PSA Enters The Rare Book and Historical Paper Field. Sotheby´s Does My 8th Auction of “How History Unfolds On Paper.” Online Auction Begins July 6 and Bidding Ends on July 21.

- by Eric Caren


Coins were dead, comic books were dead, baseball cards were not much more than cardboard memories; Then PSA grading and certification entered those fields and the dead sprung back to life!


Many of us who get queasy when we see a Basquiat sell for tens of millions, have felt like we have been living in an alternative universe of collecting. Important, and often unique historical pieces were too often selling as if they grew on trees. Those of us who have loved the material, still had our thrills and rewards, albeit not always in a monetary manner.


But, Rare books and Historical Paper deserve more respect and appreciation So, before my 8th single owner auction of "How History Unfolds on Paper", I got a strong feeling that the collectors and the trade could benefit from my working with PSA




I reached out to Steve Sloan, President of PSA and introduced myself. First, I offered my heartfelt gratitude to his firm for helping me, recently, to achieve extraordinary prices for a group of 20th century baseball photographs.


PSA is a huge concern and is well known in many collectible genres. I asked Steve if he might be interested in spreading his wings into our world. He did some due diligence and after numerous in house meetings, he said that although they had their hands full with other collectibles, the material I told him about really intrigued him....5 centuries worth of printed, manuscript and photographic treasures!


I contracted with PSA to certify and register a  selection of rarities, and then presented them to Selby Kiffer, longtime friend and Senior Vice President of Sotheby´s. He said that he would be delighted to do my 8th sale of “How History Unfolds on Paper.”


Now, I had the best of all worlds. The online sale at Sotheby´s will be triple branded and promoted by 2 giants. Bidding will begin shortly and end on July 21


Sotheby's brings 4 centuries of expertise and impeccable cataloguing to the table. I bring my usual, diverse array of historical rarities to the table. PSA evaluations help to solidify the fact that any given object is the same one that was sold originally.


PSA keeps a permanent online record of the items which pass through their hands (many thousands each week!) and they retain only the best people to study any particular collectible.


So, I hope that this triangular coming together, will breathe additional life into the fascinating field of Printed and Manuscript Paper Americana.


Yes, this is new, so some people will understandably be cautious. But when Bruce started Americana Exchange, now Rare Book Hub, some resisted. Now almost everyone that I know, from novice to advanced expert, makes use of RBH´s enormous database and enjoys their interesting and educational articles.


I suspect that those Luddites who miss the typewriter will moan and groan, while the field expands.


Thanks to Sotheby's and PSA for appreciating my collecting efforts, which span over 50 years, and also for understanding the importance, rarity and cultural significance of Historical Paper!