Rare Book Monthly

Articles - June - 2020 Issue

How about spending $300 to save $10,000

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Collectors early on too often follow the well-trod path from enthusiasm to disaster after they learn that market valuation is different than asking prices.  For the new collector this is terribly important because enthusiasm can get badly dinged. 

 

To familiarize yourself how to collect Spencer W. Stuart has organized a collector/collection advisory service and has created a 60 minute webinar to explain his approach.  It addresses many of the questions and complexities inexperienced collectors will find useful.

 

Why?

 

Collecting needs to be contextualized.  Why and what are essential questions.  What are your goals and are they practical?  Are you a person who buys the cheapest or the best copies?  Is your goal to enjoy a meaningful collection or to achieve a meaningful investment?  In other words, collecting requires to identify, understand and accept limits on time and money.

 

Spencer’s approach is intense but it’s a good investment.

 

That said, to be effective you will need to embrace some aspects of the dealer perspective.  And to do that you’ll need to think like a dealer.  Dealers are knowledgeable.  And in your chosen collecting focus you’ll want to become expert.

 

If you would like to join Spencer’s webinar here is information about him.

 

Spencer W. Stuart:  Curriculum vitae

 

My Start

 

In the winter of 2014, at the age of 24, I was hired by the Toronto office of Bonhams Auction House. Having recently graduated from the Courtauld Institute of Art in London, England, where I received a Master’s degree in the History of Art, I began the position as a business administrator with the thought that I would transition into one of the Visual Arts departments. This thought decisively changed with the exposure to a quick succession of quality book collections in the Greater Toronto Area. Dealing directly with first editions of Modern Irish Literature, Travel and Exploration, and finally the Natural Sciences, including the books and letters of Charles Darwin, served as my introduction to rare books and manuscripts.

 

A bibliophile since adolescence, at Bonhams I was fortunate to have the opportunity to handle and examine these rare items starting in 2015 with the invitation to work with the US Book Department on their sale featuring the collection of Barbara J. Land, a prominent figure in the Bay Area Rare Book community. For the next three years I would make two week visits every quarter. It was there that I was introduced to highly experienced colleagues who have taught me to catalogue and evaluate rare books as well as provide me with opportunities to develop auctions alongside them. The Rare Book School at UVA and the Colorado Antiquarian Book Seminars further supplemented my fundamentals.

 

During my time with Bonhams I was able to work with colleagues on some fine collections such as the Andrew Caren Archive, the Harry E. Gould, Jr. Autograph Collection, and rare books and manuscripts such as first editions of James Joyce, letters from the later part of Charles Darwin’s life, and, perhaps most notably, the first known printing of Aristotle’s De animalibus.

 

Establishing Spencer W Stuart, Collections Advisor

 

In the Summer of 2017, I started Spencer W Stuart, Collections Advisor aiding collectors at various stages acquisition, cataloguing, deaccession, and donation. During this period, in addition to my client work, I began giving public lectures on book histories, writing articles for a variety of publications including Amphora and The Book Collector and serving of the Board of the Alcuin Society. In the Fall of 2018 I was invited to become a monthly guest on the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation’s (equivalent to NPR) radio show North By Northwest where I lead conversations relating to an anniversary in publishing history with a particular focus to the material stages texts go through before becoming a book. [http://spencerwstuart.ca/media/]

 

The decision to start my own collection advisory business stemmed from continual house visits where I was met with a similar scenario, representatives of a collector’s estate left to divest of the collection under duress with little information nor time. In addressing this, I work with active collectors to devise strategies for deaccession. In tandem, as a younger participant in the industry, I work closely with New Collectors. This is a demographic that is more technologically connected to their markets of interest and they are participating in the auction room, albeit mostly remotely, like never before. Bruce E. McKinney’s data in his January 2020 article “The Pie is getting Larger” for Rare Book Hub, although not addressing demographics directly, indicates a year over year net increase of bidder participation across the fields of rare books, print material, photography, and ephemera. As McKinney states:

 

As part of the Rare Book Hub / Americana Exchange database project we record auction statistics and the numbers are many, almost a blur.  But consider this.  The number of lots offered, percentage of lots sold and the median sale price over the past 5 years, have all increased, suggesting the collectible paper market, at the auction level at least, is growing.  In real terms, in 2015, 423,000 lots were offered and this year a projected 510,000 when all the lots are counted, an increase of 18,000 lots annually [3.92%] that has also seen a rising percentage of lots selling, increasing from 73% to almost 77% over the same period.  That can’t happen without more participation and according to our sign-ups, it’s collectors that are making the difference.

 

This is certainly the case amongst my clientele as well. The young, fueled by expert online research skills and creative approaches to subject collecting, are mitigating risky purchasing decisions at a considerably quicker rate than that of their predecessors. They simply have access to more information and opinions that allow them to make educated decisions. Credit should be paid to the improved transparency within the Trade itself. Concurrent to this emerging trend, middle and late-stage collectors are making use of increasingly inexpensive and accessible collection management software, combined with subscriptions to auction result aggregators, to better understand how their collections relate to the larger market place within which they are involved. It is an exciting time to be working with collectors engaged in this paradigmatic shift.

 

However, these collecting behaviours have not been adopted across the board, which led me to develop a three-part program to define what the early, middle, and late phases of a collector look like in this technological environment. Entitled Lifecycles: Collecting & Collections, the Series focuses on collecting art (prints, photography, and painting) and building private libraries. It will cover the complete timeline of a collector and their collection(s), discussing the initial attractions that move one to collect through to the steps one must take to ensure a collection’s legacy beyond one’s very personal time and place.

 

Register for Spencer W Stuart’s Lifecycles webinar through EventBrite: https://www.eventbrite.ca/e/lifecycles-collecting-collections-tickets-104787498228

 

Rare Book Monthly

  • <center><b>Hindman Auctions<br>Fine Books & Manuscripts,<br>Including Americana<br>Live and Online<br>May 12, 2021</b>
    <b>Hindman Auctions, May 12:</b> CURRIER and IVES, publishers -- After Frances F. Palmer. The Rocky Mountains. Emigrants Crossing the Plains, 1866. $10,000 to $15,000.
    <b>Hindman Auctions, May 12:</b> [BIBLE, in English]. <i>The New Testament of Jesus Christ, translated faithfully into English.</i> Rheims, 1582. $6,000 to $8,000.
    <b>Hindman Auctions, May 12:</b> [BIBLE, in Latin]. <i>Biblia latina.</i> Venice: Franz Renner of Hailbrun [Heilbrunn], 1483. $3,000 to $4,000.
    <center><b>Hindman Auctions<br>Fine Books & Manuscripts,<br>Including Americana<br>Live and Online<br>May 12, 2021</b>
    <b>Hindman Auctions, May 12:</b> SHELLEY, Percy Bysshe (1792-1822). Autograph letter signed ("P. B. S."), to Charles Ollier. Florence, Italy, 15 December 1819. “MY PROMETHEUS IS THE BEST THING I EVER WROTE.” $3,000 to $4,000.
    <b>Hindman Auctions, May 12:</b> RAMSAY, David (1749-1815). <i>The History of the Revolution of South-Carolina…</i> Trenton: Isaac Collins, 1785. $3,000 to $4,000.
    <b>Hindman Auctions, May 12:</b> [BINDINGS]. MUIR, John (1838-1914). <i>The Writings of John Muir.</i> Boston and New York: Houghton Mifflin Company, 1916-1924. 10 vols. $2,000 to $3,000.
    <center><b>Hindman Auctions<br>Fine Books & Manuscripts,<br>Including Americana<br>Live and Online<br>May 12, 2021</b>
    <b>Hindman Auctions, May 12:</b> [CHICAGO] -- <i>Park & Guide Map of Chicago.</i> Chicago: Jas. Van Vechten, 1873. $2,000 to $3,000.
    <b>Hindman Auctions, May 12:</b> CURRIER and IVES, publishers -- After Frances F. Palmer. $2,000 to $3,000.
    <b>Hindman Auctions, May 12:</b> [ALLEN PRESS]. SHAKESPEARE, William (1564-1616). <i>Romeo and Juliet.</i> Greenbrae: Allen Press, 1988. $1,000 to $1,500.
    <center><b>Hindman Auctions<br>Fine Books & Manuscripts,<br>Including Americana<br>Live and Online<br>May 12, 2021</b>
    <b>Hindman Auctions, May 12:</b> BEMELMANS, Ludwig (1898-1962). Pencil drawing on paper. 247 x 198 mm, sight, matted and framed. Showing a child shooting at a baby's balloon. $1,000 to $1,500.
    <b>Hindman Auctions, May 12:</b> [LOGAN ELM PRESS]. HARVEY, Rebecca. <i>Any Number of Things.</i> Ohio State University, 2013. Single sheet paper scroll. $800 to $1,200.
    <b>Hindman Auctions, May 12:</b> BINYON, Laurence (1869-1943). A small archive of letters and pamphlets. $200 to $300.
  • <b>Swann Auction Galleries, May 12:</b> <i>Westvaco–Inspirations for Printers,</i> 3 volumes, 1938-61. $200 to $300.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries, May 12:</b> Proef van Letteren, <i>Welk gegooten worden in de Nieuwe Haerlemsche Lettergietery,</i> 1768. $3,000 to $4,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries, May 12:</b> Paul Klee, <i>Bauhaus Ausstellung Juli – Sept.,</i> Weimar, 1923. $4,000 to $6,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries, May 12:</b> Michel Seuphor & Jozef Peeters, <i>Het Overzicht Nos.</i> 22-23-24, Antwerp, 1922. $3,000 to $4,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries, May 12:</b> Wolfrum & Co., <i>Modern Graphik, Serie I…,</i> complete portfolio, 1909. $1,200 to $1,800.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries, May 12:</b> <i>Gravure et Fonderie deC. Derriey: Specimen-Album,</i> Paris, 1862. $5,000 to $7,500.
  • <center><b>Dominic Winter Auctioneers<br>12/13 May<br>Printed Books, Maps & Prints, Numismatic Books from the Milne-Henderson Collection</b>
    <b>Dominic Winter, 12/13 May:</b> Mariette (Pierre-Jean). <i>Traité des pierres gravées / Recueil des pierres gravées...,</i> 2 vols., 1750. £1,000 to £1,500.
    <b>Dominic Winter, 12/13 May:</b> [Bryant, Jacob & William Cole]. <i>Gemmarum Antiquarum Delectus, [Marlborough Gems],</i> 2 volumes, [privately printed, 1780-83], £800 to £1,200.
    <b>Dominic Winter, 12/13 May:</b> Caylus (Anne Claude Philippe, Comte de). <i>Recueil d'Antiquités Egyptiennes, Estrusques, Grecques et Romaines,</i> 7 volumes, Paris, 1756-67, £700 to £1,000.
    <center><b>Dominic Winter Auctioneers<br>12/13 May<br>Printed Books, Maps & Prints, Numismatic Books from the Milne-Henderson Collection</b>
    <b>Dominic Winter, 12/13 May:</b> Devonshire Gems. <i>Duke of Devonshire's Collection of Gems,</i> privately printed, c. 1790, [one of 8 copies], £1,500 to £2,000.
    <b>Dominic Winter, 12/13 May:</b> Goltz (Hubert). <i>Le Vive Imagini di tutti quasi gl'Imperatori,</i> Antwerp, 1557, £500 to £800.
    <b>Dominic Winter, 12/13 May:</b> Manuscript. <i>An Explanation of Dassier's Medals, by Charlotte Hanbury,</i> c. 1795-1800, £700 to £1,000.
    <center><b>Dominic Winter Auctioneers<br>12/13 May<br>Printed Books, Maps & Prints, Numismatic Books from the Milne-Henderson Collection</b>
    <b>Dominic Winter, 12/13 May:</b> Paoletti (Bartolomeo and Pietro). A collection of 300 plaster cameos presented in 7 leather-bound double-sided faux book boxes, Rome, c. 1820, £2,000 to £3,000.
    <b>Dominic Winter, 12/13 May:</b> Mayer (Luigi). <i>Views in Egypt, from the Original Drawings, in the Possession of Sir Robert Ainslie,</i> London: Thomas Bensley for R. Bowyer, 1805, £2,000 to £3,000.
    <b>Dominic Winter, 12/13 May:</b> Blaeu (Willem Janszoon & Johannes). <i>Theatrum orbis terrarum, sive Atlas novus, pars quarta</i> [England and Wales], Amsterdam: Johannem Blaeu, 1648, £6,000 to £8,000.
    <center><b>Dominic Winter Auctioneers<br>12/13 May<br>Printed Books, Maps & Prints, Numismatic Books from the Milne-Henderson Collection</b>
    <b>Dominic Winter, 12/13 May:</b> Reuter (O.M. & Mela, A.J.). <i>Finlands Fiskar. The Fishes of Finland,</i> 12 parts (complete), Helsingfors: G.W. Edlund, 1883-93, £500 to £800.
    <b>Dominic Winter, 12/13 May:</b> Lunardi (Vincenzo). <i>An Account of the First Aerial Voyage in England,</i> 2nd edition, London: Printed for the Author, 1784, £700 to £1,000.
    <b>Dominic Winter, 12/13 May:</b> North America. Jansson (Jan). <i>Virginiae partis Australis et Floridae partis Orientalis,</i> circa 1641. £400 to £600.
  • <center><b>Sotheby’s<br>Travel, Atlases, Maps<br>and Natural History<br>Online Auction<br>27 April – 13 May 2021</b>
    <b>Sotheby’s, 27 Apr. to 13 May:</b><br>Daniel Giraud Elliot. <i>A Monograph of the Phasianidae, or Family of the Pheasants,</i> 1870-1872, coloured plates. £40,000 to £60,000.
    <b>Sotheby’s, 27 Apr. to 13 May:</b><br>Georg Braun und Franz Hogenberg. <i>Civitates orbis terrarum.</i> Cologne, 1597-c.1606, 5 volumes, hand-coloured, calf. £140,000 to £200,000.
    <b>Sotheby’s, 27 Apr. to 13 May:</b> Qianren Huang. "Blue Map" of China. [Daoguang, 19th century]. £60,000 to £80,000.
    <center><b>Sotheby’s<br>Travel, Atlases, Maps<br>and Natural History<br>Online Auction<br>27 April – 13 May 2021</b>
    <b>Sotheby’s, 27 Apr. to 13 May:</b> Abraham Ortelius. <i>Theatrum orbis terrarum,</i> 1595. £40,000 to £60,000.
    <b>Sotheby’s, 27 Apr. to 13 May:</b> Maxime Du Camp. <i>Egypte, Nubie, Palestine et Syrie. Dessins Photographiques.</i> Paris, 1852. £100,000 to £150,000.
    <b>Sotheby’s, 27 Apr. to 13 May:</b><br>China, Canton School. A superb album of 141 watercolours, c.1800. £70,000 to £100,000.

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