Rare Book Monthly

Articles - September - 2015 Issue

PBA Moves Uptown

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1233 Sutter, a block over from Van Ness in San Francisco

 

As the population in San Francisco increases, new buildings are being wedged into the available space.  So too these buildings are taller and their rents higher.  Internet madness has fully taken hold and the city’s residents and its businesses are forced to recalibrate their expectations of what will work.  Most hard pressed are the twenty somethings that are looking to buy a home.  These days paper millionaires are thick as cordwood and their appetite for renting right up there with their taste for castor oil.  They want to buy and almost certainly will, even if the prices are high.  These days asking prices are actually starting prices and bidding 10 to 20% over quite common.

 

San Francisco businesses have similar but not identical problems.  Businesses tend to rent and to have 5, 7, 10 and 20 year leases.  While these arrangements are in place their rents become progressively cheaper as the prices around them adjust to the market.  At lease termination many companies move or simply disappear.  Pacific Book Auction Galleries, long term tenants at 133 Kearny Street, wanting to stay in the city and facing a July deadline, executed an interesting and successful move uptown to 1233 Sutter, a scant mile to the west but sufficiently removed from the white hot downtown to get beyond the cauldron of writhing prices. In a somewhat fitting coincidence, the new premises are just across the street from the one-time location of Butterfield & Butterfield, the age-old San Francisco auction company that was absorbed by the British auctioneer Bonhams.

 

Their old 4th floor location was deep in the downtown, within walking distance of high-end shopping, entertainment and lawyers.  The new location is ground level, a stand-alone building, a block off Van Ness and a few blocks the other way from what was for many years a high crime area.  But that area is changing, multi-millionaire gentrification now reaching into every crack of what was until a few years ago transitional turf.  It’s a very smart move that assures the company’s continuing city presence and invites both consignors and bidders to visit.

 

Within the new space the section set aside for the auctions is limited as the high majority of bids now flow through the phones and over the Internet.  Sales will still occur here but the bids will arrive mostly from across town and from around the world.

 

They have been in the new space since July 1st and the transition is well underway, and in fact, although it is summer, the regular pace of sales continues.

 

Come fall the house will begin to sell the exceptional Warren Heckrotte collection of Rare Cartography, Exploration and Voyages, that will be dispersed in what is expected to be four sales over the next eight months.  I had a chance to view the material and saw some beautiful examples of important voyages, early maps, and other rarities. [link to pba press release]

 

So you’ll have good reason to stop by.  The new location has a nice feel and ample nearby parking and the material coming up for sale is very appealing.  It turns out both the management of PBA and Mr. Heckrotte have a good eye.  And that’s a good thing.  Just as book dealers move out of cities so too auction houses may.  But book auctions in San Francisco are a very old thing and PBA’s decision to remain here provides an ongoing vital link between past and future.

 

Link to the PBA site.

 

Pacific Book Auctions [PBA]

1233 Sutter Street

San Francisco, California 94105

415.989.2665

Rare Book Monthly

  • <b>Swann Auction Galleries Aug 5:</b> Charles Loupot, <i>Les Cigarettes Mekka,</i> 1919. $15,000 to $20,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Aug 5:</b> Plinio Codognato, <i>Cicli Fiat,</i> circa 1910. $12,000 to $18,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Aug 5:</b> L.N. Britton, <i>Warning! Consider the Possible Consequences,</i> c. 1917. $8,000 to $12,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Aug 5:</b> Leonardo Bistolfi, <i>Première Exposition Internationale des Arts Décoratifs Modernes,</i> 1902. $7,000 to $10,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Aug 5:</b> Leonetto Cappiello, <i>Paquet Pernot / Biscuits Pernot,</i> 1910. $4,000 to $6,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Aug 5:</b> Francesco Nonni, <i>Font Meo / Acqua Minerale Naturale,</i> 1924. $4,000 to $6,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Aug 5:</b> Frederick Winthrop Ramsdell, <i>American Crescent Cycles,</i> 1899. $3,000 to $4,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Aug 5:</b> <i>Be a Tight Wad! Own Something!</i> designer unknown, 1925. $2,000 to $3,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Aug 5:</b> Candido Aragonese de Faria, <i>Chamonix–Mont–Blanc,</i> c. 1910. $3,000 to $4,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Aug 5:</b> W.E.J., <i>Irishmen Avenge the Lusitania,</i> c. 1915. $2,000 to $3,000.
  • <center><b>Trillium Antique Prints & Rare Books<br>Fine Art<br>Antique Engravings & Lithographs<br>Works on Paper<br>Accepting bids until August 7</b>
    <b>Trillium, Aug. 7:</b> Maitres Affiches by MUCHA - Papier a cigarettes Job. 202. $5,000 to $10,000.
    <b>Trillium, Aug. 7:</b> De Bry - Map of the West Indies (including Florida, Cuba, Jamaica, Bahamas, Parts of Central & South America, Sea Monsters, Ships). $6,000 to $9,000.
    <b>Trillium, Aug. 7:</b> Gould - Short-billed Toucan (Ramphastos Brevicarinatus). $5,000 to $8,000.
    <center><b>Trillium Antique Prints & Rare Books<br>Fine Art<br>Antique Engravings & Lithographs<br>Works on Paper<br>Accepting bids until August 7</b>
    <b>Trillium, Aug. 7:</b> Redoute, Folio - Pale Iris - Iris flavescens. 375. $3,000 to $5,000.
    <b>Trillium, Aug. 7:</b> Gillray - Light Expelling Darkness or The Sun of the Constitution. $200 to $500.
    <b>Trillium, Aug. 7:</b> Gerard - Wild Hemp or Weed, Cannabis. 708. $150 to $450.
    <b>Trillium, Aug. 7:</b> Shaw & Nodder - Head of The Dodo. 165. $100 to $300.
  • <center><b>Sotheby’s<br>Your Own Sylvia:<br>Sylvia Plath’s letters to Ted Hughes and other items,<br>Property of Frieda Hughes<br>9 to 21 July 2021</b>
    <b>Sotheby’s, 9 – 21 July:</b> Sylvia Plath. Family photograph album ("The Hughes family Album"), 1957-1962. £30,000 to £50,000.
    <b>Sotheby’s, 9 – 21 July:</b> Sylvia Plath. Typed letter signed, to Ted Hughes, on "my own private doctrine", with a poem, 5 October 1956. £15,000 to £20,000.
    <b>Sotheby’s, 9 – 21 July:</b> Sylvia Plath. Pen and ink portrait of Ted Hughes, [1956]. £10,000 to £15,000.
    <center><b>Sotheby’s<br>Your Own Sylvia:<br>Sylvia Plath’s letters to Ted Hughes and other items,<br>Property of Frieda Hughes<br>9 to 21 July 2021</b>
    <b>Sotheby’s, 9 – 21 July:</b> Ted Hughes and Sylvia Plath. Joint autograph letter signed, to William and Edith Hughes, March 1960. £8,000 to £12,000.
    <b>Sotheby’s, 9 – 21 July:</b> Sylvia Plath and Ted Hughes. Photographic portrait by David Bailey, inscribed by Plath, 1961, and another press photo. £800 to £1,200.
    <b>Sotheby’s, 9 – 21 July:</b> Tarot de Marseille. Deck of cards owned by Sylvia Plath. £4,000 to £6,000.
    <b>Sotheby’s, 9 – 21 July:</b> Sylvia Plath and Ted Hughes. Pair of gold wedding rings. £6,000 to £8,000.

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