Rare Book Monthly

Articles - September - 2018 Issue

Saturday Morning on Mainline Television

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Many auctions, millions of dollars - for old and rare cars impeccably maintained or restored

On a recent Saturday, flipping through the now hundreds of TV channels looking for something worth watching I chanced across the future of important rare and collectible paper auctions.  There, at noon on the NBC affiliate covering the San Francisco Bay Area was an auction, yes an auction.

 

It was the Saturday Mecum Car Auction at Pebble Beach held during the antique car get-together where astounding classic cars are sold for even more astounding prices.  Pride of place during the weekend show went to a car that wasn’t made until I was sixteen years old, a 1962 Ferrari GTO 250 that brought $48.4 million.  More to my taste, if not my pocketbook, was a 1935 Duesenberg SSJ that changed hands for $22 million.  Personally, I preferred the 1934 Packard Twelve Individual Custom Convertible Victoria that sold for $3,745,000.  That would have been an excellent car for dating in my teens. 

 

What’s interesting about these sales is that if NBC can show a car auction it’s also possible for rare books to be on mainline television.  So, what would it take?

 

For starters it’s all about money, both the highest values and the number of lots showcased during say an hour.  The cars I watched each spent about five minutes in the pits.  For rare books, given that the values will be lower, the flow would need to be closer to one minute and even then, the material would need to be exalted, probably a ten-million-dollar minimum.

 

So, are there enough very valuable items that could be sold in that hour?   Yes but inevitably it will take not only exalted but also very famous material and that means we may not see a rare book auction on main line television until a Gutenberg Bible is offered.  The next copy, assuming it is sumptuous and very original, should bring fifty million dollars.

 

Such a sale would be very good both for the trade and for book collecting.  With all the collecting and gaming opportunities that abound book collecting can look like Grandpa’s thing.  But if rare books, maps, manuscripts and ephemera can break into the space where the current and future generations of collectors are relaxed and open to new perspectives collectible paper will make a very good case. 

 

Those of us of a certain age know that such material is exceptionally satisfying to study and collect.  Our challenge has long been attracting the attention of future collectors.

 

Therefore, if you have a Gutenberg, and understand it is different from a Duesenberg, think about selling it and suggesting the auction house you select use an hour of mainline television to showcase the experience to the emerging next generation of collectors.

 

It will make a difference.


Posted On: 2018-09-01 10:09
User Name: gallery18

Live-streaming of some auctions is already well established online. With the addition of enhanced production values and commentary and, yes, some stage craft, there's every potential for auctions to become engaging TV fare. In fact, I'm surprised we've not yet seen the creation of a dedicated Auction Channel.


Posted On: 2018-09-01 14:06
User Name: henryberry

As I've often said to my friends and colleagues in the ephemera and antiquarian book trade in and around Connecticut, one of my disappointments with this field is the lack of publicity and promotion in the media, or often amateurish or dull articles when they are seen. Though I'm seeing over the past couple of years much improved efforts, for example with some book shows and some dealers. Long involved in the field, just yesterday I created a blog named Ephemera Today (https://ephemeratoday.blogspot.com). I was inspired not only because of my indefatigable curiosity in books, maps, archival material, etc. — chronic reader, peering into any book I see disease, poring over areas of maps and their design malady, and such — but also because I would like to be doing something to spread news and reports about the commercial value of these materials. Being in the field entails not only challenges regarding knowledge, expertise, and the gaining of relevant experience, but also for serious dealers an investment mindset taking into consideration current and future market conditions, the relationship between social interests and sometimes mores and the affect of this on market value, and risk-reward calculations. I unapologetically bring together items of significant cultural worth and commercial value for such, though do not equate the two since a lot of this has to do with current and changing social interests, events, and demographics (i. e., generational preferences). I could go on... My first article at Ephemera Today to be written over the weekend and posted no later than Monday afternoon is titled "Uncertainties in the Black Americana Market." I'm interested in hearing from others about little-known or recently discovered ephemera, stories of discoveries, ideas for marketing, shaping one's business and managing inventory, emerging markets, and other topics of interest to dealers and the public (henryberryinct@gmail.com).


Posted On: 2018-09-03 01:05
User Name: hermeticsurveyor

Recently I spent some time on youtube looking at videos about book collecting. Almost without exception they were atrociously boring! Talking heads in front of a wall of books is boring, no?

Since then I've hired a videographer and we will experiment, there must be better ways of showing the world how fascinating old books and documents are. One of my favorite vidoes is the episode Anthony Bourdain did inside one of Zubal's warehouses, with the pipes still full of Twinky cream! Here is the 4 min vid. http://www.zubalbooks.com/article-anthony-bourdain.jsp


Rare Book Monthly

  • <b><center>Swann Auction Galleries<br>View Our Record Breaking Results</b>
    <b>Swann:</b> Gideon Welles, <i>Extensive archive of personal and family papers of Lincoln’s Secretary of the Navy,</i> 1791-1914. Sold September 29 — $281,000.
    <b>Swann:</b> Charles Addams, <i>Rock Climbers,</i> cartoon for <i>The New Yorker,</i> watercolor, ink and gouache, 1954. Sold December 15 — $37,500.
    <b>Swann:</b> Charlotte Brontë, <i>Jane Eyre. An Autobiography. Edited by Currer Bell,</i> three volumes, first edition, 1847. Sold June 16, 2022 — $23,750.
    <b>Swann:</b> Geoffrey Chaucer, <i>The Workes of Geffray Chaucer Newlye Printed,</i> London, 1542. Sold October 13 — $106,250.
    <b><center>Swann Auction Galleries<br>View Our Record Breaking Results</b>
    <b>Swann:</b> Dorothea Lange, <i>Migrant Mother, Nipomo, California (Destitute pea pickers in California. Mother of seven children. Age 32),</i> silver print, 1936. Sold October 20 — $305,000.
    <b>Swann:</b> George Washington, Autograph Document Signed, with two manuscript plat maps in holograph, 1751. Sold October 27 — $37,500.
    <b>Swann:</b> Winfred Rembert, <i>Winfred Rembert and Class of 1959,</i> dye on carved & tooled leather, 1999. Sold October 6 — $233,000.
    <b>Swann:</b> M.C. Escher, <i>Relativity,</i> lithograph, 1953. Sold November 3 — $81,250.
  • <b><center>Sotheby’s<br>Original Film Posters<br>27 January - 10 February 2023</b>
    <b>Sotheby’s, Jan. 27-Feb. 10:</b> Vertigo (1958), poster, US. The ultimate poster on this classic Hitchcock title, one of three known examples. £40,000 to £60,000.
    <b>Sotheby’s, Jan. 27-Feb. 10:</b> Lawrence of Arabia (1962), roadshow poster, US. £8,000 to £12,000.
    <b>Sotheby’s, Jan. 27-Feb. 10:</b> Star Wars (1977), style C poster, printer's proof, US. £7,000 to £10,000.
    <b>Sotheby’s, Jan. 27-Feb. 10:</b> The Navigator/ La Croisiere du Navigator (1924), re-release poster (1931), French. £5,000 to £8,000.
    <b>Sotheby’s, Jan. 27-Feb. 10:</b> Bullitt (1968), special test poster, US. £3,000 to £5,000.
  • <b>Old World Auctions (Feb 8):</b> Lot 817. Bellin's complete five-volume maritime atlas with 581 maps & plates (1764). $24,000 to $30,000.
    <b>Old World Auctions (Feb 8):</b> Lot 325. An early and important map of the Republic of Texas (1837). $11,000 to $14,000.
    <b>Old World Auctions (Feb 8):</b> Lot 45. De Bry's early map of North Pole depicting Willem Barentsz' expedition (1601). $3,500 to $4,250.
    <b>Old World Auctions (Feb 8):</b> Lot 154. Poignant map of the United States documenting lynchings (1931). $250 to $325.
    <b>Old World Auctions (Feb 8):</b> Lot 457. Extremely rare matching set of pro-German propaganda from WWI (1914). $2,000 to $2,400.
    <b>Old World Auctions (Feb 8):</b> Lot 815. Homann's world atlas featuring 110 maps in contemporary color (1751). $14,000 to $16,000.
    <b>Old World Auctions (Feb 8):</b> Lot 60. Miniature pocket globe based on Herman Moll (1785). $3,500 to $4,500.
    <b>Old World Auctions (Feb 8):</b> Lot 8. Visscher's rare carte-a-figures world map (1652). $14,000 to $16,000.
    <b>Old World Auctions (Feb 8):</b> Lot 158. Matching satirical maps of the US by McCandlish: "Ration Map" & "Bootlegger's Map" (1944). $3,000 to $4,000.
    <b>Old World Auctions (Feb 8):</b> Lot 820. One of the finest English atlases of the early 19th century (1808). $4,750 to $6,000.
    <b>Old World Auctions (Feb 8):</b> Lot 59. Important milestone in preparation for 1969 moon landing (1963). $750 to $900.
    <b>Old World Auctions (Feb 8):</b> Lot 805. Superb bible leaf with image of crucifixion of Jesus with gilt highlights (1518). $800 to $950.
  • <center><b>Potter & Potter Auctions<br>Fine Books & Manuscripts,<br>including Americana<br>February 16, 2023</b>
    <b>Potter & Potter, Feb. 16:</b> [KELMSCOTT PRESS]. CHAUCER, Geoffrey. <i>The Works…now newly imprinted.</i> Edited by F.S. Ellis. Hammersmith: Kelmscott Press, 1896. $100,000 to $125,000.
    <b>Potter & Potter, Feb. 16:</b> [EINSTEIN, Albert (1879–1955)]. –– ORLIK, Emil (1870–1932), artist. Lithograph signed (“Albert Einstein”). N.p., 1928. $10,000 to $15,000.
    <b>Potter & Potter, Feb. 16:</b> TOLKIEN, John Ronald Reuel. <i>[The Lord of the Rings trilogy:] The Fellowship of the Ring.</i> 1954. –– <i>The Two Towers.</i> 1954. –– <i>The Return of the King.</i> 1955. $10,000 to $15,000.
    <b>Potter & Potter, Feb. 16:</b> CLEMENS, Samuel Langhorne ("Mark Twain") and Charles Dudley WARNER. <i>The Gilded Age: A Tale of Today.</i> Hartford and Chicago, 1873. $6,000 to $8,000.
    <b>Potter & Potter, Feb. 16:</b> LOVECRAFT, Howard Phillips. <i>Beyond the Wall of Sleep.</i> Collected by August Derleth and Donald Wandrei. Sauk City, WI: Arkham House, 1943. $2,000 to $3,000.
  • <center><b>California International Antiquarian Book Fair<br>February 10-12, 2023<br>Pasadena Convention Center<br> abaa.org/cabookfair
    <center><b>California International Antiquarian Book Fair<br>February 10-12, 2023<br>Pasadena Convention Center<br> abaa.org/cabookfair
    <center><b>California International Antiquarian Book Fair<br>February 10-12, 2023<br>Pasadena Convention Center<br> abaa.org/cabookfair
    <center><b>California International Antiquarian Book Fair<br>February 10-12, 2023<br>Pasadena Convention Center<br> abaa.org/cabookfair
    <center><b>California International Antiquarian Book Fair<br>February 10-12, 2023<br>Pasadena Convention Center<br> abaa.org/cabookfair
    <center><b>California International Antiquarian Book Fair<br>February 10-12, 2023<br>Pasadena Convention Center<br> abaa.org/cabookfair
    <center><b>California International Antiquarian Book Fair<br>February 10-12, 2023<br>Pasadena Convention Center<br> abaa.org/cabookfair
    <center><b>California International Antiquarian Book Fair<br>February 10-12, 2023<br>Pasadena Convention Center<br> abaa.org/cabookfair
    <center><b>California International Antiquarian Book Fair<br>February 10-12, 2023<br>Pasadena Convention Center<br> abaa.org/cabookfair
    <center><b>California International Antiquarian Book Fair<br>February 10-12, 2023<br>Pasadena Convention Center<br> abaa.org/cabookfair
    <center><b>California International Antiquarian Book Fair<br>February 10-12, 2023<br>Pasadena Convention Center<br> abaa.org/cabookfair

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