Rare Book Monthly

Articles - June - 2020 Issue

Revising Appraisals due to the Coronavirus

Valuation in uncertain times

A  recent inquiry from a dealer-appraiser raised a pertinent question; with significant changes in the world over the past year, have rare book, manuscript, and map appraisals issued in the mid-2019s ought/should they be revised?

 

There are two answers.

 

Valuation is generally determined on long term trends but when there are tectonic shifts and if auction prices hew high and low, should appraisals reflect short term reality?

 

Research members have access to tools on the brown toolbar under Upcoming Auctions.  Here are the choices:

 

Auction Home

Auction Calendar

Auction House List

Recent Auction Update[s]

Recent Reported Auction Results

Trends in Book Auction Prices

Charts and Analyses

Rare Book Top 500 Auctions

 

Charts and Analyses is a link to a series of year by year charts accessible while signed in as a paid member:

 

Chart 1 - Auction House Results, Including Sell-through Rates, Sales Above and Below Estimates.

Chart 2 - Auction House Results, Sell-through Rates, Sales Above and Below Estimates, by Month.

Chart 3 - Auction House Sales by Price, Including Medians and Averages, in U.S. Dollars.

Chart 4 - Auction House Sales by Price in Original Currencies.

Chart 5 - Auction Prices by Month, Including Medians and Averages, in U.S. Dollars.

Chart 6 - Auction Prices by Month, Including Medians and Averages, in Original Currencies.

Chart 7 - Percentage of Lots Sold, and Sold Above and Below Estimates, by Month.

 

Using these charts it’s possible to examine 2019 month by month to compare the first 4 months [soon 5 months] of 2020 whether the market is holding firm.

 

And the answers are yes, yes, and not quite.

 

The pace of auction lots are holding, that said, the year over year norm has been that that number increases about 3.5% a year.  So, because there is no current gain that’s a bit unusual.

 

The percentage of lots sold is also vital and it is a reasonable conjecture that the percentage of lots sold would be declining given the Covid crisis.  This year the sell through rate has actually inched up from 80.4% in 2019 to 82.4% in 2020.  This has been unexpected and frequently commented on in the Weekly Auction Updates.

 

And now for the not quite – and this may be meaningful.  The median lot price is running soft.  This is unsurprising because auction houses world-wide carefully manage low estimates to ensure success for all parties.  So it’s logical that in this Covid period estimates are trending down.  And said another way, when/if estimates begin to trend higher this will be a forward indicator that the auction market is believing the worst is behind us.  Fingers crossed!

 

And a reminder that research members can also chart market expectations for any material in the Transaction Database.  To do this run your search, select relevant records by marking them, then run the Get Current Estimate for a custom prepared report in 15 seconds.

 

Our best to you all.

 

Rare Book Monthly

  • Sotheby’s
    Modern First Editions
    Available for Immediate Purchase
    Sotheby’s, Available Now: Winston Churchill. The Second World War. Set of First-Edition Volumes. 6,000 USD
    Sotheby’s, Available Now: A.A. Milne, Ernest H. Shepard. A Collection of The Pooh Books. Set of First-Editions. 18,600 USD
    Sotheby’s, Available Now: Salvador Dalí, Lewis Carroll. Alice's Adventures in Wonderland. Finely Bound and Signed Limited Edition. 15,000 USD
    Sotheby’s
    Modern First Editions
    Available for Immediate Purchase
    Sotheby’s, Available Now: Ian Fleming. Live and Let Die. First Edition. 9,500 USD
    Sotheby’s, Available Now: J.K. Rowling. Harry Potter Series. Finely Bound First Printing Set of Complete Series. 5,650 USD
    Sotheby’s, Available Now: Ernest Hemingway. A Farewell to Arms. First Edition, First Printing. 4,200 USD
  • Potter & Potter Auctions
    How History Unfolds on Paper:
    Choice Selections from the Eric C. Caren Collection
    Part IX
    Starting 10AM CST
    April 18, 2024
    Potter & Potter, Apr. 18: [RUTH, George Herman “Babe” (1895-1948)]. Signed photograph. Circa 1930s. 191 x 248 mm. $1,500 to $2,500.
    Potter & Potter, Apr. 18: HARRISON, Benjamin. Document signed (“Benj Harrison”) as governor of Virginia, certifying the service of Daniel Cumbo, a Black Revolutionary soldier. $6,000 to $9,000.
    Potter & Potter, Apr. 18: ONE OF THE FIRST PRINTED ANNOUNCEMENTS OF THE DECLARATION OF INDEPENDENCE. $4,000 to $6,000.
    Potter & Potter Auctions
    How History Unfolds on Paper:
    Choice Selections from the Eric C. Caren Collection
    Part IX
    Starting 10AM CST
    April 18, 2024
    Potter & Potter, Apr. 18: FIRST PRINTING OF LINCOLN’S IMMORTAL GETTYSBURG ADDRESS. $4,000 to $6,000.
    Potter & Potter, Apr. 18: HIGHLY IMPORTANT MORMON ARCHIVE. ALLEY, George. Archive of 23 Autograph Letters Signed by Mormon Convert George Alley to His Brother Joseph Alley. $10,000 to $20,000.
    Potter & Potter, Apr. 18: [AVIATION]. [ARMSTRONG, Neil A.] Aviation Hall of Fame Gold Medal MS64 NGC, Awarded to Neil Armstrong in 1979. $2,000 to $3,000.
    Potter & Potter Auctions
    How History Unfolds on Paper:
    Choice Selections from the Eric C. Caren Collection
    Part IX
    Starting 10AM CST
    April 18, 2024
    Potter & Potter, Apr. 18: NEWLY DISCOVERED FIRST PRINTING OF "WITH MALICE TOWARDS NONE... " FROM THE ONLY NEWSPAPER ACTUALLY ALLOWED TO PARTICIPATE IN LINCOLN’S SECOND INAUGURAL PROCESSION. $4,000 to $8,000.
    Potter & Potter, Apr. 18: THE MOST IMPORTANT GEORGE WASHINGTON DOCUMENT IN PRIVATE HANDS; GEORGE WASHINGTON’S COMMISSION AS COMMANDER IN CHIEF, 1775, ONE OF ONLY TWO ORIGINALS. $150,000 to $250,000.
    Potter & Potter, Apr. 18: A VERY RARE ACCOUNT OF BLACKBEARD’S DEATH AND ONE OF THE MOST IMPORTANT PIRATE ITEMS EXTANT. $3,000 to $5,000.
    Potter & Potter Auctions
    How History Unfolds on Paper:
    Choice Selections from the Eric C. Caren Collection
    Part IX
    Starting 10AM CST
    April 18, 2024
    Potter & Potter, Apr. 18: EDISON, Thomas. Patent for Edison’s Improvements on the Electric-Light, No. 219,628. [Washington, D.C.: U.S. Patent Office], 16 September 1879. $2,000 to $3,000.
    Potter & Potter, Apr. 18: [VIETNAM WAR]. The original pen used by Secretary of State William P. Rogers to sign the Vietnam Peace Agreement, Paris, 27 January 1973. $10,000 to $15,000.
    Potter & Potter, Apr. 18: SONS OF LIBERTY FOUNDER COLONEL BARRÉ ANNOTATED TITLE-PAGE, “WHICH OUGHT TO ROUSE UP BRITISH ATTENTION”. $4,000 to $6,000.

Article Search

Archived Articles

Ask Questions