Rare Book Monthly

Articles - May - 2017 Issue

Results at Publicly Traded Scholium (Shapero Rare Books) "Stabilised" and "Improving"

After a rough first half of their fiscal year (year ending March 31, 2017), Scholium Group, parent of English bookseller Shapero Rare Books, reported conditions have stabilized and are now looking up. The second half was much better than the first. Scholium issued an interim report on their past year, which will be followed up later with complete annual results. Scholium operates Shapero and Scholium Trading, a division that joins with other dealers to trade jointly in very expensive books and art.

 

In the first half of their fiscal year, Scholium reported a loss of £239,000 (US $300,000). The primary culprit was Brexit. Sales tumbled as British buyers withdrew as a result of the uncertainty caused by Britain's withdrawal from the European Union. At the midpoint of their fiscal year, Scholium said sales were starting to rebound after a very poor start to the year. They noted that renewed interest was particularly notable from overseas buyers, after the British pound dropped precipitously following the vote to leave the European Union. It made their prices in U.S. dollars and other currencies substantially lower.

 

At that midpoint, Scholium announced two steps they were taking to improve results. Some items were placed with U.S. auctions to take advantage of the exchange rate based favorable pricing in America. Secondly, they identified £320,000 ($400,000) in annual savings available by reducing operating expenses and the size of their inventory.

 

While not saying in what manner new sales were made in the second half of the year, Scholium stated that sales had increased by 80%, "albeit at a lower margin." They said that this can in part be attributed to the performance of Scholium Trading, "where we have seen success in the sale of some major items." They continued, "Sales of antiquarian books and works on paper stabilised in the second half and are currently on an improving trend." As a result, they believe the company will achieve roughly a break-even for the second half of the year.

 

Scholium did not project results for the coming year, but noted that the steps needed to realize the £320,000 in annual savings have now been implemented. Since those savings would have only been partially implemented in the last half of their fiscal 2016, and none in the first half, those savings should improve their bottom line in 2017.

 

In other news, Scholium announced that Shapero Rare Books has joined the Antiquarian Booksellers' Association. They pointed out this will allow them to exhibit at several new international book fairs. Additionally, they reported that Roddy Newlands, formerly Managing Director of Bloomsbury Auctions, has joined Shapero as Head of English Literature, where he will assist the firm in the growth of new sales.

Rare Book Monthly

  • Sotheby’s, July 11: Galileo, Document annotated and signed by Galileo, dated Padua, 1595. £500,000 to £700,000.
  • Bonhams, July 15-25: THE AUTOGRAPH COLLECTION OF ISRAEL WITKOWER. $8,000 - $12,000
    Bonhams, July 15-25: GEORGE WASHINGTON SIGNED DISCHARGE. June 9, 1783. $8,000 - $12,000
    Bonhams, July 15-25: "Shhhhh!" A DAVID SHANNON ILLUSTRATION FROM DAVID GETS IN TROUBLE. $2,500 - $3,500
    Bonhams, July 15-25: PICASSO, PABLO. Le Carmen des Carmen. Paris, 1964. $2,000 - $3,000
    Bonhams, July 15-25: RARE AUTOGRAPH OF AMERICAN NAVAL HERO CAPTAIN JAMES MUGFORD. $2,000 - $3,000
    Bonhams, July 15-25: KARA WALKER SILHOUETTES FOR TONI MORRISON'S FIVE POEMS. $2,000 - $3,000
    Bonhams, July 15-25: FIRST APPEARANCE OF PINOCCHIO IN ENGLISH. COLLODI, CARLO.New York, 1892. $2,000 - $3,000
    Bonhams, July 15-25: BONAPARTE, JOSEPHINE. Autograph Note (unsigned) in French. $1,000 - $1,500
    Bonhams, July 15-25: FROST ON MATTHEW ARNOLD.Autograph Letter Signed to Adams, July 27, 1934. $800 - $1,200
    Bonhams, July 15-25: ELIAS BOUDINOT'S COPY OF BARLOW'S COLUMBIAN EPIC. $800 - $1,200
    Bonhams, July 15-25: A SIGNED HART CRANE BROOKLYN BRIDGE POSTCARD TO EDWARD DAHLBERG. $600 - $800
    Bonhams, July 15-25: A STOCK CERTIFICATE SIGNED BY THE "QUEEN OF WALL STREET," HETTY GREEN. $700 - $900
  • Forum Auctions
    Fine Books, Manuscripts and Works on Paper
    18th July 2024
    Forum, July 18: Rowling (J.K.) Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone, first hardback edition, 1997. £40,000 to £60,000.
    Forum, July 18: Binding.- Lucian of Samosata Opuscula Erasmo Roterodamo interprete, first Aldine edition, Venice, Heirs of Aldus Manutius and A, 1516. £15,000 to £20,000.
    Forum, July 18: Bacon (Sir Francis). De Dignitate et Augmentis Scientiarum Libri IX, Pierre Gassendi's copy gifted him by Nicolas-Claude Fabri de Peiresc, Paris, Typis Petri Mettayer, 1624. £15,000 to £20,000.
    Forum Auctions
    Fine Books, Manuscripts and Works on Paper
    18th July 2024
    Forum, July 18: Shakespeare (William). The First Part of Henry the Fourth, with the Life and Death of Henry, Sirnamed Hot-Spurre…, Printed by Isaac Jaggard, and Ed. Blount, 1623. £15,000 to £20,000.
    Forum, July 18: Darwin (Charles). On the Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection, third edition, presentation inscription 'From the Author' in a secretary's hand, John Murray, 1861. £15,000 to £20,000.
    Forum, July 18: Teague (Violet). Geraldine Rede. Night Fall in the Ti-Tree, first edition, Melbourne, Sign of the Rabbit, 1905; and another. £10,000 to £15,000.
    Forum Auctions
    Fine Books, Manuscripts and Works on Paper
    18th July 2024
    Forum, July 18: India.- Primrose (Gen. James Maurice). Collection of 24 original drawings from his time in India with the 43rd Regiment of Foot, circa 1855 to 1864. £10,000 to £15,000.
    Forum, July 18: Manet (Édouard). Trente Eaux-fortes originales, the complete portfolio, Paris, A. Stroelin, 1905. £8,000 to £12,000.
    Forum, July 18: Bible, English. [The Holy Bible], first edition of the King James Bible, the Great 'He' Bible, [Robert Barker], [1611]. £6,000 to £8,000.
    Forum Auctions
    Fine Books, Manuscripts and Works on Paper
    18th July 2024
    Forum, July 18: America.- Mathews (Alfred E.) Pencil Sketches of Montana, first edition, New York, Published by the Author, 1868. £6,000 to £8,000.
    Forum, July 18: Bawden (Edward). Original dust-jacket artwork for 'The Outsider' by Albert Camus, [c.1946]. £4,000 to £6,000.
    Forum, July 18: World.- Fries (Laurent). Tabula Nova Totius Orbis, woodcut map, [c.1541]. £3,000 to £5,000.

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