• <center><br>Swann Auction Galleries<br>Maps & Atlases<br>Natural History<br>& Color Plate Books<br>December 9, 2021</b>
    <b>Swann, Dec. 9:</b> John James Audubon, <i>Carolina Parrot, Plate 26,</i> hand-colored aquatint, 1828. $80,000 to $100,000.
    <b>Swann, Dec. 9:</b> Francisco Henrique Carls, <i>Album de Pernambuco e seus Arrabaldes,</i> 53 plates, Recife, circa 1873. $25,000 to $35,000.
    <b>Swann, Dec. 9:</b> Capt. Thomas Davies, group of five engraved topographical scenes of North American waterfalls, London, 1768. $8,000 to $12,000.
    <center><br>Swann Auction Galleries<br>Maps & Atlases<br>Natural History<br>& Color Plate Books<br>December 9, 2021</b>
    <b>Swann, Dec. 9:</b> William R. Morley, <i>Morley’s Map of New Mexico,</i> New Mexico, 1873. $7,000 to $10,000.
    <b>Swann, Dec. 9:</b> Paul Hariot, <i>Le Livre d’Or des Roses,</i> Paris, 1903. $800 to $1,200.
    <b>Swann, Dec. 9:</b> D. Miguel Geli, album of finely hand-drawn studies for nineteenth-century Spanish forts and military bunkers, circa 1830. $1,200 to $1,800.
  • <b><center>Christie’s<br>Valuable Books and Manuscripts<br>December 15</b>
    <b><center>Christie’s<br>Valuable Books and Manuscripts<br>December 15</b>
    <b><center>Christie’s<br>Valuable Books and Manuscripts<br>December 15</b>
    <b><center>Christie’s<br>Valuable Books and Manuscripts<br>December 15</b>
    <b><center>Christie’s<br>Valuable Books and Manuscripts<br>December 15</b>
  • <b><center>Aste Bolaffi<br>Rare Books and Autographs<br>December 16, 2021</b>
    <b>Aste Bolaffi, Dec. 16:</b> [Book of hours of Jean Boutin]. Illuminated manuscript on vellum, use of Rome, in Latin and French. France, early 15th century. From €50,000.
    <b>Aste Bolaffi, Dec. 16:</b> [Book of Hours]. Pontifical illuminated manuscript on parchment, in Latin. Southern France, late 15th century. From €40,000.
    <b>Aste Bolaffi, Dec. 16:</b> [Book of Hours]. Illuminated manuscript on parchment, in Latin and French. France, late 15th century. From €40,000.
    <b><center>Aste Bolaffi<br>Rare Books and Autographs<br>December 16, 2021</b>
    <b>Aste Bolaffi, Dec. 16:</b> [Book of Hours]. Officium B. Mariae Virginis. Illuminated manuscript on parchment, use of Rome, in Latin and Italian. 1482. From €40,000.
    <b>Aste Bolaffi, Dec. 16:</b> [Book of Hours]. Manuscript on parchment, in French. Amiens, 14th century. From €10,000.
    <b>Aste Bolaffi, Dec. 16:</b> Verdi, Giuseppe. 9 handwritten lines signed by Luisa Miller, with a dedication 'to Monsieur Felix Le Couppey, Paris 24 Jan. 1852'. From €8,000.
    <b><center>Aste Bolaffi<br>Rare Books and Autographs<br>December 16, 2021</b>
    <b>Aste Bolaffi, Dec. 16:</b> French Renaissance binding, produced in Lyon or Paris in the second half of the 16th century. Rhetoricorum secundus tomus in Gryphius' edition of 1548. From €800.
    <b>Aste Bolaffi, Dec. 16:</b> [Printing and the Mind of Man]. Gesner, Conrad. <i>Vogelbuch Darinn die art, natur und eigenschafft aller vöglen.</i> Zurigo, Froschauer, 1581, 1583, 1585, 1589. From €10,000.
    <b>Aste Bolaffi, Dec. 16:</b> [Dalmatia]. Berlinghieri, Francesco. Tabula quinta de Europa. Florence, Niccolò di Lorenzo della Magna, [before September 1482]. From €8,000.
    <b><center>Aste Bolaffi<br>Rare Books and Autographs<br>December 16, 2021</b>
    <b>Aste Bolaffi, Dec. 16:</b> Giampiccoli, Giuliano. Jacobo Comiti Duratio […] Tabulas a Marco Ricci Auctore, Julianus Giampiccoli incidit. Venezia, Teodoro Viero, 1775. €30,000.
    <b>Aste Bolaffi, Dec. 16:</b> [Piazzetta]. Pitteri, Marco. Studj di pittura gia dissegnati da Giambatista Piazzetta ed ora con l'intaglio di Marco Pitteri. Venezia, Giovanni Battista Albrizzi, 1760. From €4,000.
    <b>Aste Bolaffi, Dec. 16:</b> [Printing and the Mind of Man]. Palladio, Andrea. <i>I quattro libri dell'architettura.</i> Venezia, Domenico de' Franceschi, 1570. From €14,000.
  • <center><b>Arader Galleries<br>Live Auction<br>December 11, 2021</b>
    <b>Arader Galleries, Dec. 11:</b> De Wit’s composite atlas with magnificent full original color. $125,000 to $150,000.
    <b>Arader Galleries, Dec. 11:</b> Gardner's photographic sketch book of the Civil War. $200,000 to $250,000.
    <b>Arader Galleries, Dec. 11:</b> Waugh Oil Painting, 70 Degrees North; The Polar Bear. $400,000 to $600,000.
    <center><b>Arader Galleries<br>Live Auction<br>December 11, 2021</b>
    <b>Arader Galleries, Dec. 11:</b> Audubon aquatint, Ivory-Billed Woodpecker. $75,000 to $90,000.
    <b>Arader Galleries, Dec. 11:</b> Blaeu terrestrial table globe, 1602. $70,000 to $100,000.
    <b>Arader Galleries, Dec. 11:</b> Audubon aquautint, Ruby-Throated Humming Bird. $35,000 to $45,000.
    <center><b>Arader Galleries<br>Live Auction<br>December 11, 2021</b>
    <b>Arader Galleries, Dec. 11:</b> Bessa original watercolor of a bouquet of flowers. $75,000 to $125,000.
    <b>Arader Galleries, Dec. 11:</b> John Gould's only work devoted to American birds. $15,000 to $20,000.
    <b>Arader Galleries, Dec. 11:</b> Wyld & Malby pair of terrestrial & celestial globes, 1833. $50,000 to $75,000.
    <center><b>Arader Galleries<br>Live Auction<br>December 11, 2021</b>
    <b>Arader Galleries, Dec. 11:</b> Leutze map of the world oil painting. $70,000 to $100,000.
    <b>Arader Galleries, Dec. 11:</b> Caula, the finest 18th century drawing of Lison. $25,000 to $35,000.
    <b>Arader Galleries, Dec. 11:</b> Scolari / Blaeu map of Germania, 1650. $15,000 to $22,000.

Rare Book Monthly

Articles - July - 2019 Issue

Sotheby's Goes Private or Sotheby's Going Going Up

Cdf3d8ec-bea7-4163-9988-b0efbad777ff

Sotheby's: Sold!

Sotheby’s, a publicly traded company for 30 years, has been purchased by Patrick Drahi for $3.7 billion including debt.  In going private the firm joins the other major auction houses in the world, all of whom are private.  While no reasons were given in Sotheby’s releases the company appears to have experienced a disconnect between how public companies are evaluated and auction houses function.  Publicly traded companies must perform quarterly, report sales and earnings every 90 days and provide an essentially non-stop flow of positive releases to support their stock price.  Privately held companies have no such public obligations and can focus on developing multi-year strategies, long the standard approach for the leading auction houses.

 

Said another way, when private auction houses weigh in with news it’s invariably to enhance their position with consignors and bidders.  Sotheby’s by comparison also had to pay attention to how investors were responding.  So Sotheby’s will not miss the public financial reporting and will again be able to develop their already significant strengths without having to keep an eye on the stock ticker whose demands frequently are at odds with auction house strategy and market cycles.

 

This is not to say that it was never logical for Sotheby’s to be public.  I assume the reason the company went public was to achieve a higher public valuation as well as create a path to liquidity for the then principal owners.  It is wonderful to build large companies but the exits are few and far between and going public, an option for only a few, can be exceptionally rewarding.

 

Most companies achieve success for their ownership by producing consistent and progressively higher earnings.  In the auction field this is difficult for various reasons.

 

While a few auction houses control some of the material that comes into their rooms, most rely on consignments that are notoriously inconsistent.  When markets are hot the consignments arrange themselves but when skepticism is out and about it’s easier to get an owner to shoot their dog than get them to consign.   Actually a lot easier.

 

Owners of big things may want to sell but they are not willing to be humiliated by the public repudiation that is possible if their consignment is a little off, a little worn, or a little over estimated.  In reality there’s a very small difference between a complete failure and an outstanding success.  Sotheby’s has always had an exceptional touch but consignors do not always remember that.

 

As a public company, while they achieved liquidity for their owners, the price they have long paid is the loss of secrecy that every private auction house shrouds their plans and strategies in.  As a public company, with the obligation to report earnings and prospects every quarter they are constantly forced to release information that potentially weakens their negotiation positions.

 

To counter this they moved ever higher in their pursuit of the most coveted collectibles.  Today paintings occasionally bring $100 million but every house wants them and concessions to consignors are more the norm than the exception.  In the rare book field not so much.  In fact the next Gutenberg Bible, a symbol of humanism, enlightenment, and emerging literacy in spectacular condition, will probably open at half that amount.

 

As a private company Sotheby’s will have the flexibility the public company lacked and they will be, as they have long been, formidable.

Rare Book Monthly

  • <b>Bonhams, Dec. 15:</b> BENJAMIN FRANKLIN. Autograph Letter Signed ("B. Franklin"), to Benjamin Vaughan asserting the primacy of American independence in negotiating the Treaty of Paris, Passy, July 11, 1782. $80,000 to $120,000.
    <b>Bonhams, Dec. 15:</b> BENJAMIN FRANKLIN. Autograph Letter Signed ("B. Franklin") to David Hartley addressing Hartley's final issues with the recently completed ratification of the Treaty of Paris, Passy, June 2, 1784. $70,000 to $100,000.
    <b>Bonhams, Dec. 15:</b> MASON & DIXON. A hand-colored contemporary manuscript map titled in cartouche, "A Map of that Part of AMERICA where a degree of LATITUDE was measured for the ROYAL SOCIETY, by Chas Mason & Jer: Dixon," c.1768. $8,000 to $12,000.
    <b>Bonhams, Dec. 15:</b> WILLIAM BUTLER YEATS. Autograph Manuscript Signed ("WB Yeats"), a fair copy of "When Helen Lived" for John Preece headed ("For John Preece"), framed. $5,000 to $7,000.
    <b>Bonhams, Dec. 15:</b> "LINCOLN SEATED." KECK, CHARLES, sculptor. 1875-1951. Patinated bronze, 1950. Louise Taper Collection. $10,000 to $15,000.
    <b>Bonhams, Dec. 15:</b> ABRAHAM LINCOLN'S FINAL HOURS. BURNS, J., painter. <i>Death-Bed of Abraham Lincoln.</i> Oil on canvas, 1866. Collection of Louise Taper. $8,000 to $12,000.
    <b>Bonhams, Dec. 15:</b> FILSON, CHARLES PATTERSON, painter. 1860-1937. <i>Portrait of Edwin M. Stanton, Lincoln's Secretary of War.</i> $3,000 to $5,000.
    <b>Bonhams, Dec. 15:</b> A MATZOS BOX PRESENTED BY THE MANISHEVITZ BROTHERS TO WARREN G. HARDING. Louise Taper Collection. $2,000 to $3,000.
    <b>Bonhams, Dec. 15:</b> LEWIS CARROLL. Original albumen print photograph, approximately 6 7/8 x 8 3/4 inches, Chelsea, London, October 7, 1863, of the Rossetti Family at home, one of only three known examples of the full image. $50,000 to $70,000.
    <b>Bonhams, Dec. 15:</b> CHRISTINA ROSSETTI. <i>Verses ... Dedicated to Her Mother.</i> Privately printed, 1847. First edition of her first book, printed at her grandfather's press, THE ROSSETTI FAMILY COPY. $15,000 to $20,000.
    <b>Bonhams, Dec. 15:</b> CHRISTINA ROSSETTI. Original drawing of snowdrops in purple pencil, sent by CGR to Lucy Rossetti, inscribed "I doubt whether you will make out my copy from nature," 1887. $800 to $1,200.
    <b>Bonhams, Dec. 15:</b> DANTE GABRIEL ROSSETTI, et al. The Germ: <i>Thoughts towards Nature in Poetry, Literature and Art.</i> Fine copy in a Doves binding by Cobden Sanderson. $12,000 to $18,000.
  • <i>Der Sturm.</i> 1922. Sold October 2021 for € 13,000.
    Diophantus Alexandrinus, <i>Arithmeticorum libri sex.</i> 1670. Sold October 2021 for € 18,000.
    <i>Cozzani Ettore e altri, l’Eroica. Tutto il pubblicato.</i> Sold October 2021 for € 11,000.
    Newton Isaac, <i>Philosophiae naturalis principia mathematica.</i> 1714. Sold October 2021 for € 7,500.
    Manetti Saverio, <i>Storia naturale degli uccelli.</i> 1767-1776. Sold April 2021 for € 26,000.
  • <center><b>Sotheby’s<br>Zang Tumb Tuuum:<br>la révolution futuriste<br>Online Auction<br>30 November – 7 December</b>
    <b>Sotheby’s, Nov. 18:</b> The "Official Edition" of the United States Constitution and the First Printing of the Final Text of the Constitution, 1787. $15,000,000 to $20,000.
    <b>Sotheby’s, Nov. 30 – Dec. 7:</b> Marinetti, Filippo Tommaso. I Paroliberi Futuristi. 1914-1915. 8 p. Unique corrected proofs, for an anthology that remained unpublished. €40,000 to €60,000.
    <b>Sotheby’s, Nov. 30 – Dec. 7:</b> Cangiullo, Francesco. Studenti in Lettere. Università. 1915. Seminal work, featured in 3 historical futurist exhibitions. €20,000 to €30,000.
    <b>Sotheby’s, Nov. 30 – Dec. 7:</b> Cangiullo, Francesco. Chiaro di luna. Circa 1915. Collage and gouache on paper. €15,000 to €20,000.
    <b>Sotheby’s, Nov. 30 – Dec. 7:</b> Marinetti, Filippo Tommaso. Manicure. Faire les ongles à l'Italie. Circa 1915. A fantastic parody of an advertising poster. €20,000 to €30,000.
  • <center><b>Fonsie Mealy’s<br>Christmas Rare Books<br>& Collectors' Sale<br>December 7th & 8th, 2021</b>
    <b>Fonsie Mealy’s, Dec. 7-8:</b> Ortelius (Abraham). <i>Theatrum Orbis Terrarum,</i> folio, Antwerp, 1570, First Edition (2nd Issue), 53 double-page maps, contemporary hand colouring. €40,000 to €60,000.
    <b>Fonsie Mealy’s, Dec. 7-8:</b> An original engraved facsimile copy of the Declaration of Independence of 4 July 1776, issued by order of Congress on 4 July 1823 in a limited edition of 200 copies on fine parchment. €20,000 to €30,000.
    <b>Fonsie Mealy’s, Dec. 7-8:</b> Joyce (James). <i>Ulysses.</i> Shakespeare & Co., Rue de l’Odeon, Paris 1922. No. 559 of 1000 Copies of the First Edn.,, one of 750 Copies on handmade paper. €10,000 to €15,000.
    <center><b>Fonsie Mealy’s<br>Christmas Rare Books<br>& Collectors' Sale<br>December 7th & 8th, 2021</b>
    <b>Fonsie Mealy’s, Dec. 7-8:</b> Malton (James) [1761-1803]. A fine quality set of twenty-five hand coloured aquatint Views of Dublin, as published for <i>A Picturesque and Descriptive View of the City of Dublin</i>. €6,000 to €7,000.
    <b>Fonsie Mealy’s, Dec. 7-8:</b> 'Bloody Sunday.' An original Admission Ticket to Croke Park, Great Challenge Match (Football), Tipperary v. Dublin, Sunday, November 21,1920. Pink card, 3 ins x 4 ¼ ins. €4,000 to €5,000.
    <b>Fonsie Mealy’s, Dec. 7-8:</b> Joyce (James). <i>Haveth Childers Everywhere - Fragment from Work in Progress,</i> Paris & N.Y., 1930, First Edn., Signed and Limited No. 50 (100) Copies. €4,000 to €6,000.
    <center><b>Fonsie Mealy’s<br>Christmas Rare Books<br>& Collectors' Sale<br>December 7th & 8th, 2021</b>
    <b>Fonsie Mealy’s, Dec. 7-8:</b> Edward Lyons, Irish (1726-1801). Genealogy: <i>The FitzGerald's Arms of Carton House, Kildare,</i> pen and ink and watercolour on laid paper. €3,000 to €4,000.
    <b>Fonsie Mealy’s, Dec. 7-8:</b> Yeats (William Butler). <i>Poems.</i> Cuala Press, D. 1935, stiff blue paper covers, unlettered as issued, coloured initials and ornaments hand-drawn by Elizabeth Corbet Yeats. One of 300 copies. €2,000 to €3,000.
    <b>Fonsie Mealy’s, Dec. 7-8:</b> A fine and important collection of Ulster Wit. Belfast Political Scrapbook, 19th century. €1,500 to €2,000.
    <center><b>Fonsie Mealy’s<br>Christmas Rare Books<br>& Collectors' Sale<br>December 7th & 8th, 2021</b>
    <b>Fonsie Mealy’s, Dec. 7-8:</b> Rare Views of the Giant's Causeway. Coloured Prints: Drury (Susanna) [1698-1770]. A rare pair of original Engraved Prints. €1,200 to €1,500.
    <b>Fonsie Mealy’s, Dec. 7-8:</b> [Johnson (Rev. Samuel)]. <i>Julian the Apsostate Being a Short Account of his Life, together with a Comparison of Popery and Paganism,</i> L., 1682, First Edn. €800 to €1,200.
    <b>Fonsie Mealy’s, Dec. 7-8:</b> Aringhi (Pauli). <i>Roma Subterranea Novissima,</i> 2 vols. lg. folio Rome (Typis Vitalis Mascardi) 1651. €350 to €750.
  • <b><center>One of a Kind Collectibles Auctions<br>Rare Autographs, Manuscripts, Entertainment and Sports Auction<br>December 9th</b>
    <b>One of a Kind Collectibles, Dec. 9:</b> SITTING BULL SIGNED PHOTO (The Finest in Existence).
    <b>One of a Kind Collectibles, Dec. 9:</b> The Beatles Signed Photo Card and the Make-Up Sponge Used During the Historic February 1964 Ed Sullivan Performance.
    <b>One of a Kind Collectibles, Dec. 9:</b> Extremely Rare John Wesley Hardin Signature from a Texas Cattle Brand Book, early 1870s.
    <b><center>One of a Kind Collectibles Auctions<br>Rare Autographs, Manuscripts, Entertainment and Sports Auction<br>December 9th</b>
    <b>One of a Kind Collectibles, Dec. 9:</b> Albert Einstein "refugee intellectuals of the Hitler persecution.”
    <b>One of a Kind Collectibles, Dec. 9:</b> LYNDON B. JOHNSON Personally Owned & Worn STETSON HAT.
    <b>One of a Kind Collectibles, Dec. 9:</b> Sigmund Freud Typed Letter Signed in English "I am still on the road to health, but I have not arrived."
    <b><center>One of a Kind Collectibles Auctions<br>Rare Autographs, Manuscripts, Entertainment and Sports Auction<br>December 9th</b>
    <b>One of a Kind Collectibles, Dec. 9:</b> Nixon’s All Time Baseball All Star Team and the Reporter that helped change the 1972 Presidential Election!
    <b>One of a Kind Collectibles, Dec. 9:</b> Incredible signed ''Atomic Energy for Military Purposes'' -by Enrico Fermi & Robert Oppenheimer and- Also Signed by Four Other Manhattan Project Scientists Who Developed the First Atomic Bomb.
    <b>One of a Kind Collectibles, Dec. 9:</b> Samuel Adams, Signer of Declaration Of Independence, Signed Military Appointment.
    <b><center>One of a Kind Collectibles Auctions<br>Rare Autographs, Manuscripts, Entertainment and Sports Auction<br>December 9th</b>
    <b>One of a Kind Collectibles, Dec. 9:</b> Orville Wright & Glenn Martin Signed Photograph.
    <b>One of a Kind Collectibles, Dec. 9:</b> Thomas Jefferson, a Magnificent Large Signature.
    <b>One of a Kind Collectibles, Dec. 9:</b> Robert E. Lee ALS, “Suffering people of the South … blessing of God.”
  • <b><center>Doyle<br>Rare Books, Autographs & Maps<br>December 9</b>
    <b>Doyle, Rare Books, Autographs & Maps:</b> Lot 47. Roosevelt, Theodore. Photograph inscribed to Morris J. Hirsch. May 7th 1918. $1,500 to $2,500.
    <b>Doyle, Rare Books, Autographs & Maps:</b> Lot 178. Whitman, Walt. <i>Leaves of Grass.</i> Brooklyn, New York: [Printed for the author], 1955. First edition in the first issue binding. $70,000 to $100,000.
    <b>Doyle, Rare Books, Autographs & Maps:</b> Lot 38. Mather, Cotton. <i>Magnalia Christi Americana; or, the Ecclesiastical History of New-England.</i> London: Printed for Thomas Parkhurst, 1702. First edition. $3,000 to $5,000.
    <b>Doyle, Rare Books, Autographs & Maps:</b> Lot 55. Taylor, Zachary. Autograph letter signed as President-Elect. Baton Rouge: January 15, 1849. $5,000 to $8,000.
    <b>Doyle, Rare Books, Autographs & Maps:</b> Lot 203. Picasso, Pablo. <i>Verve</i> Vol. V, Nos. 19-20. Paris: Editions Verve, 1948. Inscribed on the title page by Picasso. $1,500 to $2,500.
    <b><center>Doyle<br>Rare Books, Autographs & Maps<br>December 9</b>
    <b>Doyle, Rare Books, Autographs & Maps:</b> Lot 211. Domergue, Jean-Gabriel. L'Ete a Monte Carlo. Lithographed poster, Lucien Serre & Cie, Paris, circa 1937. $1,000 to $1,500.
    <b>Doyle, Rare Books, Autographs & Maps:</b> Lot 105. Manuscript Illumination attr. to Neri da Rimini. Large excised initial "N" from a choirbook, extensively historiated. [Likely Rimini: first quarter of the 14th century]. $2,000 to $3,000.
    <b>Doyle, Rare Books, Autographs & Maps:</b> Lot 40. McKenney, Thomas L. and Hall, James. <i>History of the Indian Tribes of North America, with Biographical Sketches and Anecdotes of the Principal Chiefs.</i> Philadelphia: Rice, Rutter & Co., 1870. $3,00
    <b>Doyle, Rare Books, Autographs & Maps:</b> Lot 222. Searle, Ronald. [Pets--a dog, cats and a parrot-- surrounded by books, and inspecting a globe, perhaps planning global domination]. Original drawing, 17 3/8 x 13 1/2 inches. $1,500 to $2,500.
    <b>Doyle, Rare Books, Autographs & Maps:</b> Lot 98. Faden, William; Scull, Nicholas and George Heap. A Plan of the City and Environs of Philadelphia, Survey'd by N. Scull and G. Heap. London: William Faden, 12 March 1777. $3,000 to $5,000.

Article Search

Archived Articles

Ask Questions