Rare Book Monthly

Articles - May - 2004 Issue

For the First Time Ever: Search Worldwide<br>Auction Listings From One Place : FREE!


Search results for Mark Twain

Here are a few suggestions on using this search. Enter topics rather than individual titles in the search box unless you really only want that particular title. It makes sense to use titles on a book listing site like Abebooks where there are something like 50 million books listed. A topic will simply return too many listings. However, there will rarely be more than ten or fifteen thousand listings at all of the auction houses at any one time. The chances of any one title being available at any given moment aren’t great. So go with something a little broader, like a subject.

For example, instead of searching for “A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court,” try “Mark Twain.” The results will be manageable. By the time you read this, these numbers will have changed as old auctions are constantly expiring while new ones are being added, but at this moment the search finds 47 Mark Twain items at auction. These include some books, a signed photograph, and the very first copy of Huckleberry Finn ever bound! It is the only known copy to be dated 1885 (the publishing schedule was then moved up to meet demand and the date adjusted to 1884 instead). If you would like to bid on this one-of-a-kind copy, you must do so before June 9, but as a caution, the estimated price is $100,000 - $150,000. Rest assured, most items are far less expensive.

Here are some other examples. California yields 126 results. North Dakota 1. Abraham Lincoln finds 21 listings. Herbert Hoover 3. California collectors may wish to pinpoint their searches a bit more precisely, but North Dakota collectors will have no such need. Here’s another suggestion. Since a search engine can only find what it sees, you should try variations that an auction house might use in its descriptions. For example, “Abe Lincoln” as well as “Abraham Lincoln.” This yields three more listings. In fact, if you are willing to spend a little more time to be sure you don’t miss anything, try entering just “Lincoln.” This returns 113 matches. There may be a few irrelevancies here, like a book about Lincoln, Nebraska, or the Lincoln automobile, but you won’t miss anything about the nation’s 16th president.

One more example: for the aforementioned Mark Twain, you may also want to try “Samuel Clemens,” “Sam Clemens,” or better yet, simply “Clemens.” To be sure of finding everything, search for “Twain” and then “Clemens.” Now you have it all.

Here’s another tip. Place quotation marks around your keywords if you want to match an exact phrase, leave them off to find listings containing all of your keywords (but in any order). For example, “George Washington” (with the quotation marks) will only find listings with the exact phrase “George Washington.” George Washington (without the quotation marks) will also find lots about George Bush in Washington, D.C. It is only worth the trouble of adding the quotation marks in examples such as this where many unrelated listings are likely to be found if you don’t specify the exact phrase.

Rare Book Monthly

  • <b>Swann Auction Galleries Aug 13:</b> <i>Manhattan Gay Scene Guide 1969, Summer Edition,</i> Mattachine Book Service. $3,000 to $4,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Aug 13:</b> Harvey Milk, 2 autograph letters signed, to Pat Mormon, during US Navy service, 1954. $3,000 to $4,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Aug 13:</b> Oscar Wilde, <i>“The secret of life is in Art,”</i> autograph quotation dated and signed, 1882. $4,000 to $6,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Aug 13:</b> Daniel Abraham, original art for <i>Stonewall Romances,</i> pen, ink & gouache, 1979. $2,000 to $3,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Aug 13:</b> Antonio Lopez, 9 men’s fashion studies, graphite, 1974. $3,000 to $4,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Aug 13:</b> Susie Gaynes & Amy E. Bartell, <i>March on Washington for Lesbian and Gay Rights,</i> 1987. $600 to $900.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Aug 13:</b> <i>Paris is Burning,</i> photo offset poster by Anne Dutlinger, signed by film director Jennie Livingston, 1991. $400 to $600.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Aug 13:</b> Toyen, pen & ink illustration from <i>Marquis de Sade: Justina cili prokletí ctnosti,</i> 1932. $8,000 to $12,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Aug 13:</b> David Wojnarowicz, <i>Untitled (Genet with Dog),</i> mixed media collage. $8,000 to $12,000.

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