Rare Book Monthly

Articles - April - 2015 Issue

The Lawbook Exchange: Greg Talbot

The distance between New Jersey and Manhattan isn't far when measured in miles, but it's long when measured in career steps. Born and raised in the New Jersey suburbs, Greg Talbot was planning to enter law school when he took a job in New York City as an outside sales rep with a legal publisher, the Lawyers Cooperative Publishing Co. The year was 1973. He left ten years later with another sales rep to establish a new company, The Lawbook Exchange, Ltd., which sold second-hand law books to lawyers and librarians. In 1988 Greg visited the ephemera fair in Connecticut and left with an understanding that the antiquarian items were fascinating and desirable. Having decided to pursue this field, Greg and his partner hired a cataloguer to assist them. Within a year they were specialists in antiquarian law that offered items ranging from incunabula to photographs of Clarence Darrow.

 

Stable for decades, Greg's field began to change rapidly as the internet established itself in the mid-1990s. “The rules were beginning to change and we all had to acknowledge these changes,” he said. The net was something of a mixed blessing. It expanded the audience of potential buyers and confirmed the rarity of items offered, but it also exposed supply-price imbalances, which eliminated the value of certain types of material. The company adjusted because it had to. With the addition of a managing editor, The Lawbook Exchange began to reprint scarce texts in 1991 and introduced original titles in 2003. It also maintained its first line, the sale of second-hand legal materials. In all, “the business became more complex but also more recession-proof.”  This combination of countervailing business lines helped to insure the company's viability after the severe test of the 2008 stock market crash.

 

Looking at the market for rare books today, Greg sees “a continuing, perceptible shift” to unique, rare and highly important material. Market interest in non-rare antiquarian stock and more recent and scholarly books has declined, the line between collectible and everything else is becoming an increasingly bright line. For some, such fundamental change would drive them from the field. For Greg and his staff it is simply a lock to pick. The Lawbook Exchange never assumes that what has been will be again.  Some dealers are married to the past. The Lawbook Exchange is committed to the future.

 

In a recent conversation I suggested that Greg prepare a short list of appealing materials for us to display digitally at Rare Book Hub that would be of interest to individuals coming to the ABAA New York Book Fair in April. He selected a dozen items pertaining to law. The list includes a flirtatious autograph letter by Oliver Wendell Holmes, a volume of canon law from 1482 with exquisite decorated initials and the first American edition of Blackstone's Commentaries in an exceptionally handsome contemporary binding. Here is a link to view them: Preview of 29 Items on Display at the April 2015 New York ABAA Book Fair. Contact Greg or Michael von der Linn, Manager of the Antiquarian Book Department, to reserve an item for your evaluation, or for an opening conversation. They would be delighted to make your acquaintance.

 

The 55th Annual ABAA New York Antiquarian Book Fair will be held on April 9th, 2015 - April 12th, 2015 at The Park Avenue Armory, 643 Park Avenue, at 67th Street, New York City. The preview is Thursday, April 9rd from 5-9 p.m. The fair hours are Friday noon-8pm, Saturday noon-7pm and Sunday noon-5pm.

 

To contact Greg Talbot or Michael von der Linn:

The Lawbook Exchange, Ltd.
33 Terminal Avenue, Clark, New Jersey 07066-1321

Web: www.lawbookexchange.com

E-Mail: law@lawbookexchange.com

 

Tel: 732-382-1800; Toll Free 800-422-6686 in USA or Canada
Fax: 732-382-1887

On Facebook: www.facebook.com/LawbookExchange

On Twitter: www.twitter.com/LawbookExchange

Rare Book Monthly

  • Forum Auctions
    Fine Books, Manuscripts and Works on Paper
    30th May 2024
    Forum, May 30: Potter (Beatrix). Complete set of four original illustrations for the nursery rhyme, 'This pig went to market', 1890s. £60,000 to £80,000.
    Forum, May 30: Dante Alighieri.- Lactantius (Lucius Coelius Firmianus). Opera, second edition, Rome, 1468. £40,000 to £60,000.
    Forum, May 30: Distilling.- Brunschwig (Hieronymus). Liber de arte Distillandi de Compositis, first edition of the so-called 'Grosses Destillierbuch', Strassburg, 1512. £22,000 to £28,000.
    Forum, May 30: Eliot (T.S.), W. H. Auden, Ted Hughes, Philip Larkin, Robert Lowell, Seamus Heaney, Ted Hughes, & others. A Personal Anthology for Eric Walter White, 60 autograph poems. £20,000 to £30,000.
    Forum, May 30: Cornerstone of French Enlightenment Philosophy.- Helvetius (Claude Adrien). De l'Esprit, true first issue "A" of the suppressed first edition, Paris, 1758. £20,000 to £30,000.
    Forum Auctions
    Fine Books, Manuscripts and Works on Paper
    30th May 2024
    Forum, May 30: Szyk (Arthur). The Haggadah, one of 125 copies, this out-of-series, Beaconsfield Press, 1940. £15,000 to £20,000.
    Forum, May 30: Fleming (Ian). Casino Royale, first edition, first impression, 1953. £15,000 to £20,000.
    Forum, May 30: Japan.- Ryusui (Katsuma). Umi no Sachi [Wealth of the Sea], 2 vol., Tokyo, 1762. £8,000 to £12,000.
    Forum, May 30: Computing.- Operating and maintenance manual for the BINAC binary automatic computer built for Northrop Aircraft Corporation 1949, Philadelphia, 1949. £8,000 to £12,000.
    Forum, May 30: Burmese School (probably circa 1870s). Folding manuscript, or parabaik, from the Court Workshop at the Royal Court at Manadaly, Burma, [c.1870s]. £8,000 to £12,000.
  • Ketterer Rare Books
    Auction May 27th
    Ketterer Rare Books, May 27:
    K. Marx, Das Kapital,1867. Dedication copy. Est: € 120,000
    Ketterer Rare Books, May 27:
    Latin and French Book of Hours, around 1380. Est: € 25,000
    Ketterer Rare Books, May 27:
    Theodor de Bry, Indiae Orientalis, 1598-1625. Est: € 80,000
    Ketterer Rare Books
    Auction May 27th
    Ketterer Rare Books, May 27:
    Breviary, Latin manuscript, around 1450-75. Est: € 10,000
    Ketterer Rare Books, May 27:
    G. B. Piranesi, Vedute di Roma, 1748-69. Est: € 60,000
    Ketterer Rare Books, May 27:
    K. Schmidt-Rottluff, Arbeiter, 1921. Orig. watercolour on postcard. Est: € 18,000
    Ketterer Rare Books
    Auction May 27th
    Ketterer Rare Books, May 27:
    Breviarium Romanum, Latin manuscript, 1474. Est: € 20,000
    Ketterer Rare Books, May 27:
    C. J. Trew, Plantae selectae, 1750-73. Est: € 28,000
    Ketterer Rare Books, May 27:
    M. Beckmann, Apokalypse, 1943. Est: € 50,000
    Ketterer Rare Books
    Auction May 27th
    Ketterer Rare Books, May 27:
    Ulrich von Richenthal, Das Concilium, 1536. Est: € 9,000
    Ketterer Rare Books, May 27:
    I. Kant, Critik der reinen Vernunft, 1781. Est: €12,000
    Ketterer Rare Books, May 27:
    Arbeiter-Illustrierte Zeitung (AIZ) / Die Volks-Illustrierte (VI), 1932-38. Est: €8,000
  • Sotheby’s
    Modern First Editions
    Available for Immediate Purchase
    Sotheby’s, Available Now: Winston Churchill. The Second World War. Set of First-Edition Volumes. 6,000 USD
    Sotheby’s, Available Now: A.A. Milne, Ernest H. Shepard. A Collection of The Pooh Books. Set of First-Editions. 18,600 USD
    Sotheby’s, Available Now: Salvador Dalí, Lewis Carroll. Alice's Adventures in Wonderland. Finely Bound and Signed Limited Edition. 15,000 USD
    Sotheby’s
    Modern First Editions
    Available for Immediate Purchase
    Sotheby’s, Available Now: Ian Fleming. Live and Let Die. First Edition. 9,500 USD
    Sotheby’s, Available Now: J.K. Rowling. Harry Potter Series. Finely Bound First Printing Set of Complete Series. 5,650 USD
    Sotheby’s, Available Now: Ernest Hemingway. A Farewell to Arms. First Edition, First Printing. 4,200 USD

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