• <b><center>Sotheby’s<br>Antiquarian Books<br>Including a series of views of Milan<br>September 27 to October 4</b></center>
    <b>Sotheby’s, Sep. 27 – Oct. 4:</b> Livius, Historia Romanae decades, Venice, Vindelinus de Spira, 1470, contemporary Morocco. €30,000 to €40,000.
    <b>Sotheby’s, Sep. 27 – Oct. 4:</b> Blaeu, Nieuw Stedeboeck van Italien (Piemont), The Hague, 1724-1725, 8 volumes, marbled calf gilt. €70,000 to €90,000.
    <b>Sotheby’s, Sep. 27 – Oct. 4:</b> Baysio, Rosarium decretorum, Venice, 1481, later vellum. €10,000 to €15,000.
    <b>Sotheby’s, Sep. 27 – Oct. 4:</b> [Niccolò da Poggibonsi], Viaggio da Venetia al santo Sepulchro, Venice, 1529, later half calf. €2,000 to €3,000.
    <b>Sotheby’s, Sep. 27 – Oct. 4:</b> Hieronymus, Epistole [Italian], Ferrara, 1497, blue crushed morocco with the Rocco di Torrepadula arms. €12,000 to €15,000.
  • <center><b>Swann Auction Galleries<br>Printed & Manuscript Americana<br>September 29, 2022</b>
    <b>Swann September 29:</b> Extensive archive of papers of Lincoln’s Secretary of the Navy, Gideon Welles. $60,000 to $90,000.
    <b>Swann September 29:</b> George Catlin, <i>North American Indian Portfolio,</i> 1844. $40,000 to $60,000.
    <b>Swann September 29:</b> The Twenty-Four Books of the Holy Scriptures, Carefully Translated…after the Best Jewish Authorities, Philadelphia, 1853-54. $10,000 to $15,000.
    <center><b>Swann Auction Galleries<br>Printed & Manuscript Americana<br>September 29, 2022</b>
    <b>Swann September 29:</b> Wedding book of Eleanor Roosevelt’s bodyguard, Earl Miller, signed by the Roosevelts, 1932. $6,000 to $9,000.
    <b>Swann September 29:</b> Textile titled <i>The Resignation of Pres’t Washington,</i> Scotland, circa 1800. $5,000 to $7,500.
    <b>Swann September 29:</b> Gideon Welles, Pass for President Lincoln’s White House funeral, 1865. $4,000 to $6,000.
    <b>Swann September 29:</b> Confirmation of arms and nobility in favor of the Diez y Mora family, Madrid, 1710. $2,500 to $3,500.
  • <b><center>Forum Auctions<br>Fine Books, Manuscripts<br>and Works on paper<br>Thursday 29th September 2022</b>
    <b>Forum, Sep. 29:</b> South America.- Conquest of Peru.- Cieza De León (Pedro de). <i>Parte primera de la chronica del Peru,</i> first edition, Seville, Martín de Montesdoca, 1553. £50,000 to £70,000.
    <b>Forum, Sep. 29:</b> Asia.- Mandeville (Sir John). <i>Tractato bellissimo delle piu maravigliose cose & piu motabile che sitrovino nelle parte delmondo,</i> Florence, [Lorenzo Morgiani], 1496-99. £40,000 to £60,000.
    <b>Forum, Sep. 29:</b> Bible leaf, Latin. Single leaf from the Gutenberg Bible, [Mainz], [Johann Gutenberg & Johann Fust], [c.1454/55]. £40,000 to £60,000.
    <b><center>Forum Auctions<br>Fine Books, Manuscripts<br>and Works on paper<br>Thursday 29th September 2022</b>
    <b>Forum, Sep. 29:</b> Publicius (Jacobus). <i>Ars oratoria. Ars epistolandi. Ars memorativa,</i> first edition, Venice, Erhard Ratdolt, 1482. £40,000 to £60,000.
    <b>Forum, Sep. 29:</b> Biblia Pauperum.- Single leaf from a blockbook Biblia Pauperum in Latin, from the Wiblingen copy of Schreiber's edition III, Netherlands, 1465. £25,000 to £35,000.
    <b>Forum, Sep. 29:</b> South America.- Brazil.- Steinmann (Johan Jacob). <i>Souvenirs de Rio de Janeiro,</i> Paris, chez Rittner & Goupil, 1837. £20,000 to £30,000.
    <b><center>Forum Auctions<br>Fine Books, Manuscripts<br>and Works on paper<br>Thursday 29th September 2022</b>
    <b>Forum, Sep. 29:</b> Asia.- Polo (Marco). <i>In cui si tratta le meravigliose cose del mondo per lui vedute,</i> Venice, Matteo Pagano, 1555. £20,000 to £30,000.
    <b>Forum, Sep. 29:</b> Sir Joshua Reynolds' copy.- Donne (John). <i>Poems, by J.D. With elegies on the authors death,</i> the Joshua Reynolds-Philip Bliss copy of the first edition, Printed by M[iles]. F[lesher]. for Iohn Marriot, 1633. £20,000 to £30,000
    <b>Forum, Sep. 29:</b> Gilbert (William). <i>De Magnete,</i> first edition, Peter Short, 1600. £10,000 to £15,000.
    <b><center>Forum Auctions<br>Fine Books, Manuscripts<br>and Works on paper<br>Thursday 29th September 2022</b>
    <b>Forum, Sep. 29:</b> Audubon (John James). <i>The Birds of America,</i> 8 vol., New York, George R. Lockwood, [c.1889]. £6,000 to £8,000.
    <b>Forum, Sep. 29:</b> Pratchett (Terry). <i>The Colour of Magic,</i> first edition, signed by the author, 1983. £5,000 to £7,000.
    <b>Forum, Sep. 29:</b> Flaubert (Gustave). <i>Trois Contes,</i> first edition, one of 100 copies on papier de Hollande, Paris, Charpentier, 1877. £5,000 to £7,000.
  • <b><center>Potter & Potter Auctions<br>Fine Books & Manuscripts<br>October 20, 2022</b></center>
    <b>Potter & Potter, Oct. 20:</b> JOYCE, James. <i>Ulysses.</i> London: John Lane the Bodley Head, 1937. PRESENTATION COPY OF THE FIRST ENGLISH EDITION PRINTED IN ENGLAND. $50,000 to $60,000.
    <b>Potter & Potter, Oct. 20:</b> [SHACKLETON, Ernest]. –– BROWNING, Robert. <i>Poetical Works of…</i> London: Smith and Elder, 1906. PRESENTED TO SHACKLETON AND THE OFFICERS OF THE NIMROD BY A MEMBER OF THE ROYAL GEOGRAPHICAL SOCIETY. $40,000 to $60,000.
    <b>Potter & Potter, Oct. 20:</b> AUDUBON, John James. <i>The Birds of America, from Drawings Made in the United States and Their Territories.</i> New York: George R. Lockwood, [1870]. $30,000 to $40,000.
    <b><center>Potter & Potter Auctions<br>Fine Books & Manuscripts<br>October 20, 2022</b></center>
    <b>Potter & Potter, Oct. 20:</b> ARISTOTLE. Opera, in Greek, parts one and two only: Organon and Natural Philosophy I. Edited by Aldus and others. Venice: Aldus Manutius, 1 November 1495–February 1498. $20,000 to $30,000.
    <b>Potter & Potter, Oct. 20:</b> COOK, James, Capt. [Collected Voyages]. First and Second Voyages: London: W. Strahan; and T. Cadell, 1773, 1777; Third Voyage: London: H. Hughes for G. Nicol and T. Cadell, 1785. $14,000 to $18,000.
    <b>Potter & Potter, Oct. 20:</b> CLEMENS, Samuel Langhorne (“Mark Twain”). <i>The Writings of…</i> Hartford: American Publishing Co., 1899–1900. $12,000 to $16,000.
    <b><center>Potter & Potter Auctions<br>Fine Books & Manuscripts<br>October 20, 2022</b></center>
    <b>Potter & Potter, Oct. 20:</b> [KELMSCOTT PRESS]. SHAKESPEARE, William. <i>The Poems of…</i> Edited by Frederick S. Ellis. Hammersmith: William Morris for the Kelmscott Press, 1893. $12,000 to $15,000.
    <b>Potter & Potter, Oct. 20:</b> LONDON, Jack. <i>The Call of the Wild.</i> New York: The Macmillan Company, 1905. PRESENTATION COPY INSCRIBED BY LONDON. $10,000 to $15,000.
    <b>Potter & Potter, Oct. 20:</b> CROWLEY, Aleister (1875–1947). <i>The Winged Beetle.</i> London: privately printed, 1910. $10,000 to $15,000.
    <b><center>Potter & Potter Auctions<br>Fine Books & Manuscripts<br>October 20, 2022</b></center>
    <b>Potter & Potter, Oct. 20:</b> WILDE, Oscar (“C.3.3.”). <i>The Ballad of Reading Gaol.</i> London: Leonard Smithers, January 1898. $6,000 to $8,000.
    <b>Potter & Potter, Oct. 20:</b> DRYDEN, John. <i>Fables Ancient and Modern; translated into verse from Homer, Ovid, Boccace, & Chaucer: with original poems.</i> London: John Tonson, 1700. $4,000 to $6,000.
    <b>Potter & Potter, Oct. 20:</b> [MAP]. LINSCHOTEN, Jan Huygen van. <i>Delineatio Orarum Maritimarum…</i> London: John Wolfe, 1598. $3,000 to $4,000.

Rare Book Monthly

Articles - December - 2020 Issue

It all started with a Baedeker: Bernard Shapero's Life in Books


In the embrace of objects and ideas

I was 13 years old and I finally went into Eric and Joan Stevens Bookshop, which I had cycled past many times on my way to the sweet shop. Wow, you can travel the world and not leave your bedroom; it was such a revelation, my imagination went wild. This was the beginning of my book purchasing life- I would never have enough stock, or so it eternally feels. The habit grew into a small business surrounded by soccer posters in my childhood bedroom. I then graduated on to a Saturday market stall at the now infamous Camden Lock, my buying and selling career had begun and I have never looked back.


Unusually at that time, in the 1970s, I left school at 16 after getting 6 'O' levels (basic exams). Conversely, my learning was enriched by my Baedeker obsession and I did respectably well in History. In those teenage years, I had started visiting an antique market, Grays, in London's West End. I discovered that one of the book dealers was leaving and he asked me if I would like his stand, I said yes without a moment's hesitation. All I needed now was some stock, something I had already begun to realise was never going to be a problem. This was the great hey-day of book fairs but not being able to drive, due to my age, I was reliant on some older members of the trade to get me mobile.  It was at this time that I met Donald Heald, whilst he was sleeping on the floor of another book dealer’s flat. I also had the pleasure of meeting Michael Hollander, who was always scouting English book fairs. These were young men starting in the trade but being 10 years older than me, seemed like real adults.


Over several years, I took more stands and bigger stands until in 1989 I had 4 and I was bursting out of them. Yet again, a dealer I often visited called Peter Eaton told me he was retiring and would I like to take over his shop- this was a whole different ball game. It was a large shop on a main high street in an elegant area of London, Holland Park; this was the big time, no more being a market trader now, I was a shopkeeper. It was at this time that Julian McKenzie and Lucinda Boyle joined me and the whole business took on a more serious dimension. Once again when I moved in, what I thought was a lot of books, were suddenly dwarfed by the size of the new shop. But as we all know, if you have the space, you will fill it and I certainly did.


In those days of no computers and no internet, life was simple, you bought with your gut and your ABPC or BAR (English version). Sometimes you got it wrong and mostly thankfully I got it right but there was no ABE, Rare Book Hub or ability to see what other dealers had, books seemed rare, so to speak and the auction price guides only covered the main auction houses. At that time, experience was even more golden than today, people with 40 years in the trade really had an edge over us youngsters. I remember visiting Marlborough Rare Books and Micky Brandt, an ex-Guards officer who ran the business. He would look through his card index and tell me that they had sold a copy of a certain book in 1963,1972 and the last copy they had sold was in 1986 for £2,100. This was golden information, you could not find this out in any other way, every dealer was proud of all their back copies of auction and dealer catalogues that they could cross reference, to gleam important information, giving them an edge, how else could you know how rare something was or how much someone else charged.


During this time, I had the opportunity to meet some of the greats of the book trade, although they would not have remembered me.  I remember well: Charles Traylen, a cantankerous old man, not easy to talk to, Frank Hammond, scary looked like an Undertaker, not naturally friendly, Jaques Vellekoop, highly entertaining and gregarious, Dick Lyon eccentric but fun, and finally John Maggs, who was both helpful and sympathetic.

The list continues with H.P.Kraus who only spoke 5 words to me 'Show me your best book', Bernard Breslaur, who told me that a binding I had was a fake, (probably true, but I am not so sure) Colin Franklin, charming and a real gentleman. There are many others but I cannot go into them all.


In 1996, one of my customers, Tomasso Zanzotto approached me and said that he was retiring from a very senior position at American Express and would I be interested in him joining my business. It seemed like an exciting challenge. He was keen for the new company to sell his collection and wanted to use the money to expand the business. Once again, I could make a leap in business, similar to my previous passage from Grays to Holland Park.

So, in 1996 I moved one more time to a new shop in St George Street, back in London's West End. Things really took off, the book business along with the general economy went through a  period of growth. There were moments along the way that had dips but in general the next 10 years gave me the chance to expand. The company took over the magazine Rare Book Review (edited by my wife, Emma) and changed it from a very niche magazine into a much broader 21st century periodical and then we bought Bloomsbury Book Auctions.


Bloomsbury was owned by two octogenarians, Lord John Kerr and Frank Herman; real 'Old School' book men, both ex Sotheby's. They were looking to sell and I was looking to expand, things did not go completely smoothly in the negotiations but in the end we got there. Reflecting on this now despite the difficulties, I am very pleased to have known them. I also enjoyed a friendship with their junior partner the charming and handsome David Stagg (Staggy to his friends).  Bloomsbury was run on a day-to-day basis by the young Rupert Powell, who today is running Bloomsbury in its new guise as Forum Auctions-  he was great to work with then and is a credit to the current auction house.


Back at SRB, we were on a roll, we were selling to two great collectors at the same time. In every dealer's life you need to have one great customer, someone who one might call a 'life changer', to have two at the same time was incredible. There was Percy Barnevik, a Swedish Industrialist and Sheik Saud Al- Thani. You could not meet two collectors so different but yet so similar. Percy was a man in a hurry, he bought books systematically and in great quantity, an absolute pleasure to deal with and an incredibly interesting man. He liked to pay his bills immediately if not quicker, and once shouted at me for not invoicing him on the same day that he bought a book. He collected in groups, bindings, travel by continent, science and his biggest and favourite collection, Incunabula.


Sheik Saud on the other hand was the worlds slowest payer but rarely does one meet a person with so much charisma. He charmed the world and he had an 'eye' for quality in any field he collected. His main book collection was Natural History and Travel but he could buy anything if it appealed. It was one of my great achievements in life to have served him and to have helped him build the most fantastic library.


At that time of plenty, I had the fortune to purchase with Heritage Books, (Lou and Ben Weinstein as well as David Brass) the Library of Donaueshingen. This was the largest private library sold in the last 50 years, with over 100,000 volumes. These episodes deserve their own exploration and explanation- perhaps at a later date. My overall memory of that experience is that it was a uniquely great deal!


In 2007, the world seemed in a reasonably decent state, there are some people sending out warnings but everything on the surface was fine. Debt was cheap and very easy to access, so in a double swoop, I bought the Heritage Bookshop entire stock, because the brothers wanted to retire (or so they said).  Consequently, we opened up Bloomsbury Auctions in New York, with our first sale planned for September. My thinking was, what could possibly go wrong?


Clearly as I learnt quite quickly, plenty can go wrong.


We fast forward to 2012, the business has trundled along, shrunken and with its shine certainly reduced. One morning I am sitting in bed reading the Art Newspaper and I see an article about a private Library owned by a great collector, which is in financial difficulty. I arrange through Jorn Gunther to meet the great Mr Jost Ritman, the owner of the Biblioteca Hermetica. He is an erudite and fascinating man. After a lengthy discussion and negotiation, by Jorn and myself a deal is finally agreed- to buy his collection for an 8-figure sum. Within this collection are some of the most fantastic books that I will ever get to handle. They are all incunables ranging from the 1461 Bible, complete in 2 volumes to complete Block books and many printed on vellum; a dream purchase, so many treasures it was quite incredible and to some degree overwhelming.


During this time and because of the Library, a new investor comes on board, Philip Blackwell, a member of the renowned Oxford bookselling family. After a period of exploration, we decide to take the business public, in order to raise cash for expansion. This proves successful and brings us now to 2020. Finally, after almost 25 years at my shop in St George Street we have moved to new premises on the first floor of New Bond Street. This is the end of that chapter and the beginning of a new one.


Where is the book market today; I think that in general it is in a pretty healthy state, of course it is harder to buy good books because of the internet but then again it is easier to sell good books because of the internet. Fifty years ago, supply was plentiful but customers were scarce. We have to adapt, move with the times into the digital marketplace; no industry is an island, there are plenty of successful dealers out there to show us all that it can be done, this should give us all a level of reassurance. Increasingly there is a world of specialists mainly because general knowledge is available at the touch of a button. Subsequently, what is deemed valuable is deep in-depth knowledge, that only real experts know; this is one way that dealers can win out. Or they can set up their own auctions, as many are starting to do, which appears relatively cheap and easy. Through the global reach of the internet and meta-search engines such as Invaluable and The Saleroom,  everything is possible.

Is there a future, of course there is, this has been the eternal question, people have grumbled about the death of the book trade for 200 years, books are and continue to be a beautiful, tactile collectible. As long as books continue to be printed- people will collect books. Once they stop being produced, they will become mementos of a bygone age, like so many other collector fields. A library is always going to be something that people will want in their surroundings for diverse reasons but mostly because it connects us to the minds of others.


From my first Baedeker to today- bibliophiles need a library. I wanted one in my bedroom aged 13 and I continue to enjoy one in my house aged 57.

Posted On: 2020-12-01 05:28
User Name: mairin

Wonderful words about libraries:
they 'connect us to the minds of others.'
Reading that was a gift.
Nice piece, entirely. It reminds us that
the world of books attracts remarkable people.
- Maureen E. Mulvihill, Collector / RBH Guest Writer.

Rare Book Monthly

  • <center><b>One of a Kind Collectibles Auctions<br>Rare Autograph & Documents<br>September 29, 2022</b>
    <b>One of a Kind, Sep. 29:</b> John Adams Signed Ship's Passport, partly printed DS as president, signed “John Adams.”
    <b>One of a Kind, Sep. 29:</b> Extremely Rare James Garfield DS as President Appointing Revenue Service Agent.
    <b>One of a Kind, Sep. 29:</b> Babe Ruth 1939 Cooperstown cover boldly signed — with photo.
    <center><b>One of a Kind Collectibles Auctions<br>Rare Autograph & Documents<br>September 29, 2022</b>
    <b>One of a Kind, Sep. 29:</b> Incredible Harry S. Truman Kansas City Auto Club sales ledger maintained by Truman!
    <b>One of a Kind, Sep. 29:</b> Important Herbert Hoover 4 pg ALS about Chinese Gold Mining.
    <b>One of a Kind, Sep. 29:</b> Rare Calvin Coolidge ALS as President.
    <center><b>One of a Kind Collectibles Auctions<br>Rare Autograph & Documents<br>September 29, 2022</b>
    <b>One of a Kind, Sep. 29:</b> Abraham Lincoln Signed Appointment.
    <b>One of a Kind, Sep. 29:</b> Ironic John Kennedy Jr. Handwritten report on why he is accident report form when he attended Collegiate School in 1975.
    <b>One of a Kind, Sep. 29:</b> Katherine Bates Signed -“America! America! God shed his grace on thee.”
    <center><b>One of a Kind Collectibles Auctions<br>Rare Autograph & Documents<br>September 29, 2022</b>
    <b>One of a Kind, Sep. 29:</b> Apollo 11 - Neil Armstrong, Buzz Aldrin & Michael Collins.
    <b>One of a Kind, Sep. 29:</b> Amassed Over Four Decades, an impressive 1100+ piece collection of entertainment and notables.
    <b>One of a Kind, Sep. 29:</b> Mark Twain / Samuel Clemens Signed Letter and Card.

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