Rare Book Monthly

Articles - March - 2017 Issue

The ABAA Fair at Oakland has now come and gone

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Smiles in Oakland

One hundred and seventy three dealers in the books, manuscript, maps and ephemera categories gathered at the recent 3 day ABAA Fair in Oakland to exhibit and offer material to collectors, institutions and other dealers.  It was a solid affair, it being the second time that the ABAA has exhibited at the Oakland Marriott.  The first was two years ago and the next, already scheduled, will be held in another two years.  Michael Hackenburg, Chairman of the ABAA in Northern California, expressed satisfaction with how the location is working out.

 

The fair itself is part of the larger world and that world is in flux.  Rare collectible material on paper generally falls outside of the concept of necessary.  Nevertheless, through thick and thin, such fairs prevail, in bad years survive and in good years prosper.  The Sturm und Drang of Washington this year may have been a negative factor and the aging of the collecting audience may also have played a part.  As well, many overseas dealers exhibit at the ABAA fairs in California and both BREXIT and travel restrictions may have reduced their enthusiasm.  Whatever the reasons, according to one member of the exhibition committee the show had about 10% fewer exhibitors and 5% fewer attendees.  Those who attended however were not disappointed.  The Oakland fair had very good material and the location was superb.

 

Dealers generally reported good sales, while among the 173 participants the specific outcomes ranged from great, to good, not-so-good and even a few disappointing.   The random chance connection of what is brought and who attends is always important.

 

The show also lost three exhibitors to a new California law that imposes on autograph dealers and other dealers selling autographed documents and books valued above $5.00, the requirement that they report to the buyer the name of the person or institution the dealer acquired the item from.  Mike Stillman wrote about this in the January issue of Rare Book Monthly [click here].

 

Timing was another problem. The New York Book Fair, this year March 9-12, is a month earlier than in the recent past thereby creating conflicts for participants who exhibit at other shows and faced either/or decisions. There were scattered reports that such conflicts reduced participation.

 

One observer described the Oakland Fair as more like a regional fair this year a la Seattle than the national fair this show had grown to be in the past decade.  This show is necessary, important, even vital to the field.  I and everyone else who is interested in the future of book collecting will be hoping that political braggadocio, visa restrictions and weak economy do not derail the current fragile success.  There are things bigger than books but their impact on the thinking and culture of the educated world requires that such events thrive. 

Rare Book Monthly

  • <b>Swann Auction Galleries Illustration Art:</b> Eric Carle, <i>The Very Hungry Caterpillar,</i> hand-painted collage. Sold for a record $20,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Illustration Art:</b> Charles Addams, <i>Couple passing a giant bird house,</i> watercolor cartoon for <i>The New Yorker,</i> 1948. Sold for $16,250.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Illustration Art:</b> Miriam Troop, <i>Rain on Laundry Day,</i> oil on canvas, cover for <i>The Saturday Evening Post,</i> 1940. Sold for $40,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Illustration Art:</b> Rockwell Kent, <i>To All Fascists,</i> ink broadside for The League of American Writers, circa 1937. Sold for $6,500.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Illustration Art:</b> Jo Mielziner, <i>Pet Shop Drop,</i> backdrop design for <i>Pal Joey</i> on Broadway, 1940. Sold for a record $55,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Illustration Art:</b> Lee Brown Coye, acrylic cover illustration for the 25th anniversary of <i>Weird Tales,</i> 1944. Sold for $18,750.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Illustration Art:</b> Virgil Finlay, <i>The Outsider & Others,</i> pen & ink dust jacket illustration for H.P. Lovecraft's book, 1939. Sold for $5,500.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Illustration Art:</b> Al Hirschfeld, <i>Paul Robeson as Othello,</i> illustration for <i>The New York Times,</i> 1942. Sold for $68,750
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Illustration Art:</b> Frederic Remington, pen & ink illustration for <i>A Scout with the Buffalo Soldiers</i> in <i>The Century</i> magazine, 1889. Sold for $17,500.
  • <b>Bonhams, Sep. 17:</b> EARLY AVIATION PHOTOGRAPHY ARCHIVE. Chronicling 20th century aviation from the earliest Wright Brothers images through commercial and military applications. $50,000 to $70,000.
    <b>Bonhams, Sep. 17:</b> FIRST TELEPHONE CALL TO THE MOON. Partial transcription signed by Apollo 11 astronauts and President Nixon. $20,000 to $30,000.
    <b>Bonhams, Sep. 17:</b> SPUTNIK-1 EMC/EMI LAB MODEL, 1957. Full scale vintage test model of the Sputnik-1 satellite, Moscow, [February, 1957]. $400,000 to $600,000.
    <b>Bonhams, Sep. 17:</b> Apollo 11 Beta cloth crew emblem, SIGNED BY THE ENTIRE APOLLO 11 CREW. $8,000 to $10,000.
    <b>Bonhams, Sep. 17:</b> GEMINI 1/8 SCALE MODEL. Rarely seen large-scale contractor's model. $3,000 to $5,000
    <b>Bonhams, Oct. 23:</b> SMITH, CHRISTOPHER WEBB. 1793-1871. <i>Indian Ornithology.</i> [Patna, India]: 1828. $50,000 to $80,000.
    <b>Bonhams, Oct. 23:</b> DUPRÉ, LOUIS. 1789-1837. <i>Voyage à Athènes et à Constantinople, ou Collection de portraits, vues et costumes grecs et ottomans.</i> Paris: Dondey-Dupré, 1825. $60,000 to $90,000.
    <b>Bonhams, Oct. 23:</b> ADAMS, JOHN. Autograph Letter Signed ("J Adams"), [to Dr. Perkins?] while recovering from his small pox inoculation, [late-April, 1764]. $30,000 to $50,000.
    <b>Bonhams, Oct. 23:</b> AUSTEN, JANE. Autograph Letter Signed ("J. Austen"), to her sister Cassandra, 4 pp, "Thursday – after dinner," [September 16, 1813,] Henrietta St. $80,000 to $120,000.
    <b>Bonhams, Oct. 23:</b> AUDUBON, JOHN JAMES. 1785-1851. <i>The Birds of America, from Drawings Made in the United States and Their Territories.</i> New York & Philadelphia: J.J. Audubon & J.B. Chevalier, 1840-1844. $20,000 to $30,000.
    <b>Bonhams, Oct. 23:</b> DODWELL, EDWARD. 1767-1832. <i>Views in Greece.</i> London: Rodwell and Martin, 1821. $20,000 to $30,000.
    <b>Bonhams, Oct. 23:</b> JAMES, JESSE. Autograph Letter Signed ("Jesse W. James"), to Mr. Flood demanding Flood retract spurious accusations, 3 pp, June 5, 1875. $200,000 to $300,000.

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