Finding Lots at Auction Part II – An Even Easier Way

- by Michael Stillman

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A listing of Matchmaker matches (click image to enlarge).

Last month, we wrote about the easy way to find books and ephemera offered at over 200 auction houses that regularly or occasionally hold sales in the field (click here). Simply enter your keywords in the box near the top of this page and most others and click "Search" (note: if the heading to the left of the search box does not already say "Upcoming Auctions," click the little triangle next to it to select upcoming auctions). In less then a second, you will have your matches.

 

As easy as that is, you do have to enter your keywords once a day to find new matches. Even that is really simple... unless you have group of keywords you follow. If you have a dozen of them, it could be a bit tedious. Then, if you want to go back and look at the matches of interest later, you have to search all over again. So, here's an even easier way to find and remember lots of interest to you at all of these auctions.

 

The Rare Book Hub provides a free service called "Matchmaker." You will need to have an account with RBH and be logged in since we have to know who is to receive your matches. If you don't have one yet, sign up for a membership here. Any membership level will do, including a free one.

 

Next (while logged in), click the Matchmaker link on the top toolbar. The rest is essentially self-explanatory, but for those seeking a bit more understanding, here are a few tips.

 

1. Enter you keywords. Click "Add Keywords" and enter your terms. Tip – use as few as possible. It must match all words, so if you enter "Mark Twain" and the lot description says "M. Twain," you will not get a match. Try just "Twain." You may also enter a date range for publication, but this is not necessary. For example, if you collect Dickens, but only first or early editions, you might enter 1800-1900. That way you won't get flooded with later editions.

 

2. Testing keywords. Once you have entered keywords you can test them by clicking the "test" icon. That will show you current accumulated matches for each term. Those are the matches you will receive on the first day. On succeeding days, you will only receive matches for lots newly posted in the past 24 hours. You will find your matches (starting tomorrow) by clicking "Live Auctions" on the Matchmaker page.

 

3. Deleting matches. You may delete matches you do not wish to retain in two ways. You can either "Delete all" on the main Matchmaker screen, or individually from your list of matches.

 

4. Sales results. If you retain matches until the results are received, they will display the sales prices achieved once those results are posted.

 

5. Finally, here are a few extras. Returning to the main Matchmaker screen, click "Matchmaker Preferences." Would you like to receive a daily email alert when you receive new matches? This way, you won't have to go to Matchmaker everyday to check whether something new has come in. Click "yes" if you would like an email, "no" if you would not. The Preferences screen will also let you decide which type of matches you would like to receive (from auctions and/or dealer "Books for Sale" listings), how long you would like Matchmaker to retain your matches before they are automatically deleted (default is 7 days but can be extended to 45), and which fields you want matched (you will probably want to match all).

 

6. Books for Sale and eBay. "Books for Sale" are listings by participating dealers. You will receive matches of these too unless you turn them off in Matchmaker Preferences. You may also obtain matches from eBay listings, but this requires membership at the Octavo or Folio level.