Rare Book Monthly

Articles - August - 2018 Issue

St. Gregory must be turning over in his grave

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An efficient place to buy rare books.

The efficient way to buy old books is when they are being liquidated at unreserved auction.  Better yet, buy them at a bankruptcy sale.  Such sales do not occur often but when they do the prices can be very low.  Such was the case in Oklahoma City recently where the assets of St. Gregory’s University, that committed the sin of insolvency, were disposed as efficiently as Marie Antoinette’s head was severed.  For St. Gregory who, in the Catholic Church, is commonly known as Pope Saint Gregory, and who passed away in 1606 this recent sale of his name sake institution must have seemed like penitence [and probably was].

 

Religious institutions tend to get screwed at auction, probably because for centuries they distained ‘commerce’ as beneath them.  That’s not a good approach now, if it ever was.  Know what you have and carefully prepare.  Leaving it to luck often doesn’t work out.

 

In this case the auctioneers were hired by a District Bankruptcy Court [THIS IS A TIP-OFF!] and the focus seems to have been on speed.  Lest anyone reading this wonder if speed is important the answer is a resounding no.  Description, promotion and timing are the crucial factors.

 

This sale on July 12th was complicated as the contents of the library and the rare book room had to share the marquee with exercise equipment, televisions, a hot dog roller & Bun Warmer, and other miscellaneous debris.  As no expense was allocated for descriptions they are close to non-existent. 

 

As for the outcomes, it is easy to guess but difficult to confirm if the prices made sense.  The apparently most important book in the sale was a Koberger Bible, printed in 1477.  It sold for $13,300, hopefully to the great bible collector who also actually lives nearby:  David Green.  If so, it will soon make its way to his Bible Museum in Washington, D. C.

 

Other printed material sold included:

 

  A Plutarch book printed in 1538 sold for $425

  A Plutarch book printed in 1579 sold for $350

  A page from the Akin Bible (First Bible printed in the United States in 1782) sold for $625

  The Theory of the Earth, by Thomas Burnett, printed in 1684, sold for $2,600

  Legal book Francisci Nigri Cyriacl Ma Cyriacus Fancisc, printed in 1664, sold for $2,200

  Religious contents of Martin Luther, dated 1556, sold for $2,200

  A History of the Reformation 1715, and Book of Letters of St. Augustine 1517 A.D. Sold for  $1,250

 

The rest of the university’s Rare Book Room, holding approximately 3,000 rare books, was sold for $16,900 and their roughly 12,000 Catholic and religious books released for $21,300.  Finally, the 44,000-volume student library changed hands for an unknown sum.


Posted On: 2018-08-03 16:09
User Name: wklimon

St. Gregory's University was named for Pope St. Gregory the Great, who died in A.D. 604.

Very sorry to hear about this fire sale.


Posted On: 2018-08-21 11:21
User Name: michaelmacelletti

it is always wonderful to hear about really great book sales
AFTER THE SALE !!

thank you rarebookhub.


Rare Book Monthly

  • <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.
  • <b>Swann Auction Galleries Sep 26:</b> Textile of the Great White Fleet, with portraits of Theodore Roosevelt, Rear Admiral Robley D. Evans & successor Charles Stillman Sperry, 1908. $3,000 to $4,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Sep 26:</b> William J. Stone, <i>Declaration of Independence,</i> Force printing, 1833. $15,000 to $25,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Sep 26:</b> Shugart family papers including documentation of the Underground Railroad, 63 items, 1838-81. $30,000 to $40,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Sep 26:</b> Records of the Dickinson & Shrewsbury salt works, over 2000 items, with extensive slave labor correspondence, legal records & receipts, bulk 1820-1865. $80,000 to $120,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Sep 26:</b> Gloria Steinem, typescript for her speech <i>Living the Revolution,</i> with related letters and documents, 1941-77. $5,000 to $7,500.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Sep 26:</b> <i>Liberty Triumphant or the Downfall of Oppression,</i> depicting the aftermath of the Boston Tea Party, c. 1774. $12,000 to $18,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Sep 26:</b> Juan Eusebio Nieremberg, <i>Historia naturae, maxime peregrinae, libris XVI distincta,</i> Antwerp, 1635. $6,000 to $9,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Sep 26:</b> Antonio de Mayorga, manuscript map of Mexico City, 1779. $6,000 to $9,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Sep 26:</b> Thomas L. McKenney & James Hall, <i>History of the Indian Tribes of North America,</i> first edition, 3 volumes, Philadelphia, 1842-44. $25,000 to $35,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Sep 26:</b> Samuel Walker, diary of the entire first cruise of the USS Kineo, a gunboat on the Mississippi, 1854-69. $10,000 to $15,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Sep 26:</b> Scrapbook on early Stanford football, with letters from Walter Camp, 1893-95 & 1931. $8,000 to $12,000.
  • <b>Lark Mason Associates, Aug 8-27:</b> Roberts, David. Twenty Lithographs of the Holy Land, 19th Century. $2,000 to $4,000.
    <b>Lark Mason Associates, Aug 8-27:</b> Declaration by the Reps. of the United Colonies of N.A. 1775. $8,000 to $12,000.
    <b>Lark Mason Associates, Aug 8-27:</b> Composer Jerome Kern personal Letters, Albums and Other. $15,000 to $25,000.
    <b>Lark Mason Associates, Aug 8-27:</b> Paine, Thomas. <i>Common Sense,</i> London 1776. $8,000 to $12,000.
    <b>Lark Mason Associates, Aug 8-27:</b> Stowe, Harriet Beecher. <i>Uncle Tom’s Cabin,</i> Cleveland 1852. $4,000 to $6,000.
    <b>Lark Mason Associates, Aug 8-27:</b> Hobbes, Thomas. <i>Leviathan,</i> 3rd edition, London 1651. $2,000 to $3,000.
    <b>Lark Mason Associates, Aug 8-27:</b> Anno Regni Georgii III. Intolerable Acts and other Bills, 1774. $15,000 to $20,000.
    <b>Lark Mason Associates, Aug 8-27:</b> Wilberforce, William. An Abstract of the Evidence, 5 Letters, and two books. $6,000 to $9,000.
    <b>Lark Mason Associates, Aug 8-27:</b> Nightingale, Florence. Notes on Nursing and Signed Letters, ca. 1860 $4,000 to $6,000.
    <b>Lark Mason Associates, Aug 8-27:</b> Tolstov, Leo. <i>War and Peace,</i> 5 volumes, 1886. $3,000 to $5,000.
    <b>Lark Mason Associates, Aug 8-27:</b> Dickinson, John. Letters from a Farmer in Pennsylvania, 1768. $1,500 to $2,500.
    <b>Lark Mason Associates, Aug 8-27:</b> Twain, Mark. <i>Tom Sawyer,</i> 1877 [and] <i>Huckleberry Finn,</i> 1885. $4,000 to $6,000.

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