Rare Book Monthly

Articles - September - 2015 Issue

The Auction Season Begins – Here's How to Search Them All

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Matches from a recent "Twain" search.

Fall is almost upon us, and this is the busiest time of year for auctions in the books and paper field. Over the next four months, we can expect to match or exceed last year's total of 165,000 lots offered. There will be many bargains, and there will also be occasions when a couple of competing bidders get carried away. Some very rare items will appear that you will never see again. As the season progresses, there will be times when as many as a dozen auctions take place on a single day. It is busy and exciting, but how do you find what you want amidst all the noise?

 

That's where the Rare Book Hub comes in. If you look at the top of this and most pages on this site, you will see a search box. Chances are, it says "Upcoming Auctions" to the left. If not, click the little arrow next to it and it will let you select "Upcoming Auctions" for the search.

 

Next, simply enter one or more keywords in the box and click "search." That's it! The more keywords you enter, the more targeted your search will be. If you want to see all lots pertaining to Mark Twain, entering "Twain" will suffice. If you only want Twain items pertaining to Huckleberry Finn, enter "Twain" and "Huckleberry" (or "Finn"). The search engine will find all listings that contain both of those words somewhere in the lot description, be it author, title, description, or other field. Use the minimum number of terms possible (one if you can) so you don't miss lots where a title has been shortened, or the auction house abbreviated some words.

 

The search takes only a fraction of a second to complete. You will be taken to a page that shows you all matches (click the image above to see one). It also provides a brief summary of key information about each lot, including author, title, year published, auction house, sale date and estimated price. You can then click the book's title to see the complete lot description. Alternatively, you can click the small rectangle after the title if you want to bring up the complete description in a separate tab/window. This way you can keep multiple lots open on your screen at the same time. If you see a small camera icon next to the title, it means that this listing contains an image.

 

What the Rare Book Hub search does is to search lots currently offered at over 150 auction houses around the world. Naturally, only some have auctions running at any given time, but that many houses offer books and paper at various times. To bid on an item, you will need to go to the individual auction house's website, and links are provided with each lot description. Virtually all auction houses now offer online and/or telephone bidding. The Rare Book Hub works like a Google search – helps you find what is available and then provides the link to take you there.

 

Once you have conducted an auction search, you will see two blue "records found" numbers just below the search box. One is for the Rare Book Transaction History, the other for Books for Sale. While looking for auction listings, the site is conducting two other searches in the background. These links will lead you to those results. Books for Sale is a database of listings from booksellers, matched by the same search criteria. Check them out. You may well find items more on target for what you seek being offered by a bookseller. The other is a link to listings in the Rare Book Transaction History, a database of over 5.8 million records, mostly priced auction records from the recent and distant past. Access to the transaction history requires a paid membership (at any level). Click the "Become a Member" link near the top right of the page to sign up. Access to the Upcoming Auctions and Books for Sale databases do not require membership. Access is free.

 

One other feature you will see, just above the list of matches, is a tab that says "Track this Record." This is an electronic notepad that lets you keep track of listings of interest. Select the items you want to remember (click the little box along the left edge of the listing) and click "Track this Record." The listing is saved. If it is an auction listing, the selling price will be posted to your saved record once the results are in. The little "?" (question mark) to the right of the "Track this Record" button tells you where to find these records. Since this is saving information specifically for you, naturally you will need to have an account and be logged in. However, there is no charge for this service either, so you can sign up for a free account as well as a paid one to use "Track this Record."

 

One final thought – come back here often to look for new listings. New ones will pop up most days of the week. Some auction houses only post lots a few days before a sale, so if you wait too long to return, you may miss the lot you have been seeking for years. You can expect momentum to rise through September and then continue at a very high pace until the middle of December, when most houses slow down for the holidays.

Rare Book Monthly

  • <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
  • <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.
  • <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.

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