br>Spring Estates 2021<br>April 16-18</b>
    <b>Neal Auction Co., Apr. 16:</b> Strabo. <i>Rerum geographicarum libri septemdecim. A Guilielmo Xylandro Augstano magna cura recogniti…,</i> Basel, Henricpetri, (August 1571). $3,000 to $5,000.
    <b>Neal Auction Co., Apr. 16:</b> Riou, Stephen (1720-1780). <i>The Grecian Orders of Architecture. Delineated and Explained from the Antiquities of Athens,</i> London, 1768. $3,000 to $5,000.
    <b>Neal Auction Co., Apr. 16:</b> Mair, Paul Hektor. <i>Geschlechter Buch...der...Statt Augspurg,</i> Frankfurt am Maim, Sigmund Feyerabend, 1580. $1,800 to $2,500.
    <b><center>Neal Auction Company<br>Spring Estates 2021<br>April 16-18</b>
    <b>Neal Auction Co., Apr. 16:</b> Polybius (c. 200-118 B.C.). <i>Historiarum libri priores quinque,</i> Basel: Johann Herwagen, 1549. $1,200 to $1,800.
    <b>Neal Auction Co., Apr. 16:</b> Bellori, Giovanni Pietro. <i>Columna Antoniniana Marci Aurelii Antonini Augusti rebus gestis insignis Germanis simul...,</i> Rome, [1672]. $1,000 to $1,500.
    <b>Neal Auction Co., Apr. 16:</b> <i>Ecclesiasticae Historiae, Eusebii Pamphili...Eiusdem de vita Constantini...Socratis...,</i> Paris, Robert Estienne, 1544. $800 to $1,200.
  • <center><b>Gonnelli Auction House<br>Books and Graphics<br>19th, 20th and 21st April 2021</b>
    <b><center>Gonnelli: Apr. 19-21<br>Books from XVI to XX Century</b>
    <b><center>Gonnelli: Apr. 20<br>Atlases and Maps</b
    <b><center>Gonnelli: Apr. 21<br> Veneto and Venice, a Selection of Books from the XVI to XX century</b>
    <b><center>Gonnelli: Apr. 20<br></b>Rossini Gioachino, Baguette de chef d'orchestre appartenuta a Gioachino Rossini, dono del Comune di Passy. 1500 €
    <b><center>Gonnelli: Apr. 21<br></b>Manetti Saverio, Storia naturale degli uccelli trattata con metodo. Cinque volumi. 1767. 18.000 €
    <b><center>Gonnelli: Apr. 21<br></b>Poe Edgar Allan, Double assassinat dans la rue morgue. Illustrations de Cura. 1946.
    <b><center>Gonnelli: Apr. 19-21<br>Books from XVI to XX Century</b>
  • <center><b>Sotheby’s<br>The Passion of American Collectors: Property of Barbara and Ira Lipman<br>Highly Important Printed and Manuscript Americana<br>April 13, 2021</b>
    <b>Sotheby’s, Apr. 13:</b> The first book-form printing of the Declaration of Independence. $250,000 to $350,000.
    <b>Sotheby’s, Apr. 13:</b> (Paine, Thomas) <i>The American Crisis. Number I.</i> "These are the times that try men's souls." $70,000 to $100,000.
    <b>Sotheby’s, Apr. 13:</b> First printing of the Treaty of Paris, with distinguished contemporary provenance. $60,000 to $80,000.
    <center><b>Sotheby’s<br>The Passion of American Collectors: Property of Barbara and Ira Lipman<br>Highly Important Printed and Manuscript Americana<br>April 13, 2021</b>
    <b>Sotheby’s, Apr. 13:</b> Washington, George. Letter signed as first President-Elect. Washington prepares to embark "again on the ocean of publick affairs." $100,000 to $150,000.
    <b>Sotheby’s, Apr. 13:</b> (Hamilton, Alexander). Manuscript document. The launch of one of the most consequential careers in American public life. $180,000 to $250,000.
    <b>Sotheby’s, Apr. 13:</b> (Lexington & Concord). <i>A Bloody Butchery, by the British Troops…</i> $70,000 to $100,000.
    <b>Sotheby’s, Apr. 13:</b> (Yorktown Campaign—Jean-Nicolas Desandrouins). A Yorktown Campaign map from the personal archive of the Comte de Rochambeau. $200,000 to $300,000.

Article Search

Archived Articles

Ask Questions