• <center><b>Chiswick Auctions</b>
    <b>Chiswick Auctions, May 29:</b> Rumphius (Georgius Everhardus). <i>D’Ambionsche Rariteitkamer,</i> FIRST EDITION, 61 handcoloured engraved plates, 1705. £10,000 to £15,000
    <b>Chiswick Auctions, May 29:</b> Collodi (Carlo) Le avventure di Pinocchio. <i>Storia di un burattino,</i> FIRST EDITION, frontispiece and 61 illustrations by Enrico Mazzanti, 1883. £8,000 to £12,000
    <b>Chiswick Auctions, May 29:</b> De Bry (T, J T & J I). <i>[Great Voyages, part IV] Americae sive Insignis & Admiranda Historia de Reperta primum Occidentali India,</i> FIRST EDITION, 23 engraved plates, 1594. £4,000 to £6,000
    <b>Chiswick Auctions, May 29:</b> Wine & Beer.-Kellermaysterey. <i>Gründtlicher bericht wie man alle wein Teütscher und Welscher landen vor allen zufallen bewaren...,</i> 16 leaves of manuscript notes, 1548. £2,000 to £3,000
    <b>Chiswick Auctions, May 29:</b> Table Globe'- Doppelmayr (J G) & Puschner (J G, engraver). An 8-inch German terrestrial table Globe, diameter c.200 mm, height c.300 mm, 1730. £6,000 to £8,000
    <center><b>Chiswick Auctions</b
    <b>Chiswick Auctions, May 30:</b> An album with 107 original watercolours featuring landscapes and views of various places in England, Scotland and Ireland, late 1840s. £600 to £800
    <b>Chiswick Auctions, May 30:</b> Hemingway (Ernest). Black and white, landscape photograph of man on horseback, signed and inscribed by Hemingway. £1,000 to £1,500
    <b>Chiswick Auctions, May 30:</b> Unrecorded autograph letter by Charles William Stewart to his father the Marquess of Londonerry, describing the ceremony of the presentation to Consul Bonaparte in January 1803. £6,000 to £8,000.
    <b>Chiswick Auctions, May 30:</b> Davis (William Heath). <i>Seventy-five Years in California,</i> Author's Section of the Argonaut Edition, no. 142 [of 250 copies] signed by the editor and publisher on limitation leaf. £1,500 to £2,000
    <b>Chiswick Auctions, May 30:</b> Prussian Royal Family. Six signed photographs of members of Prussian Royal Family, in a contemporary folding triptych, ebonised wood display case. £1,500 to £2,000
  • <b>Christie’s London June 5:</b> <i>Le Neptune François, ou Atlas Nouveau des Cartes Marines. Levées et Gravées par ordre exprès du Roy...</i> Paris: Hubert Jaillot, 1693 [but Amsterdam: Pieter Mortier, 1693-1700].
    <b>Christie’s London June 5:</b> BLAEU, Willem Janszoon. <i>Le Flambeau de la Navigation monstrant la description & delineation de toutes les Costes & Havres…</i> Amsterdam: Jan Jansson, 1620.
    <b>Christie’s London June 5:</b> [WALDSEEMÜLLER, Martin.] <i>Orbis Typus Universalis Iuxta Hydrographorum Traditionem.</i> [Strasbourg: 1513].
    <b>Christie’s London June 5:</b> KEULEN, Johannes van. <i>De Groote Nieuwe Vermeerderde Zee-Atlas ofte Water-Werelt.</i> Amsterdam: Johannes van Keulen, 1688.
    <b>Christie’s London June 5:</b> DONCKER, Hendrick. <i>De Zee-Atlas of Water-Waerelt.</i> Amsterdam: Hendrick Doncker, 1666.
    <b>Christie’s London June 5:</b> GARNIER, Francis and Ernest DOUDART DE LAGRÉE. <i>Voyage d'exploration en Indo-Chine effectué pendant les années 1866, 1867 et 1868 par une Commission Française.</i> Paris: Hachette, 1873 [-1875].
  • <b>Bonhams, Jun 13:</b> Darwin, Charles. <i>On the Origin of Species.</i> Presentation Copy. Very Fine. $200,000 to $300,000
    <b>Bonhams, Jun 13:</b> Darwin, Charles. Autograph Letter Signed, 3 pp, negotiating the 2nd American edition with Appleton $20,000 to $30,000
    <b>Bonhams, Jun 13:</b> Hemingway, Ernest. Autograph Letter Signed, 8 pp, Paris, 1924, to his father discussing Bullfighting, Stories, and his new baby. $20,000 to $30,000
    <b>Bonhams, Jun 13:</b> Shakespeare, William. <i>Corialanus.</i> London, 1623. 1st printing [Extracted from the First Folio]. $40,000 to $60,000
    <b>Bonhams, Jun 13:</b> Swift, Jonathan. <i>Gulliver's Travels.</i> London, 1726. 1st edition, Teerink's A edition, fine, large copy. $15,000 to $25,000
    <b>Bonhams, Jun 13:</b> Neill, John R. Pen-and-ink drawing from Oz, "He raised his gun, took aim and fired," $6,000 to $8,000
    <center><b>Bonhams<br>Fine Books and Manuscripts<br>June 13 - New York</b>
    <b>Bonhams, Jun 13:</b> Shakespeare, William. <i>Sonnets.</i> 1901. 2 volumes. Printed on vellum and illuminated by Ross Turner, bound by Trautz-Bauzonnet. $8,000 to $12,000
    <b>Bonhams, Jun 13:</b> Thompson, Kay. <i>Eloise at Christmastime.</i> New York: Random House, [1958]. First edition. In custom binding by Asprey. $3,000 to $5,000
    <b>Bonhams, Jun 13:</b> Beardsley, Aubrey. <i>The Birth, Life, and Acts of King Arthur.</i> 1893-94. 2 volumes. Contemporary painted vellum gilt by Chivers. $2,000 to $3,000
    <b>Bonhams, Jun 13:</b> Assisi, St. Francis. <i>The Canticle of Brother Sun.</i> Illuminated on vellum, for the Grolier Society. $7,000 to $9,000
    <b>Bonhams, Jun 13:</b> Taylor, Deems. <i>Walt Disney’s Fantasia.</i> New York: 1940. In custom binding by Asprey. $3,000 to $5,000
    <b>Bonhams, Jun 13:</b> Proust, Marcel. <i>Du coté de chez Swann.</i> 1st edition, 1st issue. Inscribed by Proust. $5,000 to $7,000
    <b>Bonhams, Jun 13:</b> Rackham, Arthur. <i>Peter Pan in Kensington Gardens.</i> 1/500 copies signed by Rackham. $1,500 to $2,500
  • <center><b>Ketterer Rare Books<br>Auction on May 27th</b>
    <b>Ketterer Rare Books, May 27:</b><br><i>Breviarium Romanum,</i> before 1478. Est: € 15,000
    <b>Ketterer Rare Books, May 27:</b><br>C. Ptolemaeus, <i>Geographie,</i> 1513.<br>Est: € 140,000
    <b>Ketterer Rare Books, May 27:</b><br>M. Chagall, <i>Daphnis & Chloé,</i> 1961.<br>Est: € 130,000
    <center><b>Ketterer Rare Books<br>Auction on May 27th</b>
    <b>Ketterer Rare Books, May 27:</b><br>F. Colonna, <i>Hypnerotomachia Poliphili,</i> 1499. Est: € 20,000
    <b>Ketterer Rare Books, May 27:</b><br>J. H. van Linschoten, <i>Itinerarium,</i> 1644. Est: € 50,000
    <b>Ketterer Rare Books, May 27:</b><br>M. Chagall, <i>Cirque,</i> 1967.<br>Est: € 120,000
    <center><b>Ketterer Rare Books<br>Auction on May 27th</b>
    <b>Ketterer Rare Books, May 27:</b><br>G. L. L. Buffon, <i>Histoire naturelle des oiseaux,</i> 1765-83. Est: € 30,000
    <b>Ketterer Rare Books, May 27:</b><br>K. Marx, <i>Das Kapital,</i> 1867.<br>Est: € 30,000
    <b>Ketterer Rare Books, May 27:</b><br>P. J. Redouté, <i>Les liliacées,</i> 1802-16.<br>Est: € 120,000
    <center><b>Ketterer Rare Books<br>Auction on May 27th</b>
    <b>Ketterer Rare Books, May 27:</b><br>M. E. Bloch, <i>Naturgeschichte der Fische,</i> 1782-95. Est: € 50,000
    <b>Ketterer Rare Books, May 27:</b><br>H. A. Châtelain, <i>Atlas historique,</i> 1718-20. Est: € 18,000
    <b>Ketterer Rare Books, May 27:</b><br>Bauhausbücher, complete series, 1925-30. Est: € 28,000

Rare Book Monthly

Articles - April - 2018 Issue

Credit Suisse Labels Rare Books a "Mediocre" Financial Investment

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Increase in values of various assets (from Credit Suisse Yearbook 2018).

Rare books hit the news wires in an unflattering way last month. Credit Suisse, the major banking and financial institution headquartered in Zurich, released its annual Yearbook. They spoke of investments, including what they call "non-financial investments" or "investments of passion," or even "treasure assets." Rare books made it into the passionate category, but not to the one of best financial investments. Of course, we are passionately invested in our wives, husbands, and children, but they aren't great financial investments either. Anyone who wants to trade them in for stock certificates has problems at home that go way beyond the scope of this article.

 

Before we proceed, we should note that this report is aimed at the wealthy, or even ultra-wealthy. That includes an estimated 193,490 (that's a fairly exact looking number for an estimate) people in the world with net assets over $30 million. Most of us fall into the "other" category, which I estimate to be 6,999,806,510. The wealthy are the people who can afford to invest seriously in various sorts of collectibles. Even among them, it is still a small percentage of assets. They estimate these people hold 25% of their wealth in financial assets (stocks, bonds, cash), 24% in real estate investments, 23% in personal businesses, and 16% in real estate they inhabit. Only 6% falls to collectibles.

 

We should also note that this is focused on long-term investments. You can trade in and out of stocks in the same day, but it's hard to be a day-trader in books or art. Day-traders can make money on the change of a few pennies in a stock price. You cannot do this with a Shakespeare First Folio.

 

The common wisdom is that stocks are the best long-term investment. That belief has become so ingrained that we would believe it even if it weren't true. Fortunately, we don't have to face such a predicament. Credit Suisse confirms our assumption that equities are the best long-term investment.

 

However, when it comes to collectibles, they have concluded there is a difference, and here is where they determined rare books are on the short end. The categories they examined were fine wine, classic cars, musical instruments, rare books, jewelry, and stamps. All of these fell short of equities, but within the group, the runaway winner was classic cars. This was followed by wine, jewelry, stamps, musical instruments (as represented by violins), and art. That leaves just books to fill the bottom rung. Credit Suisse describes books as providing a "mediocre financial return."

 

However, here is where the chart departs from common wisdom. If books have something of a bad rap, art has a different reputation. We have read stories of paintings selling for over $100 million. Anything by Andy Warhol, even prints, just a few decades old, brings huge prices. A piece of paper Picasso used to wipe his paintbrushes would cost as much as an average house. Still, art barely beat out rare books on this index.

 

Here are a few points Credit Suisse makes in their report about those who purchase "treasure assets."

 

(1). "In the eyes of the owner, they are beautiful and collectible items, even though they do not generate any financial income." They "provide an emotional reward in terms of enjoyment for the owner."

 

(2). "Rare books have been a passion investment for centuries."

 

(3). However, "collectors point to cultural and artistic investment not only as a pleasurable activity but also as a contribution to financial diversification." "[M]ost high net worth collectors say they are interested in the financial as well as the psychic benefits of their private assets. They are not hoarders and accumulators; they are investor-collectors."

 

(4). "Within the category of passion investments, investors almost invariably hold focused portfolios. The average of their holdings should not be regarded as a desirable allocation for an individual or institution."

 

(5). "Such investments are in many cases marketable only with a substantial transaction cost, so the purchaser of these tangible assets is likely to be someone with a long investment horizon for whom the liquidity of the asset is a secondary concern."

 

(6). "The case for private wealth assets is that they provide a mix of wealth conservation, financial diversification, and gratification. We support the view that a moderate allocation to tangible alternative assets is appropriate for high net worth investors."

 

We will add one more point. Rare books, like equities, is a category of financial asset, but unless you are buying some sort of index fund, you are buying individual items, not an asset class. Stocks may be the best performers, but there's a whale of a difference if you bought tiny Apple or Microsoft in the 1980s, or retail behemoth Sears or the high-flying airlines. In the latter case, you probably lost most if not all of your money. With books, as with stocks, the trick is successfully anticipating which will be more valuable years from now, buying for a fair price, and being patient.

Rare Book Monthly

  • <b>Forum Auctions: Fine Books, Manuscripts and Works on Paper. May 30, 2019</b>
    <b>Forum Auctions May 30:</b> Bouchette (Lt.-Col.Joseph, Canadian Surveyor-General of British North America). A Plan of the Province of Upper Canada, manuscript map, [c.1790-1795]. £20,000 to £30,000
    <b>Forum Auctions May 30:</b> Browne (W.H.). Ten Coloured Views taken during the Arctic Expedition of Her Majesty's Ships "Enterprise" and "Investigator", first edition, presentation copy, 1850. £4,000 to £6,000
    <b>Forum Auctions May 30:</b> Lovelace (Ada).- Lacroix (Silvestre Francois). <i>An Elementary Treatise on the Differential and Integral Calculus,</i> first edition in English, Lovelace's copy, Cambridge, 1816. £3,000 to £4,000
    <b>Forum Auctions: Fine Books, Manuscripts and Works on Paper. May 30, 2019</b>
    <b>Forum Auctions May 30:</b> Rackham (Arthur). <i>Grimm's Fairy Tales,</i> one of 750 copies signed by the artist, 1909. One of several signed limited editions by Rackham in the sale. £1,000 to £1,500
    <b>Forum Auctions May 30:</b> Schedel (Hartmann). <i>Liber chronicarum [German] Das Buch der Croniken und Geschichten,</i> Augsburg, Johann Schonsperger, 1500. £10,000 to £15,000
    <b>Forum Auctions May 30:</b> Gandhi, Mohandas.- Eichenberg (Fritz, German-American illustrator). Autograph inscription by Ghandi with celebrated bust-length wood-engraved portrait by Eichenberg, c.1942. £10,000 to £15,000
    <b>Forum Auctions: Fine Books, Manuscripts and Works on Paper. May 30, 2019</b>
    <b>Forum Auctions May 30:</b> Shakespeare (William). <i>A Collection of Poems,</i> 2 vol. in 1, for Bernard Lintott, [1710-11]. £8,000 to £12,000
    <b>Forum Auctions May 30:</b> Churchill (SirWinston Spencer). Midland Conservative Club. Presidential Address Delivered by Winston Spencer Churchill, Esq., June 1st, 1899, first edition, [1899]. £10,000 to £15,000
    <b>Forum Auctions May 30:</b> [Walpole (Horace)]. <i>The Castle of Otranto, a Story,</i> first Dublin edition, Dublin, 1765. £800 to £1,200
    <b>Forum Auctions: Fine Books, Manuscripts and Works on Paper. May 30, 2019</b>
    <b>Forum Auctions May 30:</b> Dickens (Charles). Sketches by "Boz," Illustrative of Every-day Life, and Every-day People, [First Series] - Second Series, together 3 vol., first editions, first issues , 1836-7. £10,000 to £15,000
    <b>Forum Auctions May 30:</b> Wilde (Oscar). [Works], 14 vol., first collected edition, one of 80 sets on Japanese vellum, Methuen & Co., 1908. £8,000 to £12,000
    <b>Forum Auctions May 30:</b> Rowling (J.K.). <i>Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone,</i> first edition, first printing, 1997. £20,000 to £30,000
  • <b>Swann Auction Galleries June 6:</b><br>John Carte, <i>The Frontispiece of the Cosmographical Clock,</i> hand-colored broadside, London, circa 1699. $2,000 to $3,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries June 6:</b><br>John Fisk Allen & William Sharp, <i>Victoria Regia,</i> Boston, 1854. $15,000 to $20,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries June 6:</b> George Catlin, <i>North American Indian Portfolio,</i> London, 1844. $30,000 to $50,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries June 6:</b> Abraham Ortelius, <i>Islandia,</i> Antwerp, 1598. $5,000 to $7,500.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries June 6:</b> Plancius Petrus, map of Southern Africa, Amsterdam, 1592-94. $3,000 to $5,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries June 6:</b> Pieter Verbiest, <i>Nova Totius Terrarum Orbis Geographica,</i> Antwerp, 1636. $10,000 to $15,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries June 6:</b><br>Emil B. Fischer, <i>Map of Southwestern Colorado,</i> lithograph, 1893. $2,000 to $3,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries June 6:</b><br>A.P. Folie, <i>Plan of the Town of Baltimore,</i> Philadelphia, 1792. $7,000 to $10,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries June 6:</b> Lewis Evans, <i>A General Map of the Middle British Colonies,</i> proof copy, annotated, signed & dated by Evans, Philadelphia, 1755. $30,000 to $50,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries May 23:</b> Lester Beall, <i>Rural Electrification Administration,</i> 1939. $20,000 to $30,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries June 6:</b> Jacob Robyn, after Arent Roggeveen, <i>The First Part of the Burning Fen,</i> with English text, Amsterdam, circa 1680. $20,000 to $30,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries June 6:</b> Large bird’s-eye view of New York City, hand-painted photo, circa 1933. $2,000 to $3,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries June 6:</b> Arundel Society, group of approx. 185 chromolithographed Renaissance paintings, late-19th century. $6,000 to $9,000.

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