• <b><center>Gonnelli Auction House<br>Books, Autographs & Manuscripts<br>11th-12th of October 2022
    <b>Gonnelli Oct. 11th:</b> Alfieri Vittorio, <i>Vita [...] scritta da esso,</i> 1968. Starting Price: €900,00.
    <b>Gonnelli Oct. 11th:</b> Collection of 25 albumin photographs depicting Italian, French and Swiss places. Late 19th century.
    <b>Gonnelli Oct. 11th:</b> Brandolini D’Adda Brandolino, Duale. <i>Poesia [...] e incisioni di Sandro Martini,</i> 1976.
    <b>Gonnelli Oct. 11th:</b> Alighieri Dante, <i>La divina commedia di Dante</i> edizione illustrata da 30 fotografie tolte da disegni di Scaramuzza, 1879. Starting Price: €500,00.
    Gonnelli Oct. 12th: Cervantes Saavedra Miguel (de), <i>El Ingenioso Hidalgo Don Quixote de la Mancha.</i> Nueva edicion corregida por la Real Academia Española, 1780. Starting price: €12.000,00.
    <b>Gonnelli Oct. 11th:</b> Collodi Carlo, <i>Le avventure di Pinocchio. Storia di un burattino,</i> 1883. Starting price: €6.000,00.
    <b>Gonnelli Oct. 11th:</b> Wilde Oscar, <i>The Picture of Dorian Gray [...]</i> with original images & notes on the text by Jim Dine, 1968. Starting price: €1.500,00
    <b>Gonnelli Oct. 11th:</b> The smallest tarot cards in the world. 21st century.
  • <b><center>Sotheby’s<br>Antiquarian Books<br>Including a series of views of Milan<br>September 27 to October 4</b></center>
    <b>Sotheby’s, Sep. 27 – Oct. 4:</b> Livius, Historia Romanae decades, Venice, Vindelinus de Spira, 1470, contemporary Morocco. €30,000 to €40,000.
    <b>Sotheby’s, Sep. 27 – Oct. 4:</b> Blaeu, Nieuw Stedeboeck van Italien (Piemont), The Hague, 1724-1725, 8 volumes, marbled calf gilt. €70,000 to €90,000.
    <b>Sotheby’s, Sep. 27 – Oct. 4:</b> Baysio, Rosarium decretorum, Venice, 1481, later vellum. €10,000 to €15,000.
    <b>Sotheby’s, Sep. 27 – Oct. 4:</b> [Niccolò da Poggibonsi], Viaggio da Venetia al santo Sepulchro, Venice, 1529, later half calf. €2,000 to €3,000.
    <b>Sotheby’s, Sep. 27 – Oct. 4:</b> Hieronymus, Epistole [Italian], Ferrara, 1497, blue crushed morocco with the Rocco di Torrepadula arms. €12,000 to €15,000.
  • <center><b>Swann Auction Galleries<br>Printed & Manuscript Americana<br>September 29, 2022</b>
    <b>Swann September 29:</b> Extensive archive of papers of Lincoln’s Secretary of the Navy, Gideon Welles. $60,000 to $90,000.
    <b>Swann September 29:</b> George Catlin, <i>North American Indian Portfolio,</i> 1844. $40,000 to $60,000.
    <b>Swann September 29:</b> The Twenty-Four Books of the Holy Scriptures, Carefully Translated…after the Best Jewish Authorities, Philadelphia, 1853-54. $10,000 to $15,000.
    <center><b>Swann Auction Galleries<br>Printed & Manuscript Americana<br>September 29, 2022</b>
    <b>Swann September 29:</b> Wedding book of Eleanor Roosevelt’s bodyguard, Earl Miller, signed by the Roosevelts, 1932. $6,000 to $9,000.
    <b>Swann September 29:</b> Textile titled <i>The Resignation of Pres’t Washington,</i> Scotland, circa 1800. $5,000 to $7,500.
    <b>Swann September 29:</b> Gideon Welles, Pass for President Lincoln’s White House funeral, 1865. $4,000 to $6,000.
    <b>Swann September 29:</b> Confirmation of arms and nobility in favor of the Diez y Mora family, Madrid, 1710. $2,500 to $3,500.

Rare Book Monthly

Articles - March - 2020 Issue

Tips,Tool & Terms: The Three Minute Guide to Graphics Arts

B593991d-6f02-4c65-88e5-9514c4332fc8

The History of Printmaking is a 1996 Scholastic publication that covers a complex subject in an easy to understand way. It is a clear and inexpensive way to learn about many aspects of the graphic arts.

You can spend a lifetime learning the fine points of graphics, whether they are original works of art, or parts of books such as illustrations, maps or in some cases photos. I got my degree in printmaking, then knocked around the museum side of graphics for awhile before ending up as a bookseller for more than 40 years years. I can’t make you an instant expert (especially not in three minutes) put here are a few tips that may come in useful when handling images on paper.

 

TIPS

Touch It: When it comes to graphics “touch” is the most important and most accurate indicator. It is easy to fool the eye, copies are everywhere, and newer digital technology can easily replicate not just the image but the plate tone and even in some cases the plate mark. The eye is gullible, the fingers not so much. When in doubt touch it. Feel the surface of the paper, notice how the ink lies on the sheet (or sinks into the surface), notice the “feel” of the paper. Your fingers are a better judge of age than your eyes.

 

Paper is hard to forge: It’s easy to reproduce a picture, especially now in the 21st century there are countless ways to make and edit digital copies. Are you looking at an 18th century map, but the paper feels too slick, thin, brittle or modern for the image? Chances are it’s not the real thing. Don’t be fooled by fancy presentation, if you’ve got an old picture on a new paper your eye may not see it, but your fingers will know the difference.

 

Speaking of paper and touch, it’s easy to tell the difference between an antique “rag” paper and a modern “wood pulp” paper. Up until the middle of the 19th century almost all paper had significant rag (long strong fiber) content which made them feel and wear more like cloth than what we think of as “paper” today. An older rag pulp paper will be flexible and it may bend, but it usually doesn’t make a hard sharp crease or chip easily.

 

In the mid-19th century the wood pulp paper manufacturing process replaced rag papers except for cases where a fine a durable sheet was desired (and that wasn’t often). That’s why the old maps and engravings made in the 1700s are frequently found in such terrific shape, while their younger copies and counterparts from the late 19th century are often brittle and chipped.

 

Wood pulp papers can look terrific: they come in a huge range of weights, finishes and colors, but in the end the fibers that hold the sheet together are short and weak. Wood pulp papers often yellow, brown or fox (get age spots). They get brittle, tear easily, and not made to last. Most fine prints are still made on rag papers. As for conservation supplies, even with our current push toward archival interleaving, chances are you can retard discoloration with careful handling, but not entirely stop it.

 

Don’t buy framed artwork on paper under glass without taking it out of the frame- that goes for anything on paper and it is the main corollary to “Touch It.” If it’s under glass you have at least a very good chance of being wrong. If you are thinking about buying a framed print or map on paper under glass, no matter how real and authentic it appears, take it out of the frame. Take it out of the mat. Turn it over and look on the back. Take it off of the backing and hold it up to the light, look for watermarks, ghost images, other things you might not see otherwise.

 

Many graphics have wonderful frames attached to ghastly acid saturated mats that are burning and eating away at the paper below them. Ditto for backing boards. Even the modern so called “acid free” or buffered matting leaves mat burn, a yellowish ghosting at the edge of the image area. If you are going to spend serious money, take the time to know what you are getting. As for storage, remember even old ink can offset, so store your print inventory flat in a cool dry place, interleaved with acid free paper and check frequently for insects.

 

Read any simple book on printmaking. Can’t tell a lithograph from a silk screen? Don’t know an etching from an engraving? Take the time to read an easy inexpensive book. The one I recommend is called THE HISTORY OF PRINTMAKING; it’s part of the Scholastic Voyages of Discovery series published in 1996. It’s actually made for children, but it’s clearly written and vividly illustrated. You can read it cover-to-cover in less than an hour and learn a tremendous amount of basic information about graphic arts. Currently there are many copies available online priced under $10.

 

Don’t hang your prints in the bathroom or direct sunlight. That advice seems like a no-brainer to me, but you’d be surprised how many people don’t realize that prints are both light and humidity sensitive.

 

TOOLS

Own a good magnifying glass. The magnifying glass is a friend of both the buyer and the seller. Graphics, especially the kind of graphics found in books are intimate in nature and usually relatively small in scale. Using a good magnifying glass can help a seller explain the differences in tonality, line quality and techniques. All of those things which are hard to explain in words are easy (nay exciting) to see and easily understood with the help of a good magnifying glass.

 

The magnifying glass is also indispensable for the buyer, as it can reveal the telltale tiny “dots” that are the hallmark of the photolithography (often called offset litho) process. Seeing those dots under the glass means “This is a modern printed reproduction. Even if it’s “old”, it’s an old repro.

 

A couple useful TERMS

Del. & Sculp. Del (or similar) means "drew" in Latin. The name following is the artist who did the drawing that the print reproduces. It is common, especially in the 18th and 19th century to see Del. followed by a name below the image on one side of the print (often on the left side below the image, and Sculp. (or similar)- meaning the name of the person or company that did the engraving) on the other side, usually the right, below the image.

 

A/P in contemporary printmaking A/P written in pencil below an image or on the back of the sheet means artist’s proof. An artist’s proof can be one of many stages that the image goes through before arriving at the final version, i.e. the image that will be used to make multiple copies. Artists often keep artist’s proofs for their own collections. An artist’s proof is likely to be scarcer than a similar print.

 

Numbering a print is a contemporary convention that has come into being relatively recently. If you see a fine “art” print that is numbered 2/250 that means it is the second print pulled in an edition limited to 250. It does not necessarily mean all 250 copies have been printed, it means the artist intends to print no more than that number. Numbering prints isn’t always accurate and it doesn’t invariably guarantee there aren’t other copies floating around as different states or proofs. Numbering originally was used because the plates would wear down and an early impression might be better than a later impression, in today’s world numbering is frequently more of a marketing technique than any guarantee of scarcity

Rare Book Monthly

  • <b><center>Potter & Potter Auctions<br>Fine Books & Manuscripts<br>October 20, 2022</b></center>
    <b>Potter & Potter, Oct. 20:</b> JOYCE, James. <i>Ulysses.</i> London: John Lane the Bodley Head, 1937. PRESENTATION COPY OF THE FIRST ENGLISH EDITION PRINTED IN ENGLAND. $50,000 to $60,000.
    <b>Potter & Potter, Oct. 20:</b> [SHACKLETON, Ernest]. –– BROWNING, Robert. <i>Poetical Works of…</i> London: Smith and Elder, 1906. PRESENTED TO SHACKLETON AND THE OFFICERS OF THE NIMROD BY A MEMBER OF THE ROYAL GEOGRAPHICAL SOCIETY. $40,000 to $60,000.
    <b>Potter & Potter, Oct. 20:</b> AUDUBON, John James. <i>The Birds of America, from Drawings Made in the United States and Their Territories.</i> New York: George R. Lockwood, [1870]. $30,000 to $40,000.
    <b><center>Potter & Potter Auctions<br>Fine Books & Manuscripts<br>October 20, 2022</b></center>
    <b>Potter & Potter, Oct. 20:</b> ARISTOTLE. Opera, in Greek, parts one and two only: Organon and Natural Philosophy I. Edited by Aldus and others. Venice: Aldus Manutius, 1 November 1495–February 1498. $20,000 to $30,000.
    <b>Potter & Potter, Oct. 20:</b> COOK, James, Capt. [Collected Voyages]. First and Second Voyages: London: W. Strahan; and T. Cadell, 1773, 1777; Third Voyage: London: H. Hughes for G. Nicol and T. Cadell, 1785. $14,000 to $18,000.
    <b>Potter & Potter, Oct. 20:</b> CLEMENS, Samuel Langhorne (“Mark Twain”). <i>The Writings of…</i> Hartford: American Publishing Co., 1899–1900. $12,000 to $16,000.
    <b><center>Potter & Potter Auctions<br>Fine Books & Manuscripts<br>October 20, 2022</b></center>
    <b>Potter & Potter, Oct. 20:</b> [KELMSCOTT PRESS]. SHAKESPEARE, William. <i>The Poems of…</i> Edited by Frederick S. Ellis. Hammersmith: William Morris for the Kelmscott Press, 1893. $12,000 to $15,000.
    <b>Potter & Potter, Oct. 20:</b> LONDON, Jack. <i>The Call of the Wild.</i> New York: The Macmillan Company, 1905. PRESENTATION COPY INSCRIBED BY LONDON. $10,000 to $15,000.
    <b>Potter & Potter, Oct. 20:</b> CROWLEY, Aleister (1875–1947). <i>The Winged Beetle.</i> London: privately printed, 1910. $10,000 to $15,000.
    <b><center>Potter & Potter Auctions<br>Fine Books & Manuscripts<br>October 20, 2022</b></center>
    <b>Potter & Potter, Oct. 20:</b> WILDE, Oscar (“C.3.3.”). <i>The Ballad of Reading Gaol.</i> London: Leonard Smithers, January 1898. $6,000 to $8,000.
    <b>Potter & Potter, Oct. 20:</b> DRYDEN, John. <i>Fables Ancient and Modern; translated into verse from Homer, Ovid, Boccace, & Chaucer: with original poems.</i> London: John Tonson, 1700. $4,000 to $6,000.
    <b>Potter & Potter, Oct. 20:</b> [MAP]. LINSCHOTEN, Jan Huygen van. <i>Delineatio Orarum Maritimarum…</i> London: John Wolfe, 1598. $3,000 to $4,000.
  • <center><b>Doyle<br>Rare Books, Autographs & Maps<br>October 13, 2022</b>
    <b>Doyle, Rare Books, Autographs & Maps:</b> Lot 109. Miguel de Cervantes. <i>The History of Don-Quichote. The first parte.</i> London: William Stansby for Edward Blount, 1620. $60,000 to $90,000.
    <b>Doyle, Rare Books, Autographs & Maps:</b> Lot 43. Franklin Delano Roosevelt. <i>Addresses of Franklin D. Roosevelt and Winston Churchill.</i> Washington: The White House, Christmastide, 1942. $15,000 to $25,000.
    <b>Doyle, Rare Books, Autographs & Maps:</b> Lot 113. Charles Darwin. A collection of 26 titles including <i>On the Origin of Species.</i> $10,000 to $12,000.
    <b>Doyle, Rare Books, Autographs & Maps:</b> Lot 210. Philip Guston. Important correspondence between Philip Guston and Ralph and Martha Hyams. New York, 1967-76. $20,000 to $30,000.
    <b>Doyle, Rare Books, Autographs & Maps:</b> Lot 26. John F. Kennedy and Marilyn Monroe. Signed guest book and original photos from the May 19, 1962 reception. $40,000 to $60,000.
    <center><b>Doyle<br>Rare Books, Autographs & Maps<br>October 13, 2022</b>
    <b>Doyle, Rare Books, Autographs & Maps:</b> Lot 194. J.R.R. Tolkien. <i>The Lord of the Rings Trilogy.</i> London: George Allen and Unwin, 1954-1954-1955. $12,000 to $18,000.
    <b>Doyle, Rare Books, Autographs & Maps:</b> Lot 164. Max Beerbohm. Autograph Manuscript for The Happy Hypocrite, circa 1896. $8,000 to $12,000.
    <b>Doyle, Rare Books, Autographs & Maps:</b> Lot 158. Mark Twain. <i>The Writings.</i> Hartford: American Publishing Company, 1899-1907. The Autograph Edition. $7,000 to $10,000.
    <b>Doyle, Rare Books, Autographs & Maps:</b> Lot 150. Lady Dilke. <i>French Painters of the XVIIIth Century.</i> London: George Bell, 1899. First edition. $3,000 to $5,000.
    <b>Doyle, Rare Books, Autographs & Maps:</b> Lot 200. Ludwig Bemelmans. Original sketch of Madeline, ink and gouache. $4,000 to $6,000.

Article Search

Archived Articles

Ask Questions