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>Swann Auction Galleries May 14:</b> William Shakespeare, <i>Shakespeare’s Sonnets, In Two Parts,</i> limited Saint Dunstan edition, Oxford University Press, 1901. $6,000 to $9,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries May 14:</b> Benjamin Graham & David L. Dodd, <i>Security Analysis,</i> first edition, inscribed by Graham to a Wall Street trader, NY, 1934. $18,000 to $25,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries May 14:</b><br>Ian Fleming, <i>Goldfinger,</i> first edition, inscribed to Sir Henry Cotton, MBE, London, 1959. $12,000 to $18,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries May 14:</b><br>Ian Fleming, <i>The Man with the Golden Gun,</i> first edition, first state with the dust jacket, London, 1965. $6,000 to $9,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries May 14:</b> Virginia Woolf, <i>The Voyage Out,</i> first American edition of the author’s first book, in rare dust jacket, NY, 1920. $2,000 to $3,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries May 14:</b> Gabriel García Márquez, <i>Cien años de soledad,</i> Buenos Aires, 1967. $2,000 to $3,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries May 14:</b> Mary Mapes Dodge, <i>Along the Way,</i> first edition, author’s copy, annotated in her hand, NY, 1879. $1,800 to $2,500.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries May 14:</b> <i>The Dial: A Monthly Magazine for Literature, Philosophy and Religion,</i> first edition, Ralph Waldo Emerson’s copy, Cincinnati, 1860. $2,500 to $3,500.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries May 14:</b> Gaston Leroux, <i>The Phantom of the Opera,</i> first American edition, first printing, New York, 1911. $12,000 to $18,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries May 14:</b> Walt Whitman, <i>Leaves of Grass,</i> signed, Camden, 1876. $4,000 to $6,000.
  • <center><b>Bonhams<br>Fine Books and Manuscripts<br>New York | June 11, 2019</b>
    <b>Bonhams, Jun 11:</b> Faulkner, William. <i>The Sound and the Fury.</i> New York: Jonathan Cape, [1929]. First edition in dust jacket. $10,000 to $15,000
    <b>Bonhams, Jun 11:</b> Trautz-Bauzonnet bindery. Shakespeare, William. Sonnets. 1901. 2 volumes. Printed on vellum and illuminated by Ross Turner. $12,000 to $18,000
    <b>Bonhams, Jun 11:</b> Thompson, Kay. <i>Eloise at Christmastime.</i> New York: Random House, [1958]. First edition. In custom binding by Asprey. $2,000 to $3,000
    <center><b>Bonhams<br>Fine Books and Manuscripts<br>New York | June 11, 2019</b>
    <b>Bonhams, Jun 11:</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 11:</b> Assisi, St. Francis. <i>The Canticle of Brother Sun.</i> Illuminated on vellum, for the Grolier Society. $6,000 to $9,000
    <b>Bonhams, Jun 11:</b> Taylor, Deems. <i>Walt Disney’s Fantasia.</i> New York: 1940. In custom binding by Asprey. $2,500 to $3,500

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