Rare Book Monthly

Articles - March - 2019 Issue

LiveAuctioneers Sees Enormous Growth in 2018

Audubon whooping crane plate from Arader Galleries sold for over $200,000.

LiveAuctioneers reports that 2018 was another bang-up year in terms of growth for its auction platform. LiveAuctioneers is something of an auction listing aggregator. They bring together listings from many different houses. Some sales are made directly on LiveAuctioneers platform, others pass through to the houses. What the customer receives is tens if not hundreds of thousands of listings in one place, making the placing of bids convenient and easy to understand. Its popularity among bidders can be seen by the enormous growth since introduced in 2002.

 

LiveAuctioneers specializes in auctions of fine art, antiques, and collectibles. The latter category in particular covers the items that bring collectors to the Rare Book Hub - books, maps, manuscripts and ephemera. While art may be their largest category, the popularity of items in the books and paper field can be seen by the list of houses with the highest number of followers on Live Auctioneers. It includes Heritage Auctions, Leland Little Auctions, Clars Auction Galleries, Brunk Auctions, and the recently merged Leslie Hindman Auctioneers and Cowan's Auctions. All regularly hold sales in the books and paper field.

 

There are a couple of others who aggregate auctions, and we cannot vouch for numbers as none are public corporations, but LiveAuctioneers tells us they are the largest. They report 630,000 sales last year won directly on their platform (not including others placed through their site). LiveAuctioneers says this is 135,000 more than their closest competitor.

 

Here is a number that is even more staggering. The dollar volume of bids placed through the LiveAuctioneers website, including underbids, was $196.9 billion. Yes, billion. Naturally, many of those weren't winning bids, but people are certainly willing to spend a lot on arts and collectibles these days.

 

Other figures released included an increase of 161% in new bidders. They had over 433 million page views, 77 million bids. They had an increase of 46% in bids coming through mobile devices. People are bidding wherever they are. They are also now bidding with cryptocurrency, one item being purchased for $140,000 in that ethereal cash substitute. LiveAuctioneers reported they broadcast 120,000 hours of live auctions, with downtime of less than one one-hundredth of one percent.

 

Among the items sold in the books and paper field was a first edition of Harry Potter & the Philosopher's Stone by Forum Auctions for $31,144. A later six-volume set of Audubon's Birds of America was sold by Brunk Auctions for $26,000. The Arader Galleries sold a plate of the whooping crane from Audubon's first edition of the Bird's of America for $205,000. A letter from George Washington to John Marshall offered by Case Antiques brought in $15,000.

 

As pleased as they were with 2018's results, LiveAuctioneers CEO Phil Michaelson promised, "The best is yet to come, and it’s going to benefit auction houses worldwide in ways they couldn’t even imagine."

Rare Book Monthly

  • Bid on iGavelAuctions.com: Heller, Joseph, Closing Time, Advance Readers Copy of Uncorrected Proof with a letter from Heller on his personal stationary
    Bid on iGavelAuctions.com: Gates, Bill, How to Avoid a Climate Disaster, N Y: Knopf, 2021; first edition, with a handwritten note from Bill Gates
    Bid on iGavelAuctions.com: Heller, Joseph, Catch-22, New York: Simon & Schuster, 1961, first edition, first printing, first issue dust jacket, inscribed on the front end paper by Heller
    Bid on iGavelAuctions.com: Heller, Joseph, Something Happened, New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1974, first edition, inscribed on the front end paper by Heller
    Bid on iGavelAuctions.com: Austen, Jane, Northanger Abbey and Persuasion, London: John Murray, 1818, in four volumes
  • Manuscript Masterpieces from the Schøyen Collection
    London auction, 11 June
    BROWSE NOW
    Christie’s, Explore now: The Holkham Hebrew Bible. In Hebrew, decorated manuscript on vellum [Toledo, 2nd quarter 13th century]. £1,500,000–3,000,000
    Christie’s, Explore now: The Crosby-Schøyen Codex. In Coptic, manuscript on papyrus [Upper Egypt, middle 3rd century / 4th century]. £2,000,000–3,000,000
    Christie’s, Explore now: The Geraardsbergen Bible. In Latin, illuminated manuscript on vellum [Southern Netherlands, late 12th century]. £700,000–1,000,000
    Christie’s, Explore now : Jean de Courcy (fl. 1420). The Chronique de la Bouquechardiere. In French, illuminated manuscript on vellum [Paris, c.1480]. £200,000–300,000
    Christie’s, Explore now: The ‘Catherine de Medici’ Hours. In Latin and French, illuminated manuscript on vellum [Paris, c.1485]. £120,000–180,000
  • Forum Auctions
    Fine Books, Manuscripts and Works on Paper
    30th May 2024
    Forum, May 30: Potter (Beatrix). Complete set of four original illustrations for the nursery rhyme, 'This pig went to market', 1890s. £60,000 to £80,000.
    Forum, May 30: Dante Alighieri.- Lactantius (Lucius Coelius Firmianus). Opera, second edition, Rome, 1468. £40,000 to £60,000.
    Forum, May 30: Distilling.- Brunschwig (Hieronymus). Liber de arte Distillandi de Compositis, first edition of the so-called 'Grosses Destillierbuch', Strassburg, 1512. £22,000 to £28,000.
    Forum, May 30: Eliot (T.S.), W. H. Auden, Ted Hughes, Philip Larkin, Robert Lowell, Seamus Heaney, Ted Hughes, & others. A Personal Anthology for Eric Walter White, 60 autograph poems. £20,000 to £30,000.
    Forum, May 30: Cornerstone of French Enlightenment Philosophy.- Helvetius (Claude Adrien). De l'Esprit, true first issue "A" of the suppressed first edition, Paris, 1758. £20,000 to £30,000.
    Forum Auctions
    Fine Books, Manuscripts and Works on Paper
    30th May 2024
    Forum, May 30: Szyk (Arthur). The Haggadah, one of 125 copies, this out-of-series, Beaconsfield Press, 1940. £15,000 to £20,000.
    Forum, May 30: Fleming (Ian). Casino Royale, first edition, first impression, 1953. £15,000 to £20,000.
    Forum, May 30: Japan.- Ryusui (Katsuma). Umi no Sachi [Wealth of the Sea], 2 vol., Tokyo, 1762. £8,000 to £12,000.
    Forum, May 30: Computing.- Operating and maintenance manual for the BINAC binary automatic computer built for Northrop Aircraft Corporation 1949, Philadelphia, 1949. £8,000 to £12,000.
    Forum, May 30: Burmese School (probably circa 1870s). Folding manuscript, or parabaik, from the Court Workshop at the Royal Court at Manadaly, Burma, [c.1870s]. £8,000 to £12,000.
  • Sotheby’s
    Modern First Editions
    Available for Immediate Purchase
    Sotheby’s, Available Now: Winston Churchill. The Second World War. Set of First-Edition Volumes. 6,000 USD
    Sotheby’s, Available Now: A.A. Milne, Ernest H. Shepard. A Collection of The Pooh Books. Set of First-Editions. 18,600 USD
    Sotheby’s, Available Now: Salvador Dalí, Lewis Carroll. Alice's Adventures in Wonderland. Finely Bound and Signed Limited Edition. 15,000 USD
    Sotheby’s
    Modern First Editions
    Available for Immediate Purchase
    Sotheby’s, Available Now: Ian Fleming. Live and Let Die. First Edition. 9,500 USD
    Sotheby’s, Available Now: J.K. Rowling. Harry Potter Series. Finely Bound First Printing Set of Complete Series. 5,650 USD
    Sotheby’s, Available Now: Ernest Hemingway. A Farewell to Arms. First Edition, First Printing. 4,200 USD

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