Rare Book Monthly

Articles - July - 2014 Issue

A Second Bookseller Goes “Public”

C92b5865-0185-4fa3-9012-60ee9d6e2844

From the Bookbarn website.

Turning to the public markets for funding of businesses in the selling of old books seems to be gaining some steam, at least in England. In May, Scholium Group, whose main business is Shapero Rare Books, went public with an offering on the London Stock Exchange. This past month, it was Somerset bookseller Bookbarn International that made the move. However, the Bookbarn offering is nothing like that of Scholium. Their offering is less than 1% the size of Scholium's, and their shares will not be listed on the London Stock Exchange, nor anywhere else.

 

Bookbarn has elected to raise funds through a website called “Crowdcube.” It provides a public forum where anyone can invest in a company, but the investments are more akin to venture capital than stock market investing. I'm not sure such a program would even be legal in the United States, with its various reporting regulations designed to protect investors buying in the open market. What Crowdcube provides is a way for small-time investors, and I do mean small-time, to invest in small businesses. Investments can be as low as £10 (about $17 in U.S. currency). Good luck finding a venture capitalist interested in making a $17 investment. Of course, you could go public and offer shares on a stock exchange for less than $17 each, as did Scholium, but the cost of registration statements and everything else needed for a market offering is more than the total amount Bookbarn will raise.

 

The way Crowdcube works is you go to their page for Bookbarn, and it allows you to make an investment of any size starting at £10. As of June 30, they had so far raised £34,550 from 57 investors, the largest single investment being £5,000. Bookbarn's target is £75,000, with the Crowdcube rules providing that the investments will be returned if the goal is not met. In return for the £75,000, Bookbarn is offering investors 6% of the company. In other words, they have valued the company at £1,250,000 (roughly US $1.7 million). In comparison, the Scholium offering was for £8 million (for roughly 60% of the company), giving it a value of £13.2 million, or about US $21.9 million, at the time of the offering.

 

A public offering of this type does not provide the level of protection of one on a public stock market. There is not the level of regulation and information that must be given potential buyers on a stock exchange. This is more of a flyer for small investors to take a minor interest in start up or other small companies. Additionally, an investor's share of such a company is illiquid. Crowdcube allows buyers to sell to other Crowdcube buyers, but this is not like a public stock exchange where there are shares being bought and sold everyday. You may have a hard time selling your share if you want your money back. This type of investment is really more appropriate for someone who likes a particular company, wants to be a part owner, and thinks maybe it will one day be a big success and provide a good return. One should not invest through a platform like Crowdcube if the security of your investment is a high priority. The risk level is very high.

 

In its press release, Bookbarn's owners said they believe Bookbarn “is the largest seller of antiquarian, rare and collectable books in the world,” which seems a stretch. They say they have 30 full and part-time staff and a 38,000 square foot warehouse. They sell on “19 different e-commerce platforms around the world, including a major government-owned distributor in China.”

 

The Crowdcube offering can be found at the following link:  www.crowdcube.com/investment/bookbarn-international-15675. We make no recommendation of this offering and advise anyone considering an investment to read the risk warning carefully.

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>Old World Auctions (April 28):</b><br>Lot 54. Fanciful engraving of earth's interior with magma core and errupting volcanoes (1682). $1500 to $1800.
    <b>Old World Auctions (April 28):</b><br>Lot 165. Rare state of Jefferys' influential map of New England in contemporary color (1755). $8000 to $9500.
    <b>Old World Auctions (April 28):</b><br>Lot 177. Mouzon's foundation map of the Carolinas (1775). $10000 to $13000.
    <b>Old World Auctions (April 28):</b><br>Lot 183. Very rare first state of De Fer's map of the Lower Mississippi Valley (1715). $20000 to $25000.
    <b>Old World Auctions (April 28):</b><br>Lot 253. Scarce Scottish edition based on Ellicott's plan of Washington, D.C. (1796). $2400 to $3000.
    <b>Old World Auctions (April 28):</b><br>Lot 313. Stunning view of Philadelphia by John Bachmann (1850). $3250 to $4250.
    <b>Old World Auctions (April 28):</b><br>Lot 338. Rare Civil War map based on Bucholtz map of Virginia (1862). $9500 to $12000.
    <b>Old World Auctions (April 28):</b><br>Lot 667. First map to accurately show Luzon in Philippines (1590). $6000 to $7500.
    <b>Old World Auctions (April 28):</b><br>Lot 682. Rare map of Shanghai International Settlement published just after WWI (1918). $7000 to $9000.
    <b>Old World Auctions (April 28):</b><br>Lot 738. Coronelli's superb map of the Pacific showing the Island of California (1697) Est. $2400 - $3000
    <b>Old World Auctions (April 28):</b><br>Lot 743. A cornerstone piece in the mapping of Australia and New Zealand (1726) Est. $6000 - $7500
    <b>Old World Auctions (April 28):</b><br>Lot 781. An uncommon signature during Jefferson's Governorship of Virginia (1779) Est. $9500 - $11000
  • <center><b>Sotheby’s<br>Collection of a Connoisseur:<br>History in Manuscript, Part 2<br>27 April 2021</b>
    <b>Sotheby’s, through Apr. 27:</b><br>Ronald Reagan. Series of 37 letters to Senator George Murphy, and related material, 1968-90. £50,000 to £70,000.
    <b>Sotheby’s, through Apr. 27:</b><br>Chaim Weizmann. Autograph letter signed, to General Sir Gilbert Clayton, 6 September 1918. £20,000 to £30,000.
    <b>Sotheby’s, through Apr. 27:</b><br>Sir Winston Churchill. Autograph letter signed, to Pamela, Lady Lytton, 1942. £20,000 to $30,000.
    <center><b>Sotheby’s<br>Collection of a Connoisseur:<br>History in Manuscript, Part 2<br>27 April 2021</b>
    <b>Sotheby’s, through Apr. 27:</b><br>Oscar Wilde. Five autograph letters signed, to Alsager Vian, 1887. £15,000 to £20,000.
    <b>Sotheby’s, through Apr. 27:</b><br>Napoleon I. Letter signed to Admiral Ganteaume, ordering the invasion of England, 22 August 1805. £10,000 to £15,000.
    <b>Sotheby’s, through Apr. 27:</b><br>Horatio, Viscount Nelson, and Emma Hamilton. Two autograph letter signed, to Catherine and George Matcham, 1805. £6,000 to £8,000.

Article Search

Archived Articles

Ask Questions