• <b>Bonhams Skinner, Jan. 23 – Feb. 2:</b> [Black Sun Press] Proust, Marcel, 47 Unpublished Letters from Marcel Proust to Walter Berry, Paris: The Black Sun Press, 1930. $400 to $600.
    <b>Bonhams Skinner, Jan. 23 – Feb. 2:</b> Williams, William Carlos (1883-1963), <i>Spring and All,</i> first edition, Paris: Contact Publishing Co., 1923. $400 to $600.
    <b>Bonhams Skinner, Jan. 23 – Feb. 2:</b> Washington, George (1732-1799), Autograph Letter Signed. $10,000 to $15,000.
    <b>Bonhams Skinner, Jan. 23 – Feb. 2:</b> Poe, Edgar Allan (1809-1849), Autograph Letter Signed. $30,000 to $50,000.
    <b>Bonhams Skinner, Jan. 23 – Feb. 2:</b> Thoreau, Henry David (1817-1862), Autograph Manuscript. $3,000 to $5,000.
    <b>Bonhams Skinner, Jan. 23 – Feb. 2:</b> [Paris Commnue], Photograph album. $1,500 to $2,500.
    <b>Bonhams Skinner, Jan. 23 – Feb. 2:</b> Fleming, Ian (1908-1964), <i>Casino Royale,</i> first edition, London: Jonathan Cape, 1953. $3,000 to $4,000.
    <b>Bonhams Skinner, Jan. 23 – Feb. 2:</b> Audubon, John James and the Rev. John Bachman, <i>The Quadrupeds of North America,</i> New York: V.G. Audubon, 1849, 1851, 1854. $4,000 to $6,000.
    <b>Bonhams Skinner, Jan. 23 – Feb. 2:</b> Lewis, C.S. (1898-1963), <i>The Voyage of the Dawn Treader,</i> first edition, London: Geoffrey Bles Ltd, 1952. $600 to $800.
    <b>Bonhams Skinner, Jan. 23 – Feb. 2:</b> [Bhagavad Gita] Wilkins, Charles, trans., <i>The Bhagvat-Geeta, or Dialogues of Kreeshna and Arjoon…,</i> first edition, London: Printed for C. Nourse, 1785. $700 to $1,000.
    <b>Bonhams Skinner, Jan. 23 – Feb. 2:</b> Goethe, Johann Wolfgang von, <i>Faust: Eine Tragodie von Goethe,</i> Hammersmith: Printed by T.J. Cobden-Sanderson & Emery Walker at the Doves Press, 1906-1910. $800 to $1,200.
  • <b><center>University Archives<br>Rare Manuscripts, Books & Sports Memorabilia<br>February 1, 2023</b>
    <b>University Archives, Feb. 1:</b> Thomas Paine ALS Confirming Christmas Eve Attack Likely Based on Anti-Christianity, “The account you heard of a man firing into my house is true.” $24,000 to $35,000.
    <b>University Archives, Feb. 1:</b> George Washington Gives a Horse and Guns to His Loyal Guard 10 Days Before Resigning as Commander-in-Chief. $20,000 to $30,000.
    <b>University Archives, Feb. 1:</b> John Hancock ALS, “General Howe is bent on coming here” - Troops, Martha Washington, & 1777 Continental Congress, to Wife Dolly! $20,000 to $30,000.
    <b><center>University Archives<br>Rare Manuscripts, Books & Sports Memorabilia<br>February 1, 2023</b>
    <b>University Archives, Feb. 1:</b> Abraham Lincoln Boldly and Fully Signs Appointment of Consul Who Would Facilitate Bond Sales in Europe Financing Civil War. $6,000 to $7,000.
    <b>University Archives, Feb. 1:</b> The Rarest of Dual Signed Kennedy Items! 1963 Christmas Card with "Blessed Christmas" Removed at the Last Minute for Kennedy's Jewish Friends. $15,000 to $20,000.
    <b>University Archives, Feb. 1:</b> George Gershwin Signed Contract for 1st Production of <i>Porgy and Bess,</i> Also Signed by Dubose Heyward & Ira Gershwin, Historic! $15,000 to $20,000.
    <b><center>University Archives<br>Rare Manuscripts, Books & Sports Memorabilia<br>February 1, 2023</b>
    <b>University Archives, Feb. 1:</b> Einstein Signed, “Two years after the fall of the German Goyim” 1st Ed. of <i>Mein Weltbild.</i> $12,000 to $14,000.
    <b>University Archives, Feb. 1:</b> Walt Disney <i>Fantasia</i>-Era Boldly Signed TLS Re: "Special Effects Department," PSA Certified Authentic & With Phil Sears COA. $6,000 to $7,000.
    <b>University Archives, Feb. 1:</b> 1996-97 Michael Jordan Chicago Bulls Home Game-Worn Jersey Showcasing "Light" Evident Use, MEARS A5. $6,000 to $7,000.
    <b><center>University Archives<br>Rare Manuscripts, Books & Sports Memorabilia<br>February 1, 2023</b>
    <b>University Archives, Feb. 1:</b> Wayne Gretzky’s 1994 All-Star Used Game Jersey, Inscribed to Former MLB Player! $4,500 to $5,500.
    <b>University Archives, Feb. 1:</b> <i>The Astronauts</i> Signed by All 7 Mercury Astronauts! $4,000 to $5,000.
    <b>University Archives, Feb. 1:</b> Fabulous Edison, Firestone, Burroughs Signed Journal With 44 Original Photos, Very Rare. $4,000 to $5,000.
  • <b>Il Ponte, Jan. 31:</b> BLAEU, Joannes and Martinus MARTINI - <i>Theatrum orbis terrarum, sive Novus Atlas. Pars sexta. Novus Altas Sinensis.</i> Amsterdam: Blaeu, 1655. €8.000 to €12.000.
    <b>Il Ponte, Jan. 31:</b> ORTELIUS, Abraham - <i>Theatrum orbis terrarum.. Nomenclator ptolemaicus.</i> Antwerp: Christopher Plantin, 1579. €10.000 to €15.000.
    <b>Il Ponte, Jan. 31:</b> PIRANESI, Giovanni Battista - <i>Carceri d'invenzione.</i> [Rome: G.B. Piranesi, second half of the 18th century]. €20.000 to €30.000.
  • <center><b>California International Antiquarian Book Fair<br>February 10-12, 2023<br>Pasadena Convention Center<br> abaa.org/cabookfair
    <center><b>California International Antiquarian Book Fair<br>February 10-12, 2023<br>Pasadena Convention Center<br> abaa.org/cabookfair
    <center><b>California International Antiquarian Book Fair<br>February 10-12, 2023<br>Pasadena Convention Center<br> abaa.org/cabookfair
    <center><b>California International Antiquarian Book Fair<br>February 10-12, 2023<br>Pasadena Convention Center<br> abaa.org/cabookfair
    <center><b>California International Antiquarian Book Fair<br>February 10-12, 2023<br>Pasadena Convention Center<br> abaa.org/cabookfair
    <center><b>California International Antiquarian Book Fair<br>February 10-12, 2023<br>Pasadena Convention Center<br> abaa.org/cabookfair
    <center><b>California International Antiquarian Book Fair<br>February 10-12, 2023<br>Pasadena Convention Center<br> abaa.org/cabookfair
    <center><b>California International Antiquarian Book Fair<br>February 10-12, 2023<br>Pasadena Convention Center<br> abaa.org/cabookfair
    <center><b>California International Antiquarian Book Fair<br>February 10-12, 2023<br>Pasadena Convention Center<br> abaa.org/cabookfair
    <center><b>California International Antiquarian Book Fair<br>February 10-12, 2023<br>Pasadena Convention Center<br> abaa.org/cabookfair
    <center><b>California International Antiquarian Book Fair<br>February 10-12, 2023<br>Pasadena Convention Center<br> abaa.org/cabookfair

Rare Book Monthly

Articles - May - 2015 Issue

In New York: A Rare Book Week

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For those lucky enough to visit New York City during rare book fair week the city was transformed [in a small but very good way] into the center of book collecting in the western hemisphere for seven straight days.  I was there and it was a terrific experience.

There were three fairs, the largest the New York Antiquarian Book Fair, the American Antiquarian Booksellers’ Association’s event that invites their counterpart ILAB, the International League of Antiquarian Booksellers members to participate.  One of the other events was actually two, the Manhattan Vintage Book & Ephemera Fair and the Fine Press Book Fair, sharing space at the Church of St. Ferrer on Lexington at 66th a short walk from the main fair on Park at 67th.  The other event, by the organizer of the Boston Shadow fair, is the Uptown Book Fair, a 5-minute cab or brisk 15-minute walk straight up Park at 83rd.  The NYABF is a four-day affair beginning on Thursday the 9th at 5:00 pm and continuing, with changing hours each day, through to Sunday at 5:00 pm.  The auxiliary fairs are one-day Saturday events.  In their nine hours they will try to do for a few hours what the main fair does for four days.

The main fair always attracts thousands of visitors.  It’s the most important antiquarian book fair in the world and widely acknowledged as best in class.  ILAB is a international umbrella organization consisting of the national rare book seller associations of all countries including the United States.  Every year they provide a strong minority of the show’s 200+ exhibitors.

Opening night, Thursday the 9th at 5:00 pm, it’s show time.  It has been bigger in the past but it is still very big.  The tension is palpable because a lot is at stake.  Dealers have spent roughly $5,000 for their 8’ x 10’ [and more than $12,000 if they have invested for the largest, better positioned] temporary real estate in the old but still elegant Armory that dates to the American Civil War.  The show is important.  Shops have been closing at the speed of light and this fair is now one of the few bright spots in rare book retailing.

Today there will be three whales in the room.  These are the big buyers who, for some, are the make or break guys.  One whale a few years ago is said to have bought from more than forty dealers.  That’s buying at the pace of “I’ll take this” and “I’ll take that” while walking by.  People in the throes of bibliomania [and I am one] applaud such passion, our wives meantime suggest we seek help.  And we agree.  We’ll need help to carry everything out.

I do find two interesting items at Boston Rare Maps.  Michael Buehler [and a partner] have a pair of 18th century manuscript maps of Albany and nearby places.  The larger of the two is very large but unsigned, the smaller map, apparently in the same hand, is signed.  I revisit several times and have three others casually view the material.  They are asking $85,000.  These maps are very appealing.

Friday is an up and down day and some dealers begin to get antsy.  Their booth rent is about $200 an hour and a few are running the numbers and asking themselves the world’s second oldest question:  why am I here?  For dealers signing up for such shows, it’s like jumping out of a plane.  It’s a short trip, the landing softened only by sales, and it takes about $25,000 in receipts for American and Canadian dealers to land without a bruise.  For European, South American and Australian dealers the breakeven is a bit higher.  A few invariably make no sales.

But dealers also measure success in other ways.  The opportunity to buy from other dealers before the doors open is often successful and meeting potential clients once the show opens also precious.  So looking at shows exclusively on the basis of immediate sales is often misleading.  Dealers year after year sign up for these shows because they are very successful.

On Saturday morning all eyes turn to the shadow fairs.  At the big fair there are over two hundred exhibitors, at the shadow fairs between them, another hundred.  These smaller fairs are quick.  The main fair will open on Saturday at noon and quickly draw many of the interested away so discounts are immediate and deep.  The steady cadence of “I’ll give you” and “would you consider?” is encouraging.  These booths cost about $1,000 for the 9-hour day.  That’s $111 an hour for the entire day, double that for the busy morning when most sales are completed.  For many exhibitors, including some ABAA members who exhibit at both the main fair and one of the shadow fairs, these fairs work out.  This said, the Manhattan Vintage Book Fair is not exclusively a book event.   There used, rare book and ephemera dealers are on one side, modern [as in new] material dealers on the other.  Like oil and water the grey haired folks are on the old book side, the slimmer, younger folks both buying and selling on the other.  I would love to see the DNA of these two groups.  They are different species.

The New York City Book and Ephemera Fair on 83rd is in its first year.  Organized by Marvin Getman he has brought a group of New England dealers that exhibit with him in Boston in November.  But neither he nor his dealers, although new to New York, are turnips fresh fallen off a truck.  The line outside for the 8:00 am opening is long, those about to enter expectant.  Within an hour or so many are smiling and hailing cabs for the other shadow fair.

By Sunday morning the shadow fairs are history, the unsold material back in boxes and on the road home.  I’m up early because there is an interesting auction in Freehold, New York at Carlsen Galleries.  That’s a place near to the Catskill Mountains and they are selling 48 lots of mostly Hudson Valley and Catskill Mountain Currier & Ives prints.  I’m interested and registered to bid by 9:30 am.  A few minutes before 10:00 the phone rings and I’ll bid by phone on about half.  Forty-five minutes later I have bought 13 lots for $10,045.25 [all in].  For a collector of Hudson Valley material this is a nice buy.

An hour later the New York Antiquarian Book Fair begins its final day.  In deference to religions and hangovers the show doesn’t open until noon.  We are now approaching the finish line; the well heeled are already out in the Hamptons, the stalwarts on both sides of the counters, the gatekeepers and the emotionally ensnared expressing in their body language desire or contempt.  Sunday is liar’s poker played under an expiring clock.

By the end of the day the votes and totals are in.  In Europe they disclose such numbers.  In America they extrapolate, extend, divide and multiply according to whether they are buying or selling.  Everyone claims to win and I hope it is so.

On Monday Bonhams, a few blocks away, will sell some interesting material.  An Alan Turing notebook of computations he developed to solve the enigma code [as seen and explained recently in The Imitation Game], brings a million big ones and the sale overall $2.6 million.  In the afternoon I go downtown to Swann’s at 104 E. 25th Street.  They have an early Fishkill [New York] imprint of the first printing of the New York State constitution.  The copy looks like Mohammed Ali had it in his back pocket when he fought Joe Frazier in Manila.  Nevertheless I will try.  I give my bid to Bill Reese whose RHM will execute the bid the next day.

Twenty-four hours later I tie for first but get there second.  My max bid is $2,200.  Someone else takes it home.

In the afternoon I go up to 87th Street to view the Doyle New York sale of a portion of the library of the New York Bar Association.  There are two lots, 20 and 31, that include material relating to Poughkeepsie and Fishkill.  They are very old, complex and to some extent infirm.  I tell Bill to go as far as he feels appropriate.  On Wednesday I buy them for $5,750 plus the house commission.  These are nice buys.  I’m in the auction room observing and the chemistry between bidders is complex.

On Friday I’m back home in San Francisco and speaking to Rick Stattler at Swann’s about their Tuesday sale.  He mentions that an 1807 bound volume of the Hudson, New York magazine, the Balance and Repository failed to sell.  He offers it to me at the start price, $200, and I take it.

Two days later I bid on lot 134 at the Arader Galleries Sale on Live Auctioneers, The Age of European & American Exploration.  The lot is two small Hudson River watercolors.  I bid to $900, they sell for $1,500.  Graham Arader is one of the few American dealers determined to establish his own auction house.  He will succeed but it takes more than ambition and material.  It takes time.

The only possibility still open is the two manuscript maps of Albany and the surrounding area that I saw in the Boston Rare Maps booth.  The larger map is very detailed but unsigned, the smaller map signed and seemingly in the same hand and dated.  Price is the issue and I can’t quite make it work.  Someone else will though.  They are very nice.

So that’s it.  Three book fairs and a handful of auctions, all compelling.  If you were there I hope you found what you came for.  If not, there is always next year.  It’s very worthwhile.

Rare Book Monthly

  • <b>Old World Auctions (Feb 8):</b> Lot 817. Bellin's complete five-volume maritime atlas with 581 maps & plates (1764). $24,000 to $30,000.
    <b>Old World Auctions (Feb 8):</b> Lot 325. An early and important map of the Republic of Texas (1837). $11,000 to $14,000.
    <b>Old World Auctions (Feb 8):</b> Lot 45. De Bry's early map of North Pole depicting Willem Barentsz' expedition (1601). $3,500 to $4,250.
    <b>Old World Auctions (Feb 8):</b> Lot 154. Poignant map of the United States documenting lynchings (1931). $250 to $325.
    <b>Old World Auctions (Feb 8):</b> Lot 457. Extremely rare matching set of pro-German propaganda from WWI (1914). $2,000 to $2,400.
    <b>Old World Auctions (Feb 8):</b> Lot 815. Homann's world atlas featuring 110 maps in contemporary color (1751). $14,000 to $16,000.
    <b>Old World Auctions (Feb 8):</b> Lot 60. Miniature pocket globe based on Herman Moll (1785). $3,500 to $4,500.
    <b>Old World Auctions (Feb 8):</b> Lot 8. Visscher's rare carte-a-figures world map (1652). $14,000 to $16,000.
    <b>Old World Auctions (Feb 8):</b> Lot 158. Matching satirical maps of the US by McCandlish: "Ration Map" & "Bootlegger's Map" (1944). $3,000 to $4,000.
    <b>Old World Auctions (Feb 8):</b> Lot 820. One of the finest English atlases of the early 19th century (1808). $4,750 to $6,000.
    <b>Old World Auctions (Feb 8):</b> Lot 59. Important milestone in preparation for 1969 moon landing (1963). $750 to $900.
    <b>Old World Auctions (Feb 8):</b> Lot 805. Superb bible leaf with image of crucifixion of Jesus with gilt highlights (1518). $800 to $950.
  • <center><b>Potter & Potter Auctions<br>Fine Books & Manuscripts,<br>including Americana<br>February 16, 2023</b>
    <b>Potter & Potter, Feb. 16:</b> [KELMSCOTT PRESS]. CHAUCER, Geoffrey. <i>The Works…now newly imprinted.</i> Edited by F.S. Ellis. Hammersmith: Kelmscott Press, 1896. $100,000 to $125,000.
    <b>Potter & Potter, Feb. 16:</b> [EINSTEIN, Albert (1879–1955)]. –– ORLIK, Emil (1870–1932), artist. Lithograph signed (“Albert Einstein”). N.p., 1928. $10,000 to $15,000.
    <b>Potter & Potter, Feb. 16:</b> TOLKIEN, John Ronald Reuel. <i>[The Lord of the Rings trilogy:] The Fellowship of the Ring.</i> 1954. –– <i>The Two Towers.</i> 1954. –– <i>The Return of the King.</i> 1955. $10,000 to $15,000.
    <b>Potter & Potter, Feb. 16:</b> CLEMENS, Samuel Langhorne ("Mark Twain") and Charles Dudley WARNER. <i>The Gilded Age: A Tale of Today.</i> Hartford and Chicago, 1873. $6,000 to $8,000.
    <b>Potter & Potter, Feb. 16:</b> LOVECRAFT, Howard Phillips. <i>Beyond the Wall of Sleep.</i> Collected by August Derleth and Donald Wandrei. Sauk City, WI: Arkham House, 1943. $2,000 to $3,000.
  • <b><center>Swann Auction Galleries<br>View Our Record Breaking Results</b>
    <b>Swann:</b> Gideon Welles, <i>Extensive archive of personal and family papers of Lincoln’s Secretary of the Navy,</i> 1791-1914. Sold September 29 — $281,000.
    <b>Swann:</b> Charles Addams, <i>Rock Climbers,</i> cartoon for <i>The New Yorker,</i> watercolor, ink and gouache, 1954. Sold December 15 — $37,500.
    <b>Swann:</b> Charlotte Brontë, <i>Jane Eyre. An Autobiography. Edited by Currer Bell,</i> three volumes, first edition, 1847. Sold June 16, 2022 — $23,750.
    <b>Swann:</b> Geoffrey Chaucer, <i>The Workes of Geffray Chaucer Newlye Printed,</i> London, 1542. Sold October 13 — $106,250.
    <b><center>Swann Auction Galleries<br>View Our Record Breaking Results</b>
    <b>Swann:</b> Dorothea Lange, <i>Migrant Mother, Nipomo, California (Destitute pea pickers in California. Mother of seven children. Age 32),</i> silver print, 1936. Sold October 20 — $305,000.
    <b>Swann:</b> George Washington, Autograph Document Signed, with two manuscript plat maps in holograph, 1751. Sold October 27 — $37,500.
    <b>Swann:</b> Winfred Rembert, <i>Winfred Rembert and Class of 1959,</i> dye on carved & tooled leather, 1999. Sold October 6 — $233,000.
    <b>Swann:</b> M.C. Escher, <i>Relativity,</i> lithograph, 1953. Sold November 3 — $81,250.
  • <b><center>Sotheby’s<br>Original Film Posters<br>27 January - 10 February 2023</b>
    <b>Sotheby’s, Jan. 27-Feb. 10:</b> Vertigo (1958), poster, US. The ultimate poster on this classic Hitchcock title, one of three known examples. £40,000 to £60,000.
    <b>Sotheby’s, Jan. 27-Feb. 10:</b> Lawrence of Arabia (1962), roadshow poster, US. £8,000 to £12,000.
    <b>Sotheby’s, Jan. 27-Feb. 10:</b> Star Wars (1977), style C poster, printer's proof, US. £7,000 to £10,000.
    <b>Sotheby’s, Jan. 27-Feb. 10:</b> The Navigator/ La Croisiere du Navigator (1924), re-release poster (1931), French. £5,000 to £8,000.
    <b>Sotheby’s, Jan. 27-Feb. 10:</b> Bullitt (1968), special test poster, US. £3,000 to £5,000.

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