Rare Book Monthly

Articles - March - 2005 Issue

In San Francisco: It's Show Time!


The program is more useful if you have it in advance.

At the upper end Lou Weinstein of Heritage, the Los Angles dealer, reported excellent sales including a $175,000 sale of the first edition of Frankenstein. They also sold a 1534 version of the Greek New Testament by Erasumus, for $60,000 as well as a first edition of Lewis & Clark [Philadelphia, 1814] for $100,000. Bill Reese reported the sale of David Samwell's 1786 "A Narrative of the Death of Captain James Cook" for $135,000. This is a book that rarely comes to market and made $120,000 at Christie's in 2000. He also sold a presentation copy of Adam Smith's Wealth of Nations [third edition] to his [Adam Smith's] literary executor for $48,500. Association copies are the most collectible books in all fields today.

Richard Lan, the New York map and rare book dealer, reported excellent sales and serious interest in his ultra important 1513 Ptolemy with its first map of the New World. It is priced at $750,000. He also sold a copy of Thevenot's Relations de divers Voyages Curieux,...., 1696, an important collection of Voyages.

Joseph Felcone offered this. "I did well this year, and I bought some great things. The fair is so large that, no matter what your interests, there will be things there for you. For the Americana collector, this is certainly the best ABAA fair for Western Americana, but colonial and early Americana is usually pretty thin. As a non-specialist dealer in higher-end antiquarian books, nothing compares to New York." The New York Fair is April 28th to May 1st.

Michael Dawson of Dawson Books perhaps summed it up best. "Great show, great dealer sales, real energy. We see this enthusiasm at photography shows and it was great to see this vitality in the book world." He singled out Winslow Associates, the show promoters for comment. "A show works when the exhibitors can move in and out efficiently, when the inevitable problem is quickly resolved, and when the audience arrives in numbers and is excited. It happened in San Francisco and I'm glad we participated. I think Winslow did a great job."

The following dealers contributed information and perspective for this article: James Arsenault, Michael Brown, John Creighton, Michael Dawson, Scott Dewolfe and Frank Wood of Dewolfe & Wood, Bill Ewald, Joe Felcone, Michael Good, Sebastian S. Hesselink, Helen Kahn, Richard Lan, Derek McDonnell, James Potter Limited, Bill Reese, John Waite, Lou Weinstein, Mark Wessel, Henry Wessells and John Windle.

Rare Book Monthly

  • <b>Swann Auction Galleries, July 30:</b> Adam Smith, <i>Wealth of Nations,</i> first edition, descended from William Alexander, London, 1776. $70,000 to $90,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries, July 30:</b> George Gershwin, photograph signed & inscribed with autograph musical quotation, <i>An American in Paris,</i> 1928. $8,000 to $12,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries, July 30:</b> Friedrich Engels, <i>The Condition of the Working Class in England,</i> first edition, NY, 1887. $5,000 to $7,500.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries, July 30:</b> <i>Bury St. Edmunds Witch Trials,</i> first edition, London, 1682. $2,000 to $3,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries, July 30:</b> Robert Rey, <i>Estampes,</i> complete portfolio of 12 wood engravings, Paris, 1950. $12,000 to $18,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries, July 30:</b> Archive of 47 letters by Enrico Caruso to a lady friend, 1906-20. $7,000 to $10,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries, July 30:</b> Books of Hours in Flemish, Netherlands, 15th century. $8,000 to $10,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries, July 30:</b> Jack Kerouac, <i>Doctor Sax,</i> deluxe limited edition, signed, NY, 1959. $4,000 to $6,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries, July 30:</b> Walt Disney, signature on title-page of Ward Greene’s <i>Lady and the Tramp,</i> first edition, first printing. $3,000 to $4,000.

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