Rare Book Monthly

Articles - November - 2002 Issue

Showtime In Boston: Booksellers Look At The State Of Their Trade And Offer Advice To Collectors.

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Bill Reese sees the online phenomenon as one that is now entering a maturing phase. When eBay appeared, it began shaking a lot of old books out of people’s attics. But now, much of that long hidden material has moved on to new buyers. What happens now with the pricing for this material “is more in the hands of the people who bought it.”

Asked where he finds his books, Bill Reese said that he has several sources. Sometimes he will buy an entire library from a collector, others he buys from fellow dealers and from auctions. Some books are brought directly to him by their owner, and in some cases they come from “book scouts” who roam around the countryside looking for small sales with the aim of buying a book and quickly turning it over to a dealer who specializes in the field. He noted that he had just picked up a book from another dealer who bought an entire library which had one title in Americana.

As for his advice to the new collector, Bill Reese recommended that they “think imaginatively. If you want to collect Hemingway you should, but it will cost a lot of money. Think outside the box. It’s not going to cost you that much money.” He cited a show he had recently viewed at the Grolier Club, “Quack, Quack, Quack,” featuring Bill Helfand’s collection of printed material of medical quackery. As someone who worked in the pharmaceutical industry, Mr. Helfand became interested in this rather obscure material, and over the years, developed an outstanding collection. (Editor’s Note: please see the AE Monthly archives for the article entitled “An Adventure in Medical Hyperbole” for a complete description of Mr. Helfand’s exhibit and an interview with Mr. Helfand about his collecting techniques in last month’s AE Monthly.)

For Mr. Reese, the most exciting type of collecting is to collect in areas where the boundaries are not so obviously defined. For example, with Hemingway you can very quickly learn precisely what is available. For his own collection, Mr. Reese explained “I buy books before 1900 with at least four color plates.” When he finds a new item, “it’s usually something I’ve never heard of. That’s exciting.”

Of course the average new collector is not going to start with 19th century color plate books, but that doesn’t matter. Mr. Reese said one of the first subjects he collected was trick horses, those ponies that are trained to do things that horses normally don’t do. It was not a field of collecting where he had a whole lot of competition. As he recalled, the most he ever paid for an item was $25, but he still had a lot of fun collecting them.

For those of you who missed Boston, the ABAA will be holding its 36th annual California Book Fair from February 7-9, 2003, in San Francisco. It will be worth the trip, and since you probably don’t often have a legitimate excuse to visit San Francisco, you shouldn’t miss the opportunity. There will be booksellers in all sorts of specialties who can assist the experienced collector in strengthening a collection. These same booksellers can also help the novice get started on what will likely be a lifetime of great excitement building a personal and totally unique collection.

Rare Book Monthly

  • <center><b>Chiswick Auctions<br>Books & Works on Paper<br>Including Autographs & Memorabilia<br>31 March 2020</b>
    <b>Chiswick Auctions, Mar. 31:</b> Rackham (Arthur). The Old Hag Standing Outside a Cottage, original drawing, signed by the artist, [c.1909]. £10,000 to £15,000.
    <b>Chiswick Auctions, Mar. 31:</b> Rowling (J.K.) <i>Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone,</i> FIRST EDITION, first printing, signed by the author, original pictorial wrappers, 1997. £4,000 to £6,000.
    <b>Chiswick Auctions, Mar. 31:</b> Castiglione (Giuseppe, after). Twelve plates from <i>Twenty views of the European Palaces of the Yuanming yuan,</i> 1783-1786. £4,000 to £6,000.
    <center><b>Chiswick Auctions<br>Books & Works on Paper<br>Including Autographs & Memorabilia<br>31 March 2020</b>
    <b>Chiswick Auctions, Mar. 31:</b> Spanish Antiphonal.- Antiphonal manuscript, [Spain], ca. 1650. £4,000 to £6,000.
    <b>Chiswick Auctions, Mar. 31:</b> Almanach de Gotha.- Almost complete run 1769 to 1945, 12mo & 8vo, Gotha, C.W. Ettinger [- Justus Perthes]. £4,000 to £6,000.
    <b>Chiswick Auctions, Mar. 31:</b> Bible, Greek.- New Testament [Greek], Novum Iesu Christi D.N. testamentum, ex bibliotheca regia, 2 parts in one, Robert Estienne, Paris, 1550. £2,000 to £3,000.
    <center><b>Chiswick Auctions<br>Books & Works on Paper<br>Including Autographs & Memorabilia<br>31 March 2020</b>
    <b>Chiswick Auctions, Mar. 31:</b> Lithgow (William). <i>The Total Discourse of the rare Adventures… from Scotland, to the most famous kingdoms in Europe, Asia, and Affrica…,</i> woodcut illustrations, 4to, I. Oakes, 1640. £2,000 to £3,000.
    <b>Chiswick Auctions, Mar. 31:</b> Spanish Interest.-16th -18th Century. Large collection of letters related to prominent members of the Spanish court and clergymen,; v.s., late 16th-mid 18th century. £1,800 to £2,200.
    <b>Chiswick Auctions, Mar. 31:</b> Darwin (Charles). <i>The Descent of Man, and Selection in Relation to Sex,</i> 2 vol., FIRST EDITION, first issue8vo, John Murray, 1871. £1,500 to £2,000.
    <center><b>Chiswick Auctions<br>Books & Works on Paper<br>Including Autographs & Memorabilia<br>31 March 2020</b>
    <b>Chiswick Auctions, Mar. 31:</b> Loewy (Raymond) ARR. Mickey Mouse, original gouache and air brush illustration of Mickey Mouse, signed by artist., n.p. [1946]. £1,500 to £2,000.
    <b>Chiswick Auctions, Mar. 31:</b> Potter (Beatrix) & Sendak (Maurice). <i>The Tale of Peter Rabbit,</i> NUMBER 2 OF 250 SIGNED COPIES, WITH AN ORIGINAL DRAWING BY SENDAK, New York, 1995. £1,500 to £2,000.
    <b>Chiswick Auctions, Mar. 31:</b> Wolstenholm (Jonathan) ARR. Books on Books, original watercolor, signed and dated by the artist, 2005.
  • <b>Swann Auction Galleries:</b> Abraham Lincoln, <i>Emancipation Proclamation by the President of the United States,</i> pamphlet, 1862. $10,000 to $15,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries:</b> Family papers of the distinguished Ruby-Jackson family, Portland, Maine, 1853-1961. $3,000 to $4,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries:</b> Family papers of the Confederate Vice President Alexander Stephens & the persons who served him, 1866-1907. $25,000 to $35,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries:</b> Autograph book with inscriptions by orators Moses Roper & Peter Williams, 1821-54. $10,000 to $15,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries:</b> Archive of letters, postcards, and greeting cards sent by Romare Bearden, 1949-87. $5,000 to $7,500.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries:</b><br>E. Simms Campbell, <i>A Night-Club Map of Harlem,</i> in inaugural issue of Manhattan, 1933. $10,000 to $15,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries:</b> Papers of the comedian Nipsey Russell, including a letter from MLK, 1929-2000. $6,000 to $9,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries:</b> Early German-American anti-slavery broadside, <i>Sclaven-Handel,</i> Philadelphia, 1794. $12,000 to $18,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries:</b> Edmonia Lewis, prominent sculptor, carte-de-visite by Henry Rocher, c. 1866-71. $3,000 to $4,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries:</b><br><i>The Black Panther: Black Community News Service,</i> 44 issues, San Francisco, 1967-1971. $3,000 to $4,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries:</b> Ernest Withers, <i>I Am A Man, Sanitation Workers Strike,</i> silver print, 1968. $5,000 to $7,500.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries:</b> <i>March For Freedom Now!,</i> poster for the 1960 Republican Convention. $4,000 to $6,000.

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