Rare Book Monthly

Articles - October - 2014 Issue

How to Search the Auctions All from One Place

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The results page after a “Churchill” search.

As summer comes to a close, and the temperatures begin to cool, the auction season starts to heat up. Fall is always the busiest time for auctions, and with the number of lots in the books, manuscripts, and ephemera field rising significantly over the past few years, there will be much to consider. Last year, over 158,000 lots came up for sale during the last four months of the year. This year, it will likely be even more.

 

Naturally enough, the challenge is finding the lots that are of interest to you amid all of the clutter. The lots you seek will be buried among dozens of auction houses and a couple of hundred auctions, some with lots in the thousands. How do you find them? Do you have to go to each auction house's website, see which have auctions that include works in the books and works on paper category, and then scroll through all of their listings? No. That would be impossible.

 

The Americana Exchange website allows you to search all of these listings from one place. It takes a fraction of a second to find all of your matches. Here's all you have to do. Near the top of this, and most other pages of the AE website, you will see a search box. Chances are, it is already set to search “Upcoming Auctions” (look just to the left of the long search bar). If not, click the little arrow “for additional selections” below the setting and it will allow you change the selection to Upcoming Auctions.

 

Next, enter the keywords you wish to search and click the “Search” button. That's it. In some fraction of a second, your results will be displayed. You will notice a link to the right of the “Search” button for “Advanced Search.” Unless you are overwhelmed with matches, stick with the keyword search. Broader keyword searches are less likely to miss something you want than are tighter advanced searches. The advanced search is meant mainly for use with the other databases, which contain millions of records, than the upcoming auctions database that maxes out around 40,000 in the busy season.

 

Once you conduct your search, you will see a page listing all of the matches. It concisely provides the pertinent information – author, title, auction house and auction date, publication date, estimated price, and a brief description. Your search terms will be highlighted in yellow to make it easier to see why the listing is a match. To see the detailed record for each lot, click the book's title. If you would prefer to see the detailed record in a new window, click the rectangle after the title. If there is a camera icon after the title, it means the detailed listing contains one or more pictures of the item.

 

When you click on the link to the individual lot listing, you will find the complete description and more information about the particular auction, including a link to the auction house. If you have not bid at the house before, you will need to set up an account first, usually at least a day prior to the auction, as they will want to be sure you are a real bidder. Of course that won't require you to bid. It will just enable you to bid if you so choose.

 

When you conduct your search, you will see two links near the top left, just under “Auction Search Results.” One is to “Books for Sale.” These are listings offered by booksellers. People often assume they will get the lowest price at auction. That is not always the case. You may be surprised at how often a book will sell at auction for a price higher than the same title is offered by a dealer. It's what assuming can make of us. Research is always worth the effort. Additionally, there may be a difference in the copies, perhaps condition, issue, etc. Again, the more information you have, the better will be the decision you make.

 

The other link near the top is to the “AE Database.” To access this, you will need to be an AE member at any paid level (everything else described here is free). The AE Database is a collection of over 5.4 million bibliographic records, most being priced records from past auctions. If you are a serious collector, the wealth of knowledge this database provides is way more than worth the cost, both for making good decisions and avoiding bad ones.

 

One final point – our name, “Americana Exchange,” is a leftover relic. You will find books and other works on paper in every imaginable field, and from auctions all over the world – Europe, England, South Africa and Australia, as well as Canada and Latin America. You will also find most ship all around the world, and sometimes, they have books you would never expect from an auction at their location.

 

Come back here often as new listings are added almost everyday. Some auctions only post their lots a few days in advance of their auctions, so if you wait a week, some items will slip by without your ever knowing.

Rare Book Monthly

  • <b>Bonhams, Jun 13 results:</b> Darwin, Charles. <i>On the Origin of Species.</i> Presentation Copy. Sold for $500,075.
    <b>Bonhams, Jun 13 results:</b> Darwin, Charles. Autograph Letter Signed, 3 pp, negotiating the 2nd American edition with Appleton. Sold for $21,325.
    <b>Bonhams, Jun 13 results:</b> Hemingway, Ernest. Autograph Letter Signed, 8 pp, Paris, 1924, to his father discussing Bullfighting, Stories, and his new baby. Sold for $25,075.
    <b>Bonhams, Jun 13 results:</b> Shakespeare, William. <i>Corialanus.</i> London, 1623. 1st printing [Extracted from the First Folio]. Sold for $50,075.
    <b>Bonhams, Jun 13 results:</b> Swift, Jonathan. <i>Gulliver's Travels.</i> London, 1726. 1st edition, Teerink's A edition, fine, large copy. Sold for $21,325.
    <b>Bonhams, Jun 13 results:</b> Fitzroy, Robert. Autograph Letter Signed to agent Thomas Stilwell, informing him of the progress of H.M.S. Beagle. Sold for $17,575.
    <center><b>Bonhams<br> Property from the Collection of Nicole and William R. Keck II</b>
    <b>Bonhams, Jun 13 results:</b> Shakespeare, William. <i>Sonnets.</i> 1901. 2 volumes. Printed on vellum and illuminated by Ross Turner, bound by Trautz-Bauzonnet. Sold for $13,825.
    <b>Bonhams, Jun 13 results:</b> Beardsley, Aubrey. <i>The Birth, Life, and Acts of King Arthur.</i> 1893-94. 2 volumes. Contemporary painted vellum gilt by Chivers. Sold for $5,325.
    <b>Bonhams, Jun 13 results:</b> Assisi, St. Francis. <i>The Canticle of Brother Sun.</i> Illuminated on vellum, for the Grolier Society. Sold for $7,575.
    <b>Bonhams, Jun 13 results:</b> Rackham, Arthur. <i>Peter Pan in Kensington Gardens.</i> 1/500 copies signed by Rackham. Sold for $4,825.
    <b>Bonhams, Jun 13 results:</b> Proust, Marcel. <i>Du coté de chez Swann.</i> 1st edition, 1st issue. Inscribed by Proust. Sold for $8,825.
  • <b>Swann Auction Galleries Aug 7:</b> Sergio Trujillo Magnenat, <i>Bogotá 1938 / IV Centenario / Juegos Deportivos Bolivarianos,</i> 1938. $2,000 to $3,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Aug 7:</b> <i>McQueen Drives Porsche,</i> designer unknown, 1970. $800 to $1,200.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Aug 7:</b><br>Joe Bridge, <i>Bignan / A Des Ailes,</i> 1921. $5,000 to $7,500.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Aug 7:</b> Graham Simmons, <i>The Army Isn’t All Work,</i> 1919. $1,000 to $1,500.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Aug 7:</b> Leonetto Cappiello, <i>Je ne fume que le nil,</i> 1912. $800 to $1,200.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Aug 7:</b> <i>Attack of the 50 ft. Woman,</i> designer unknown, 1958. $3,000 to $4,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Aug 7:</b> Raymond Tooby, <i>Festival Guiness / Have You Tried One Yet?,</i> 1952. $600 to $900.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Aug 7:</b> Francisco Tamagno, <i>Terrot & Co. / Dijon / Cycles Motorettes,</i> 1909. $2,000 to $3,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Aug 7:</b><br>A. Hori, Oakland / General Motors, circa 1925. $3,000 to $4,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Aug 7:</b> James Montgomery Flagg, <i>Travel? Adventure? Answer – Join the Marines!,</i> circa 1918. $4,000 to $6,000.
  • <b>Lark Mason Associates, Aug 8-27:</b> Roberts, David. Twenty Lithographs of the Holy Land, 19th Century. $2,000 to $4,000.
    <b>Lark Mason Associates, Aug 8-27:</b> Declaration by the Reps. of the United Colonies of N.A. 1775. $8,000 to $12,000.
    <b>Lark Mason Associates, Aug 8-27:</b> Composer Jerome Kern personal Letters, Albums and Other. $15,000 to $25,000.
    <b>Lark Mason Associates, Aug 8-27:</b> Paine, Thomas. <i>Common Sense,</i> London 1776. $8,000 to $12,000.
    <b>Lark Mason Associates, Aug 8-27:</b> Stowe, Harriet Beecher. <i>Uncle Tom’s Cabin,</i> Cleveland 1852. $4,000 to $6,000.
    <b>Lark Mason Associates, Aug 8-27:</b> Hobbes, Thomas. <i>Leviathan,</i> 3rd edition, London 1651. $2,000 to $3,000.
    <b>Lark Mason Associates, Aug 8-27:</b> Anno Regni Georgii III. Intolerable Acts and other Bills, 1774. $15,000 to $20,000.
    <b>Lark Mason Associates, Aug 8-27:</b> Wilberforce, William. An Abstract of the Evidence, 5 Letters, and two books. $6,000 to $9,000.
    <b>Lark Mason Associates, Aug 8-27:</b> Nightingale, Florence. Notes on Nursing and Signed Letters, ca. 1860 $4,000 to $6,000.
    <b>Lark Mason Associates, Aug 8-27:</b> Tolstov, Leo. <i>War and Peace,</i> 5 volumes, 1886. $3,000 to $5,000.
    <b>Lark Mason Associates, Aug 8-27:</b> Dickinson, John. Letters from a Farmer in Pennsylvania, 1768. $1,500 to $2,500.
    <b>Lark Mason Associates, Aug 8-27:</b> Twain, Mark. <i>Tom Sawyer,</i> 1877 [and] <i>Huckleberry Finn,</i> 1885. $4,000 to $6,000.

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