Rare Book Monthly

Articles - September - 2020 Issue

Collecting is a Journey: The Lifecycles Program

Aada7a7b-6ac0-4a6a-9252-4248972c579d

It is in the nature of old books and collectibles that to successfully collect there is more needed than simply to be attracted, even consumed with the material.  This other aspect is that underlying financial logic is rarely acknowledged because it is easier to buy than to buy well although it's necessary.  To successfully collect you have to develop a sense of how rarity and value intersect in your chosen concentration.  If you understand this early you’ll make better choices.  It’s difficult to explain and I think Mr. Stuart expresses it clearly.

 

Said another way, spending money to understand how to collect is almost always a better first investment than buying out of focus or poor examples in your ultimate focus.

 

Here goes:

 

By Spencer Stuart, collections advisor:

 

 

The Lifecycles Program

 

Collecting is a journey. Executed with foresight, it can be a source of both self-exploration and understanding of the World. Done under influence and imitation, collections can come to represent expensive, burdensome wastes of time in the eyes of its beholder.

 

Lifecycles: Collecting & Collections is a three-part program that analyzes the process of collecting into three distinct passages. Drawing from professional experience, Collections Advisor, Spencer W Stuart, examines the questions collectors have at these pivotal moments and available options to develop techniques of collecting.

 

Initially, Lifecycles was offered as a single session of an hour. This iteration is an extended, 3-part program. Each presentation will be an hour long and will take a deep-dive (more case studies, more methodologies) into the three stages outlined through the Lifecycles series.

 

Registration is indicating we will have a diverse group of registrants attending. Representatives from the Trade, Trusts & Estates, Librarians and Curators from Institutions as well as Private Collectors.  No doubt there will be interesting and valuable conversations.

 

Those interested can register here: https://www.eventbrite.ca/e/lifecycles-collecting-collections-3-sessions-tickets-115930532343

 

 

Origins of 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 when working for an auction house, 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.

 

Register for Lifecycles: Collecting & Collections through EventBrite: https://www.eventbrite.ca/e/lifecycles-collecting-collections-3-sessions-tickets-115930532343

 

Rare Book Monthly

  • <center><b>Swann Auction Galleries<br>View Our Record Breaking Results</b>
    <b>Swann:</b> Scott Joplin, <i>Treemonisha: Opera in Three Acts,</i> New York, 1911. Sold March 24 — $40,000.
    <b>Swann:</b> Louisa May Alcott, autograph letter signed, 1868. Sold June 2 — $23,750.
    <b>Swann:</b> Anne Bradstreet, <i>Several Poems Compiled with Great Variety of Wit and Learning, full of Delight,</i> Boston, 1758. Sold June 2 — $21,250.
    <b>Swann:</b> William Shakespeare, <i>Comedies, Histories, and Tragedies. Published according to the true Originall Copies. The Second Impression,</i> London, 1632. Sold May 5 — $161,000.
    <center><b>Swann Auction Galleries<br>View Our Record Breaking Results</b>
    <b>Swann:</b> John Bachmann, <i>Panorama of the Seat of War,</i> New York, 1861-62. Sold June 23 — $35,000.
    <b>Swann:</b> Charlotte Bronte, <i>Jane Eyre,</i> first edition, London, 1847. Sold June 16 — $23,750.
    <b>Swann:</b> Elihu Vedder, <i>Simple Simon, His Book,</i> 1913. Sold June 9 — $12,350.
    <b>Swann:</b> Frederick Catherwood, <i>Views of Ancient Monuments in Central America, Chiapas and Yucatan,</i> London, 1844. Sold April 7 — $37,500.
  • <center><b>University Archives<br>Rare Autographs, Manuscripts & Books<br>August 17, 2022</b>
    <b>University Archives, Aug. 17:</b> George Washington ADS, One of the Earliest in His Hand, A Survey from 1752, the Same Year He Inherited Mount Vernon.
    <b>University Archives, Aug. 17:</b> Rare JFK Signed Check & Transmittal Letter During Campaign for 1956 VP Nomination, Both BAS Slabbed; Possibly A Unique Combo!
    <b>University Archives, Aug. 17:</b> Daniel Boone Signed Receipt as VA Delegate; During His 1st of 3 Terms, Boone Was Kidnapped by British Forces Gunning for Gov. T. Jefferson & Other Legislators.
    <center><b>University Archives<br>Rare Autographs, Manuscripts & Books<br>August 17, 2022</b>
    <b>University Archives, Aug. 17:</b> Benjamin Franklin Signed Receipt for “Pennsylvania Gazette,” Important & Beautifully Displayed
    <b>University Archives, Aug. 17:</b> Lincoln & His Civil War Cabinet: 8 Signatures, Beautifully Presented!
    <b>University Archives, Aug. 17:</b> G.A. Custer ALS from Fort Lincoln, Dakota Territory to Capt. Yates, Who Also Died at Little Bighorn, Re: Acquiring “good horses” from Kentucky for 7th Cavalry.
    <center><b>University Archives<br>Rare Autographs, Manuscripts & Books<br>August 17, 2022</b>
    <b>University Archives, Aug. 17:</b> Jefferson Davis ALS: “the negroes are humble and generally inclined to cling to their masters…neither crop or stock could be protected from their thieving” – Incredible!
    <b>University Archives, Aug. 17:</b> Lee Harvey Oswald Signed Letter: “if we finally get back to the states…maybe we’ll…settle in Texas,” Warren Commission Exhibit.
    <b>University Archives, Aug. 17:</b> Babe Ruth First Edition Biography Signed Just Months Before His Death, Excellent Signature!
    <center><b>University Archives<br>Rare Autographs, Manuscripts & Books<br>August 17, 2022</b>
    <b>University Archives, Aug. 17:</b> “B Arnold” ANS on Pre-Revolutionary War Promissory Note Dating From His Days as a New Haven Merchant
    <b>University Archives, Aug. 17:</b> Bob Dylan Signed LP “Blonde on Blonde” with Jeff Rosen COA.
    <b>University Archives, Aug. 17:</b> Marilyn Monroe & Joe DiMaggio Signed Checks, Handsomely Displayed.

Article Search

Archived Articles

Ask Questions