A Benchmark Auction of Americana June 21st
Lot 135 is Williamson's "A History of the Genesee." The title in the catalogue is misspelled Genessee. Drop the second s and you'll find one copy on ABE priced at $9,000. Lot 152 is The Columbus Business Directory for 1843-4. On ABE there are three copies, all with problems, all priced below the high estimate. The Snider copy also has problems. Lot 154 is Juliette Kinzie's Wau-Bun, the "Early Day" in the North-West published in 1856. There are 16 copies on ABE, 10 offered at or below the low estimate of $300. Lot 155 is John Collins' "The City and Scenery of Newport, Rhode Island" printed in Burlington, New Jersey in 1857. There are 3 copies on ABE, 2 offered at or below the low estimate. Where there are ABE matches they are worth considering. The high majority of lots in the Snider sale find no comparables on any listing sites although most have extensive priced histories in the AED.
Another title in this sale that is found on ABE is Jonathan Carver's Travels through the Interior Parts of North-America. However, the Snider example is several magnitudes better. In a field that values original boards and uncut pages this copy is remarkable. To that add the impeccable provenance of Hershel V. Jones, Frank T. Siebert and Jay Snider and this copy approaches gem status. It is estimated at $3,000 to $4,000. The same copy brought $7,475 in the Siebert sale and will bring a premium in this sale. Careful comparison is essential.
Another Snider copy that will be difficult to compare to ABE listings is Michel Guillaume St. Jean de Crevecoeur's "Letters from an American Farmer." Again the copy is in original boards and is uncut. A single rebound copy on ABE is priced at $5,400 suggesting the $5,000 to $7,000 auction estimate may be low.
Since the Siebert sale six years ago knowledge has increased and access broadened. The online listings have exploded into a firmament of 125 million items, each for sale and each at least minimally described. The antiquarian and collectible books portion is of course much smaller, perhaps two million items, five million using the broader definition of 50 years old and at least marginally collectible. In that same period AE has been building an extensive record of important and collectible printed and manuscript material offered by dealers and sold at auction. For the serious collector the tools have never been better. And with the exceptional material in the Jay Snider collection you have the opportunity, may I say obligation if you are going to be a bidder, to evaluate them first hand. Electronic charts of all Siebert items and selected ABE items are attached.
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It is going to be an exceptional sale and serious collectors should do their homework.