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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Collectors look over the many interesting volumes available at the Boston 2002 ABAA Book Fair.


By Mike Stillman

On a rainy afternoon in Boston, booksellers and collectors from around the world gathered for day two of the 26th annual Boston version of the “Antiquarian Book Fair,” as put on ably by the Antiquarian Booksellers’ Association of America (ABAA). This year’s show ran from October 25-27, 2002. The ABAA puts on three such fairs annually, the others being in New York and Los Angeles or San Francisco. This has been a tough year across America, both psychologically and financially, and few expected record breaking crowds. Clearly, there weren’t, and yet few exhibiting booksellers were disappointed either. Traffic was decent, and while the market for the latest high tech gadgets may have seen the bottom fall out, the market for that aged technology, books, seemingly remains brisk and healthy.

As one approaches the doors to the show floor in Boston’s Hynes Convention Center, there’s a press table, and as members of the electronic press, this representative of the Americana Exchange posed the key question – “If there’s one item you must see at this show, what is it?” The response was quick. It was not a document signed by Lincoln, a Shakespeare folio, or some early material from the founding fathers. It wasn’t even the first edition first issue of Harry Potter, which at $39,000 just shows that books don’t have to be ancient to be valuable. Fortunately, it was a piece of quintessential Americana – a photograph of the 1936 New York Yankees, complete with twenty-five signatures, including a rookie named DiMaggio and Lou Gehrig in his prime.

This photo is held by the Heritage Book Shop of Los Angeles, and Chad Reingold wasn’t sure whether it would be sold at the show, but if not, you can pick it up for $12,500. It’s a good thing this reporter wasn’t carrying $12,500 around with me at the time, or I might be a lot poorer today. For the more traditional collector, when asked what areas are likely to continue to be popular choices in the years ahead, Mr. Reingold recommended Civil and Revolutionary War material as always being desirable, and added that anything in Printing and the Mind of Man is worth owning. For the California collector, he recommends titles from the Zamarano Eighty.

While some booksellers had crossed the country to exhibit at the Fair, others crossed the ocean. England, not surprisingly, was the most heavily represented, but other dealers came from the continent. Rodolphe Chamonal had traveled from Paris, and was satisfied with the show. As he explained, it’s hard for him to tell whether sales are good at a show as there is no “normal” volume of sales for him. He had seen enough people to be pleased with the show, and expected to do some further traveling around New England before returning home. Mr. Chamonal visits the states three or four times a year, and among his specialties are voyages and explorations, mainstays of European Americana.

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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