• Dominic Winter Auctioneers
    Auctions on June 19
    and June 20
    Dominic Winter, June 19: Lot 70 - Warner (Robert). The Orchid Album, 11 volumes, 1882-1897. £5,000 to £8,000
    Dominic Winter, June 19: Lot 151 - United States. Melish (John), Map of the United States with..., British & Spanish Possessions, 1816. £40,000 to £60,000
    Dominic Winter, June 19: Lot 159 - World. Speed (John), A New and Accurat Map of the World, 1676. £4,000 to £6,000.
    Dominic Winter Auctioneers
    Auctions on June 19
    and June 20
    Dominic Winter, June 20: Lot 503 - American Civil War playing cards. Union Cards, New York: American Card Co., 1862. £500 to £800
    Dominic Winter, June 20: Lot 573 - Shepard (Ernest Howard), 'The Hour is Come’, original watercolour, [1959]. £10,000 to £15,000
    Dominic Winter, June 20: Lot 922 - Wilde (Oscar). An Ideal Husband, large paper limited issue, 1899. £4,000 to £6,000
    Dominic Winter Auctioneers
    Auctions on June 19
    and June 20
    Dominic Winter, June 20: Lot 744 - Disney (Walt). “Sketch Book” [of Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs], 1938. £700 to £1,000
    Dominic Winter, June 20: Lot 771 - Auden (Wystan Hugh). Portrait of the head of W. H. Auden, 1970. £1,000 to £1,500
    Dominic Winter, June 20: Lot 822 - Fleming (Ian). Goldfinger, 1st edition, signed by the author, 1959. £6,000 to £8,000
    Dominic Winter Auctioneers
    Auctions on June 19
    and June 20
    Dominic Winter, June 20: Lot 895 - Rowling (J. K.). A complete inscribed set of Harry Potter books plus ephemera. £8,000 to £12,0000
    Dominic Winter, June 20: Lot 883 - Orwell (George). Nineteen Eighty-Four, 1st edition, London: Secker & Warburg, 1949. £3,000 to £5,000
    Dominic Winter, June 20: Lot 700 - Ashendene Press. T. Lucreti Cari De Rerium Natura Libri Sex, Chelsea: Ashendene Press, 1913. £4,000 to £6,000
  • Heritage Auctions, June 27
    F. Scott Fitzgerald
    The Great Gatsby
    New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1925
    Heritage Auctions, June 27
    Mary Shelley
    Frankenstein: or, The Modern Prometheus
    London: Lackington, Hughes, Harding, Mavor, & Jones, 1818
    Heritage Auctions, June 27
    J. R. R. Tolkien
    The Hobbit; or, There and Back Again
    London: George Allen & Unwin Ltd., 1937
    Heritage Auctions, June 27
    Jane Austen
    Emma: A Novel. In Three Volumes. By the Author of "Pride and Prejudice," &c. &c.
    London: Printed for John Murray, 1816
    Heritage Auctions, June 27
    Robert Louis Stevenson
    An Inland Voyage
    London: C. Kegan Paul & Co., 1878
    Heritage Auctions, June 27
    Ernest Hemingway
    Three Stories & Ten Poems
    Paris: Contact Publishing Co., 1923
    Heritage Auctions, June 27
    Meriwether Lewis and William Clark
    History of the Expedition under the Command of Captains Lewis and Clark
    Philadelphia, 1814
    Heritage Auctions, June 27
    Emily Dickinson
    Autograph letter signed ("Emily and Vinnie"), to Mary Adelaide Hills
    Amherst, MA, Late April, 1880
    Heritage Auctions, June 27
    John Keats
    Autograph letter signed ("John Keats"), to Mrs. Jeffrey
    Honiton 4 or 5 May 1818
    Heritage Auctions, June 27
    Samuel Johnson
    A Dictionary of the English Language: In which the Words are deduced from their Originals…
    London, 1765
    Heritage Auctions, June 27
    H. P. Lovecraft
    Small archive of nine lengthy autograph letters signed variously over a period of six years to J. Vernon Shea.
    Various places, 1931-1937
    Heritage Auctions, June 27
    Izaak Walton
    The Compleat Angler or the Contemplative Man's Recreation…
    London: T. homas Maxey for Rich. ard Marriot, 1653
  • Freeman’s | Hindman, June 25: [Keats, John] Spenser, Edmund: The Works of that Famous English Poet, Mr. Edmond Spenser. $50,000 - $80,000.
    Freeman’s | Hindman, June 25: (Walton, Izaak): The Compleat Angler or the Contemplative man's Recreation. Being a Discourse of Fish and Fishing. $30,000 - $50,000.
    Freeman’s | Hindman, June 25: Thomas, Gabriel: An Historical and Geographical Account of the Province and Country of Pensilvania; and of West-New-Jersey in America. $25,000 - $35,000.
    Freeman’s | Hindman, June 25: [Carroll, Lewis]: The Game of Alice in Wonderland. $2,000 - $3,000.
    Freeman’s | Hindman, June 25: Athias, Joseph, et al.: Biblia Hebraica. $7,000 - $10,000.
    Freeman’s | Hindman, June 25: [Warhol, Andy, and Jens Quistgaard] Dansk Designs Salesman's Presentation Catalogue. $2,500 - $3,500.
  • Sotheby’s, June 26: Poe, Edgar Allan. Tamerlane — the most poignant rarity in American literature. 400,000 - 600,000 USD
    Sotheby’s, June 26: The Declaration of Independence. "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal..." 2,500,000 - 5,000,000 USD
    Sotheby’s, June 26: William Blake. “Poems with very wild and interesting pictures” 1,200,000 - 1,800,000 USD
    Sotheby’s, June 26: Thomas Taylor [artist]. The original cover art for Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone. 400,000 - 600,000 USD

Rare Book Monthly

Articles - January - 2015 Issue

Book Selling: Some Highs and Lows of 2014

1865 Nevada City Broadside from Walkabout Books Americana Catalog 3.

There is some strong anecdotal evidence that for some people in the antiquarian book trade 2014 was a good year.

 

For Bruce McKinney, 68, Americana Exchange publisher in San Francisco, this was the year AE turned the corner and is operating in the black. In his view dealers have increasingly come to appreciate that the AE database containing millions of past and present book auction records is the most complete and reliable form of price information available. “They have come to rely on it,” he said, much the same way the multiple listing service helps to establish comparables in real estate.

 

Some of the trends named by McKinney for 2014 included collecting within “a narrowing focus and searching for increasingly personally relevant items,” and at the same time an emerging younger contingent of collectors with significantly different tastes and methods than older than their more established counterparts. As for dealers, many he feared are “locked into choices they made decades ago and are now in a market that is rapidly changing.”

 

In 2014 McKinney followed the auctions, especially those at the high end. A stand out for him was the November 24th sale at Doyle’s of the rare books collection of New York City Bar Association. The pre-sale estimate for the event ranged from $665,000 to just over $1 million. The sale far exceeded the estimates and realized $2.3 million with all 325 lots sold.

 

McKinney singled out veteran book dealer William Reese as the man who saw the value of “content over condition.” According to McKinney, Reese spent $1.4 million to purchase the majority of the lots. Some of it, McKinney said, was last seen at market 100 years ago.”

 

AE editor Mike Stillman, 68, of Corpus Christi, Texas said that this year he saw fewer catalogs come across his desk than in prior years.

 

But for at least one book seller, the traditional combination of catalogs, institutional sales and personal client contact continued to play an important role in growing her business. This was the case for Elizabeth Svendsen, 45, of Walkabout Books (ABAA). She named the Las Vegas meeting this year of the Rare Books and Manuscript Section of the American Library Association as a high point of her year.

 

“I brought lots of cards and I met lots of people,” she said. You don’t need to actually know the special collections librarians to quote to them, but I’ve found it never hurts to put a face to the name. It helps if they know you.” As for her financial situation: “After ten years it finally kicked into a higher gear.”

 

Svendsen like McKinney sees the market shifting away from books to more specialized materials: “It has to be unusual, manuscript, ephemera, something you don’t see every day, something you are pretty sure they won’t have or soon see again.”

 

Asked to recommend something in that category from her own stock she suggested an 1865 Nevada City, Nevada broadside from the Walkabout Americana Catalog 3, item #50. The California based antiquarian said her own best buys this year were also in the Americana field, especially an estate from Kentucky.

 

Farther down the food chain, your own correspondent, 71, continued to do business on-line from Wailuku, Maui. The highlight of my year was finding one of the earliest printings of the Cherokee alphabet in an early 19th century missionary publication. Not only did finding the item give me chicken skin, locating an immediate buyer for the volume and knowing it was going back to the Cherokee Nation’s own collection made the sale even more memorable.

 

Nineteenth century Cherokee history in many ways runs parallel (at least from the point of view of the missionaries) to Hawaii history of the same era, so not only did I have the good sale I also got to read all the Hawaii related parts before I packed it up and shipped it off to Oklahoma. It’s moments like that - when the right book finds the right buyer at the right price - that continue to make book selling such and interesting (and occasionally worthwhile) occupation.

 

But bookselling isn’t all books. This year I sold a ton of ephemera, everything from maps, prints and magazines to posters, ads and articles, with a few postcards, buttons, toys and related chazerai thrown in. If it fit in a flat rate priority mail envelope or box it departed Hawaii mostly for the US Mainland but also to Europe, Asia and Canada. I had no duplicates, I never sold the same thing twice, almost everything that sold was pre-ISBN and late 19th century American books still seem interesting and undervalued. My selling prices ranged from $9.99 to just shy of $1,500 with the majority of items under $100.

 

Back on the Mainland 2014 was the year Joyce Godsey reported her “best year ever.” Godsey, 52, best known as a vendor of specialized erasers and other small tools of the book trade, ditched Massachusetts for Portland, Maine where she bought a small house and changed the name of her site to BookRepairSupply.com. “I have a house, a truck and I’m debt free to boot. I feel like I’ve reached a kind of a plateau. Unless I work at messing it up I should be OK.”

 

For this writer the low points were more about the more cosmic developments in on-line selling and publishing than day to day business life.

 

Notable and negative were continued exploitation of workers at Amazon, this along with a variety of other dubious practices made the big “AZ” a leading boogey man for more traditional vendors.

 

Others viewed the rise of e-Books and e-Book readers as a sign that traditional publishing was becoming more watered down than ever. Though as the recession eased and some independent stores flourished, the more likely scenario was the continued disappearance of actual physical bookstores and all that that implies. Book stores, newspapers, magazines, and print in all its iterations continued to decline as things digital became more ubiquitous than ever.

 

Just to keep things in perspective just check the end of the story for link to the top one hundred titles on Amazon in 2014.

 

Other depressing news came in December with the announcement from the UK that the first novel by Zoe Sugg aka “Zoella” was the biggest-selling debut ever. Zoella (billed as a YouTube sensation with 2.6 million Twitter followers) is the author of Girl Online, the fastest-selling book of 2014 with over 78,000 copies sold in its first week.

 

While those of us who are still in the antiquarian book trade know the amount of work it entails, there are others who make it seem like a glamorous occupation.

Wrote one tout for on-line book selling instruction: “Take charge of your financial future by making money online selling used books with your own Internet bookselling business, and earn $500 - $5,000 per month in your spare time.

“Thousands of ordinary people are earning a living selling used books on-line every month as Internet booksellers. You can too!

“Imagine not having to struggle to pay your bills each month. Imagine having enough money to live the kind of life you were meant to have.”

Yes, imagine if only it was so easy. Wishing you all a happy and prosperous 2015 and hope you are living the kind of life you were meant to have.

 

Some related links:

 

William Reese Company (ABAA) New Haven, CT www.reeseco.com/

 

Doyle Nov 24, 2014 auction of NY Bar Association Rare Books Collection

www.doylenewyork.com/content/more.asp?id=348

 

Walkabout Books (ABAA) Laguna Niguel, CA Catalog 3 - Americana item 50 is our featured photo for this article. www.walkaboutbooks.net/catalogResults.php?category_id=381&action=catalog&browseLetter=A&orderBy=author

 

Book Repair Supply – Portland, ME bookrepairsupply.com/

 

Susan Halas, Maui, HI tinyurl.com/kbd4

 

Amazon 2014 100 Best Sellers www.amazon.com/gp/bestsellers/2014/books

 

Video from inside an Amazon distribution center – “Certainly No Traditional Bookshop” – click on link scroll down in story about half way for the video.

www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2867924/Why-m-boycotting-Amazon-LAURA-FREEMAN-clicks-shopping-history-realises-s-spent-4-000-books-company-blamed-demise-beloved-bookstores.html

 

Abe 50 Most Expensive Sales of 2014   www.abebooks.com/rare-books/most-expensive-sales/year-2014.shtml

 

Rare Book Monthly

  • Bonhams, June 25: Vesalius, Andreas. 1514-1564. De humani corporis fabrica libri septem. $200,000 - $300,000
    Bonhams, June 25: Gersdorff, Hans Von. 1455-1529. Feldtbuch der wundartzney. $40,000 - $60,000
    Bonhams, June 25: Pare, Ambroise. C.1509-1590. La Methode Curative des Playes, et Fractures de la Teste humaine. Avec les pourtraits des Instruments necessaires pour la curation d'icelles. $25,000 - $30,000
    Bonhams, June 25: Reisch, Gregor. 1470-1525. Margarita Philosophica. $20,000 - $30,000
    Bonhams, June 25: Bright, Richard. 1789-1858. Reports of Medical Cases, Selected with a View of Illustrating the Symptoms and Cure of Diseases by a Reference to Morbid Anatomy. $12,000 - $18,000
    Bonhams, June 25: Berengario da Carpi, Giacomo. C. 1460-1530. Tractatus de fractura calve sive cranei. $10,000 - $15,000
    Bonhams, June 25: Vicq D'Azyr, Felix. 1748-1794. Traite d'antomie et de physiologie. $8,000 - $12,000
    Bonhams, June 25: Croce, Giovanni Andrea Della. 1509?-1775. Chirurgia libri septem... $8,000 - $12,000
    Bonhams, June 25: Bruno Da Longburgo. 1200-1286. La cyrogia di Maistro Bruno: Expertissimo in quella. Tradutta in vulgare. $8,000 - $12,000
    Bonhams, June 25: Schwann, Theodor. 1810-1882. Mikroskopische Untersuchungen uber die Ubereinstimmung in der Struktur und dem Wachsthum der Thiere und Pflanzen. $8,000 - $12,000
    Bonhams, June 25: Cowper, William. 1666-1709. The Anatomy of Humane Bodies, with Figures Drawn after the Life… $6,000 - $9,000
    Bonhams, June 25: Bidloo, Govard. 1649-1713. Anatomia humani corporis, centum & quinque tabulis, per artificiossis. G. de Lairesse ad vivum delineatis. $6,000 - $9,000
  • Old World Auctions (Jun 5-19):
    Lot 4. Blaeu's Magnificent Carte-a-Figures World Map in Full Contemporary Color (1642) Est. $12,000 - $15,000
    Old World Auctions (Jun 5-19):
    Lot 125. 1775 Edition of the Landmark Fry-Jefferson Map of Virginia and Maryland (1775) Est. $15,000 - $18,000
    Old World Auctions (Jun 5-19):
    Lot 673. Rare Frontispiece in Full Contemporary Color with Gilt Highlights (1662) Est. $4,000 - $4,750
    Old World Auctions (Jun 5-19):
    Lot 717. Complete Tanner Atlas with Important Maps of Texas & Iowa (1845) Est. $4,000 - $4,750
    Old World Auctions (Jun 5-19):
    Lot 3. Henricus Hondius' Baroque-Style World Map (1641) Est. $9,500 - $11,000
    Old World Auctions (Jun 5-19):
    Lot 258. Complete Set of De Bry's Native Virginians & Picts from Part I of Grands Voyages (1608) Est. $2,750 - $3,500
    Old World Auctions (Jun 5-19):
    Lot 608. Superb Work on 18th Century Russia with over 100 Maps and Plates (1788) Est. $3,500 - $4,250
    Old World Auctions (Jun 5-19):
    Lot 49. One of the Most Important 16th Century Maps of the New World (1556) Est. $5,000 - $6,000
    Old World Auctions (Jun 5-19):
    Lot 706. Superb Image of the Annunciation in Contemporary Hand Color (1518) Est. $900 - $1,100
    Old World Auctions (Jun 5-19):
    Lot 123. One of the Earliest Maps to Show Philadelphia (1695) Est. $4,000 - $4,750
    Old World Auctions (Jun 5-19):
    Lot 631. One of the Earliest Printed Maps of Afghanistan & Pakistan (1482) Est. $1,900 - $2,200
    Old World Auctions (Jun 5-19):
    Lot 689. Proof Copy Engraving of the Senate Floor During the Compromise of 1850 (1855) Est. $1,500 - $1,800
  • Bonhams, June 15-25: 18th Century American Sea Captain's Journals of Voyages to Hawaii, China, and South America. $35,000 - $45,000
    Bonhams, June 15-25: Admiral Richard E. Byrd's Autograph Diary from Bolling Advance Base, Winter 1934. $40,000 - $60,000
    Bonhams, June 15-25: Thoreau, Henry David. Walden; Or, Life in the Woods. Boston: Ticknor and Fields, 1854. $4,000 - $6,000
    Bonhams, June 15-25: Cellarius, Andreas. Harmonia macrocosmica seu atlas universalis et novus, totius universi creati cosmographiam generalem, et novam exhibens. $20,000 - $30,000
    Bonhams, June 15-25: Nobelist George Stigler's Copy of Ricardo's Classic on the Science of Economics. $20,000 - $30,000
    Bonhams, June 15-25: Histoire charmante de l'adolescente sucre d'amour. Paris: F. L. Schmied, 1927. $15,000 - $20,000
    Bonhams, June 15-25: Fine Copy of Walras's Classic on the Theory of Marginal Utility. $12,000 - $18,000
    Bonhams, June 15-25: Arion Press Moby Dick. Melville, Herman. $8,000 - $12,000
    Bonhams, June 15-25: Venegas, Miguel. Noticia de la California, y desu conquista temporal, y espiritual hasta el tiempo presente. $7,000 - $9,000
    Bonhams, June 15-25: Carelton Watkins, Yosemite and the West. Portfolio of 21 imperial albumen prints. $6,000 - $9,000
    Bonhams, June 15-25: An Unpublished Archive of Thornton Wilder Correspondence to F.J. O'Neil. $6,000 - $9,000
    Bonhams, June 15-25: Vesalius, Andreas. 1514-1564. Suorum de humani corporis fabrica librorum epitome. $100,000 - $150,000

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