Rare Book Monthly

Articles - February - 2017 Issue

Daniel Crouch Rare Books Opens in New York

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Daniel Crouch Rare Books of 4 Bury Street, St. James, London has recently opened a shop in New York at 24 East 64th Street.  The firm is a specialist in antique atlases, maps, plans, sea charts and voyages dating from the fifteenth to the nineteenth centuries, and is a partnership founded by Daniel Crouch and Nick Trimming.

 

It is encouraging that a highly-respected dealer in the field is opening in New York, as the trend has long been established that shops in the Books, Manuscript, Map and Ephemera categories are closing.  Two, possibly three, trends are transforming the thinking.

 

The upper end of the market remains strong and wealth remains, and is expected to remain, very strong among the collecting community in the western world.  But the Crouch firm, as an English company, faces a changing economic environment following the national vote for Brexit.  No one seems entirely sure how the United Kingdom will be affected, perhaps for the better and perhaps not.  On the American side though there is palpable belief that the Trump era will see the wealthy become wealthier, thus further enabling them to pursue their bibliographic dreams.  This gives the Crouch decision to open in New York as Trump takes power and Prime Minister Theresa May of the United Kingdom lays out her exit strategy, a thread the needle feeling and seems a very solid strategy.

 

New York, now decades past its bibliographic peak in the 1920s, remains the center of book-collecting, as the world’s wealthiest find themselves preferring to live in and in close proximity to New York.  Voila.  DCRB is in London and now New York.  The next question may be; when will they open in Paris or Shanghai?

 

The Crouch approach is based on the application of very sophisticated knowledge applied to rare to impossibly rare exceptional examples.

 

The New York location will be open weekdays 10-6 and weekends by appointment.  Kate Hunter and Noah Goldrach will be the everyday faces of the fresh endeavor.  Daniel and Nick will be found on both sides of the Atlantic depending on the shows where the firm will be exhibiting.

 

They are members of the following trade associations:  The Antiquarian Bookseller’s Association [ABA]; The British Antique Dealers’ Association [BADA]; Confederation Internationale des Negociants en Oeuvre d’Art [CINOA]; The International League of Antiquarian Booksellers [ILAB]; The Society of London Art Dealers [SLAD]; and The European Fine Art Foundation [TEFAF].  Both Daniel and Nick are also both members of The Company of Art Scholars, Dealers, and Collectors.

 

So I asked Daniel for his view of the future of the field and the increasing importance of exceptional examples of the best books.  Here is what he has to say:

 

We specialize in maps, atlases, voyages and globes because that’s what interests us. We have resisted the temptation to expand beyond this into new areas because we believe it is our enthusiasm for, and knowledge of, the subject that our customers like. The slight exception to this is in the area of scientific instruments and celestial navigation – I’m fascinated by the “problem of cartography” (how to express a spherical globe onto a plane) and this interest led me to learn more about how maps are made, and the instruments used, and so we have extended into this area a bit over the years.  If you want to define our area of specialization it is this: we sell objects that answer the question “where am I?” in terms of both space and time.

 

We believe that the future is bright for maps and atlases for three main reasons:

 

  1. People’s awareness of “place” has increased over the years. We travel more, emigrate more, and encounter a greater number of maps than ever before. Think about it: how many maps do you see in a day on your smartphone? Every shop, restaurant, or news item is accompanied by a bit of cartography. This familiarity makes maps very accessible and personal. It’s really very easy to sell someone a map if it has their house on it!
  2. Cartography seems to have avoided the “brown furniture” problem. There is no doubt that people’s decorating tastes have changed. This has impacted negatively on many “traditional” antique dealers, and even book collecting suffers a bit from this – a lot of people don’t want cluttered bookshelves in their Starkitect home! Maps avoid this problem with their graphic clarity and suitability for display in contemporary picture frames. We made a decision about 6 years ago to stop using “antique” style frames and we’ve never looked back. In fact, I don’t remember the last time anyone asked me for a gilt frame.
  3. You are correct that we tend to concentrate on exceptional examples of the best books. This is because the rare book market has split in two. One part dealing in “books as objects” that are, for want of a better word, “trophies” for the 0.1%, and the other part in “books as collectibles” with a natural home on the internet. Most maps and atlases fall into the former category and, as it is very visually appealing, has a natural home in the fine art world as well as the book-collecting world. We find many more new collectors at fine art fairs than we do at book fairs.

 

The main challenge for modern book dealing – more, in my opinion, than finding great material - is finding new customers. The Internet is amazing if one knows what one wants, but it’s rubbish for giving people “the collecting bug”. We believe people have to see and touch works to appreciate and learn about them, which is why we have shops and exhibit at art fairs. The fairs are as important, if not more important, than the shops as I think, to a certain extent, collectors are hard-wired that way and almost can’t help themselves – it is, therefore, considerably easier to convert customers already interested in the arts than it is to convert a total neophyte.

 

It is no coincidence that we signed the lease on the New York shop the day after the Brexit vote, but that had less to do with the decision than the fact that there are few young dealers in New York, and in 5-10 years there could have been nowhere in this city to see maps and atlases out of captivity.

 

I am hopeful that recent political follies on both sides of the Atlantic are the death rattle of the last generation of protectionist nationalists, and not precursors of some dark future. I’m optimistic that technology and international free market trade are far stronger forces than the odd electoral disaster. Old maps and atlases help to reinforce this view – borders and nations are human constructs and move. The trend over time has been one towards expansion and inclusion, and driven more by economics than the myth of nation.

Rare Book Monthly

  • <b>Bonhams: Treasures from the Eric C. Caren Collection: How History Unfolds on Paper, Part VII (Online). March 6-14, 2019</b>
    <b>Bonhams, Mar 6-14:</b> Albert Einstein A remarkable letter on God in English, one of his most eloquent and quoted, 1 p, July 2, 1945. $100,000 to $150,000.
    <b>Bonhams, Mar 6-14:</b> Benjamin Lincoln's commission as Major General in the Continental Army, February 19th, 1777. $60,000 to $90,000.
    <b>Bonhams, Mar 6-14:</b> Broadside. A Poem Upon the Bloody Engagement That Was Fought on Bunker's-Hill. 1775. $15,000 to $25,000.
    <b>Bonhams, Mar 6-14:</b> Early, full printing of the Star-Spangled Banner in The Yankee, October 7, 1814. $8,000 to $12,000.
    <b>Bonhams, Mar 6-14:</b> Paul Revere. Engraving, “The Boston Massacre Perpetrated on March 5, 1770," in <i>Massachusett's Calendar 1772.</i> $8,000 to $12,000.
    <b>Bonhams: Treasures from the Eric C. Caren Collection: How History Unfolds on Paper, Part VII (Online). March 6-14, 2019</b>
    <b>Bonhams, Mar 6-14:</b> Earliest known newspaper coverage of Babe Ruth, "a St Mary's schoolboy," Baltimore, April 4, 1914. $6,000 to $9,000
    <b>Bonhams, Mar 6-14:</b> Franklin, Benjamin. <i>The Independent Whig.</i> First Magazine Published in America, Philadelphia: Keimer, 1723-4. $15,000 to $20,000
    <b>Bonhams, Mar 6-14:</b> Smith, Joseph. <i>The Book of Mormon.</i> Palmyra: Printed by E.B. Grandin for the Author, 1830. First printing. $40,000 to $60,000
    <b>Bonhams, Mar 6-14:</b> Last Words of Joseph Smith. Autograph Letter Signed from a Mormon disciple, conveying a contemporary account of the Prophet's final words, Nauvoo, July 27, 1844. $10,000 to $15,000
    <b>Bonhams, Mar 6-14:</b> John Brown's Body. Autograph Letter Signed from the daughter of John Brown attempting to arrange the return of her father's body, North Elba, Essex Co, NY, November 29, 1859. $4,000 to $6,000
    <b>Bonhams, Mar 6-14:</b> Powell Expedition. Autograph diary of Rhodes C. Allen kept during the Powell Expedition of 1868, June 29, 1868 - November 16, 1868. $20,000 to $40,000
  • <b>Bonhams, Mar 12:</b> Walt Whitman. <i>Leaves of Grass.</i> First edition, first issue, SIGNED in block letters by Whitman. 1855. $200,000 to $300,000
    <b>Bonhams, Mar 12:</b> Isaac Newton's copy of John Greave's <i>Pyramidographia,</i> London, 1646. $50,000 to $70,000
    <b>Bonhams, Mar 12:</b> Colonel John Mosby. Robert E. Lee's autograph letter to Samuel Cooper reporting on Mosby's exploits, with Cooper's autograph note ordering his appointment to Major.
    <b>Bonhams, Mar 12:</b> Gyula Halasz Brassai. Large archive of autograph and typed letters, over 260, to his family including his wife Gilberte, 1947-1978. $40,000 to $60,000
    <b>Bonhams, Mar 12:</b> Archive of drawings and letters from Harper Lee to Charles Carruth, including an inscribed first edition of <i>To Kill a Mockingbird.</i> $20,000 to $30,000
    <b>Bonhams, Mar 11:</b> VESALIUS, ANDREAS. 1514-1564. <i>De humani corporis fabrica libri septem.</i> Basel: Johannes Oporinus, June 1543. $300,000 to $500,000
    <b>Bonhams, Mar 11:</b> HARVEY, WILLIAM. 1578-1657. <i>De motu cordis & sanguinis in animalibus Anatomica Exercitatio.</i> Leiden: Joannis Maire, 1639. $25,000 to $35,000
    <b>Bonhams, Mar 11:</b> BERENGARIO DA CARPI, GIACOMO. 1460-1530. <i>Isagogae breves perlucide ac uberrimae in Anatomiam humani corporis.</i> Bologna: Benedictus Hectoris, 15 July 1523. $15,000 to $25,000
    <b>Bonhams NY, Mar 11:</b> FRANKLIN, BENJAMIN. 1706-1790. <i>Experiments and Observations on Electricity, made at Philadelphia in America…</i> London, 1769. $10,000 to $15,000
    <b>Bonhams NY, Mar 11:</b> BENIVIENI, ANTONIO. 1443-1502. <i>De abditis nonnullis ac mirandis morborum et sanationum causis.</i>Florence: Filippo Giunta, 1507. $8,000 to $12,000
  • <b>Swann Auction Galleries, Mar 7:</b> Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra, <i>El Ingenioso Hildalgo Don Quixote de la Mancha . . . Nueva Edición,</i> first Ibarra edition, Madrid, 1780. $8,000 to $12,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries, Mar 7:</b> Illuminated Prayer Book in Latin and French, France, 1530-40s. $20,000 to $30,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries, Mar 7:</b> Illuminated Book of Hours in Latin, France, mid-15th century. $15,000 to $20,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries, Mar 7:</b><br><i>Die Ernsthaffte Christenpflicht,</i> earliest known edition of the first complete Mennonite prayer book, 1708. $300 to $500.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries, Mar 7:</b> Georg Agricola, <i>De ortu & causis subterraneorum Lib V.,</i> first edition, Basel, 1546. $6,000 to $9,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries, Mar 7:</b> Frederick Ruysch, <i>Icon durae matris in concava [convexa] superficie visae,</i> with 2 mezzotints by Jan Ladmiral, first edition, Amsterdam, 1737. $4,000 to $6,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries, Mar 7:</b> Wilhelm Conrad Röntgen, <i>Eine Neue Art von Strahlen,</i> Würzburg, 1895. $3,000 to $5,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries, Mar 7:</b> Pietro Carrera, <i>Il Gioco de gli Scacchi,</i> first edition, Militello, 1617. $4,000 to $6,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries, Mar 7:</b> William Lithgow, <i>The Totall Discourse, of the Rare Adventures</i> [etc.], London, 1632. $2,000 to $3,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries, Mar 7:</b> Michel de Nostradamus, <i>The True Prophecies or Prognostications,</i> first complete edition in English, London, 1672. $2,500 to $3,500.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries, Mar 7:</b> Pseudo-Methodius, <i>De revelatione facta . . . beato Methodio,</i> Basel, 1504. $2,500 to $3,500.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries, Mar 7:</b> Hrabanus Maurus, <i>De laudibus sancte crucis opus,</i> Pforzheim, 1503. $1,000 to $2,000.
  • <b>Chiswick Auctions: Autographs & Memorabilia. February 28, 2019</b>
    <b>Chiswick Auctions, Feb 28:</b> Autograph album featuring signatures by prominent actors, politicians, musicians and authors, including Rudolph Valentino. £1,000 to £1,500
    <b>Chiswick Auctions, Feb 28:</b> An extremely rare working radio script for Crazy People No 29, the first series of <i>The Goon Show.</i> £600 to £800
    <b>Chiswick Auctions, Feb 28:</b> Manuscript prayer book, in German. 8vo, 1755 £800 to £1,200
    <b>Chiswick Auctions, Feb 28:</b> Italian Manuscript on Geometry, with diagrams, 18th century. £500 to £700
    <b>Chiswick Auctions: Ornithology, Zoology & Voyages. February 27, 2019</b>
    <b>Chiswick Auctions, Feb 27:</b> Thorburn (Archibald). Sparrowhawk, original watercolour & gouache, signed & dated lower right, 1917. £1,500 to £2,000
    <b>Chiswick Auctions, Feb 27:</b> Burton (Sir Richard Francis). <i>Personal Narrative of a Pilgrimage to El-Medinah and Meccah.</i> 3 vol., FIRST EDITION, 1855-56. £1,000 to £1,500
    <b>Chiswick Auctions, Feb 27:</b> [Mount (Richard) & Page (Thomas)]. <i>The English Pilot. Describing the Sea-Coasts…</i> 31 engraved maps, W. & J. Mount, T. Page, 1756 £4000 to £6000
    <b>Chiswick Auctions: Ornithology, Zoology & Voyages. February 27, 2019</b>
    <b>Chiswick Auctions, Feb 27:</b> D’apres De Mannevillette (Jean-Baptiste Nicolas Denis). <i>Le Neptune Oriental.</i> Paris & Brest, [1775 – 1781]. £10,000 to £15,000
    <b>Chiswick Auctions, Feb 27:</b> Loring (Josiah). Terrestrial Globe Containing all the Late Discoveries and Geographical Improvements. Boston, Gilman Joslin, 1846, £800 to £1,200
    <b>Chiswick Auctions, Feb 27:</b> Shelley (G. E., Capt.). <i>A Monograph of the Nectariniidae, or Family of Sun-birds,</i> FIRST EDITION, by the Author, 1876-80. £4,000 to £6,000

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