Rare Book Monthly

Articles - April - 2020 Issue

Auctions – A Moving Target

Book auctions have become a moving target.

Not much of anything is normal or unchanging in this very difficult time. Book auctions have not been exempt. The term “auction rooms” implies the problem. An auction room is a place crowded with bidders and auction house personnel, often packed into a limited space. In most of the big cities around the world where the largest auctions are held such a venue has been outlawed for now. In those places without such regulations, they should have them. Bidders at book auctions, mainly collectors and dealers, occasionally an institution, tend to be older people, those most vulnerable. This is a time to stay safe.

 

If you follow book auctions on this website (and this is the one stop place to view book auctions from hundreds of houses from all over the world), you may have noticed some posted auctions disappearing. Some houses plan out their schedule for the entire year before January 1. No one anticipated anything like this. Many have gone ahead anyway. Some have been cancelled. Many have been postponed. In this case, some have selected alternate dates. Good luck with these unless they are far out. Others have been postponed with no alternate date set. They will play it by ear.

 

While auctions that have not been catalogued are easy to postpone or cancel, it is trickier with auctions that are set to go. Consigners have obvious expectations of a sale, and potential bidders who have viewed the postings will be disappointed. It doesn't matter. There are basically two options - postpone or dispense with live bidding. That leads us to the type of auctions that have mostly not been affected. Many auctions today are online only. Even large established auction houses now have online-only auctions. Those are free to go forward.

 

Will we see more online auctions in the days ahead? Naturally. The question is when this is all over, will there be a permanent shift? It would be unusual if things ever return to where they were before.

 

So, it you have been following auctions here, and see sales or individual lots you have been following disappear, this is the explanation. Expect to see more of it in the days ahead. If the lots you are following are in an online auction, they will probably (but not certainly) go off as scheduled. Even online auctions require people and the auction may be difficult to run with remote personnel.

 

To keep up with what sales are coming up, and which have disappeared, check with our auction calendar. You will find it here: www.rarebookhub.com/auctions/calendar.


Posted On: 2020-04-18 12:12
User Name: traffordbooks

Our on-line auction of books and other paper collectables is definitiely ON on the 13thMay.
Please include this in you calendar.
Sincerely
Trafford Books.
Manchester, UK


Rare Book Monthly

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    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
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    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.
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    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
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    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
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    Sotheby’s, Available Now: Winston Churchill. The Second World War. Set of First-Edition Volumes. 6,000 USD
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