Rare Book Monthly

Articles - December - 2004 Issue

Bill McBride Publications on Book Collecting: A Review

Mcbride

McBride publications of book collecting.


by Renée Magriel Roberts

As any book collector or seller well knows, properly identifying first editions can be more art than science. There are many similarities, but no standardized way in which publishers communicate the edition (if at all!) to the book consumer, and with the myriad of people selling books now on the internet, the simple designation, "first edition" on a listing is no guarantee whatsoever that what you are buying is the real thing.

With this problem in mind, and in the spirit of improving my bookselling practice, I thought it might be interesting to review three books currently available from Bill McBride: A Pocket Guide to the Identification of First Editions. Sixth Revised Edition. Hartford, CT: McBride/Publisher, 2000, $15.95; Book Collecting for Fun & Profit: Building a Book Collection Building a Book Business. Second Edition. Hartford: McBride/Publisher, 2002, $12.95; and Points of Issue: A Compendium of Points of Issue of Books by 19th-20th Century Authors. Third edition. Hartford: McBride/Publisher, (1996), no publication date, $12.95.

The original edition of Building was in 1996; one would expect that the world has changed since then. McBride did a revision to include the Internet, and which he advertises as addressing Internet buying and selling, pricing, and the changes inherent in moving from the physical to the virtual bookstore, as well as a tantalizing reference to changing "browsing" (meaning trolling for books in a physical store to find unknown ones of interest, or books marked at low prices) as we know it.

Sounded interesting, but on opening Building it was clear that this book was aimed at the yard sale amateur, not the professional, nor is it up-to-date on current Internet practices, dangers and opportunities from any point of view. There are some useful little lists, such as "the states of a book, from manuscript to reprint" that explain terminology commonly used in book descriptions; a glossary of the parts of a book (some simple illustrations would have been helpful here!); how books are valued (simplistically). McBride still points to libraries as places to acquire bibliographies, completely ignoring all the contemporary Internet resources, including library catalogues, auction records (such as on www.americanaexchange.com) and specialized web sites. The advice for selling on the Internet (e.g. "post your best and see what happens") is silly and inadequate, and his advice for packing -- he recommends plastic bags covered with padded newspaper -- will, I suppose get the book from point A to B in one piece, but will not result in a well-presented product. There is virtually nothing on the global marketplace, nor on all of the various sites that are used in Internet selling, thin material on shipping, almost nothing on Internet fraud. No help here -- not even for the amateur seller.

Rare Book Monthly

  • <center><b>Sotheby’s<br>Collection of a Connoisseur:<br>History in Manuscript, Part 2<br>27 April 2021</b>
    <b>Sotheby’s, through Apr. 27:</b><br>Ronald Reagan. Series of 37 letters to Senator George Murphy, and related material, 1968-90. £50,000 to £70,000.
    <b>Sotheby’s, through Apr. 27:</b><br>Chaim Weizmann. Autograph letter signed, to General Sir Gilbert Clayton, 6 September 1918. £20,000 to £30,000.
    <b>Sotheby’s, through Apr. 27:</b><br>Sir Winston Churchill. Autograph letter signed, to Pamela, Lady Lytton, 1942. £20,000 to $30,000.
    <center><b>Sotheby’s<br>Collection of a Connoisseur:<br>History in Manuscript, Part 2<br>27 April 2021</b>
    <b>Sotheby’s, through Apr. 27:</b><br>Oscar Wilde. Five autograph letters signed, to Alsager Vian, 1887. £15,000 to £20,000.
    <b>Sotheby’s, through Apr. 27:</b><br>Napoleon I. Letter signed to Admiral Ganteaume, ordering the invasion of England, 22 August 1805. £10,000 to £15,000.
    <b>Sotheby’s, through Apr. 27:</b><br>Horatio, Viscount Nelson, and Emma Hamilton. Two autograph letter signed, to Catherine and George Matcham, 1805. £6,000 to £8,000.
  • <b>Swann Auction Galleries Apr 15:</b> Frances Palmer, <i>Battle of Buena Vista,</i> chromolithograph, New York, 1847. $4,000 to $6,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Apr 15:</b> Antonio Colmenero de Ledesma, the earliest publication concerned solely with chocolate, first edition, Madrid, 1631. $10,000 to $15,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Apr 15:</b> Romans Bernard, <i>An Exact View of the Late Battle at Charlestown, June 17th, 1775,</i> engraving, 1776. $40,000 to $60,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Apr 15:</b> <i>A Short Narrative of the Horrid Massacre in Boston,</i> English edition, London, 1770. $12,000 to $18,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Apr 15:</b> William Soule, <i>Lodge of the Plains Indians,</i> albumen print, 1872. $1,500 to $2,500.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Apr 15:</b> Manuscript document to enforce New York’s “Agreement of Non-Importation” during the heyday of the Sons of Liberty, New York, 1769. $10,000 to $15,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Apr 15:</b> Clarence Mackenzie, <i>Drummer Boy of the 13th Regiment of Brooklyn,</i> salt print with applied color, 1861. $3,000 to $4,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Apr 15:</b> Moses Lopez, <i>A Lunar Calendar,</i> first Jewish calendar published in America, Newport, RI, 1806. $3,000 to $4,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Apr 15:</b><br>The Book of Mormon, first edition, Palmyra, 1830. $30,000 to $40,000.
  • <center><b>Gonnelli Auction House<br>Books and Graphics<br>19th, 20th and 21st April 2021</b>
    <b><center>Gonnelli: Apr. 19-21<br>Books from XVI to XX Century</b>
    <b><center>Gonnelli: Apr. 20<br>Atlases and Maps</b
    <b><center>Gonnelli: Apr. 21<br> Veneto and Venice, a Selection of Books from the XVI to XX century</b>
    <b><center>Gonnelli: Apr. 20<br></b>Rossini Gioachino, Baguette de chef d'orchestre appartenuta a Gioachino Rossini, dono del Comune di Passy. 1500 €
    <b><center>Gonnelli: Apr. 21<br></b>Manetti Saverio, Storia naturale degli uccelli trattata con metodo. Cinque volumi. 1767. 18.000 €
    <b><center>Gonnelli: Apr. 21<br></b>Poe Edgar Allan, Double assassinat dans la rue morgue. Illustrations de Cura. 1946.
    <b><center>Gonnelli: Apr. 19-21<br>Books from XVI to XX Century</b>

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