Rare Book Monthly

Articles - January - 2021 Issue

Part III - The Year that Was, the year that Will Be - The Dealer Perspective + Marvin Getman


I have asked leaders of the dealer community, ILAB, ABAA and ABA for their perspectives on the year just past and the year just beginning, and as well have asked Marvin Getman for his views on the Electronic Book Fair phenomena that helping dealers worldwide through Covid-19.  Participants are in alphabetical order:  Roger Treglown & Pom Harrington on behalf of the ABA, Susan Benne of the ABAA, and Sally Burdon of ILAB.  After which Marvin Getman adds his perspective.  They are committed and will be careful. 


Roger Treglown & Pom Harrington, ABA President and Vice President


The second hand and antiquarian books trade is renowned for its enduring resilience and optimism ever since Herr Gutenberg printed a Bible in Mainz, 1455 ! In my memory the financial crash of some twelve years ago created enormous problems for our trade - with perseverance most of us survived. The current epidemic demands a ' Churchillian ' resourceful and positive approach from us all, hence the increase of the virtual book fair platforms in order to satisfy the insatiable demands of our existing and new clients. Notwithstanding the foregoing we in the ABA are planning our international flag ship fair -  Firsts London taking place in May 2021, at the Saatchi Gallery, Chelsea. Similarly our fairs at Edinburgh, in March and Chelsea in November next year are at the planning stages. However, if propitious conditions are not in our favour we will  continue to offer  bibliophiles and collectors a number of our, very well received, virtual book fairs throughout the year. As ever the ABA has adopted a pro-active forward thinking  approach to 2021.


Susan Benne, Executive Director ABAA


The ABAA was founded more than 70 years ago. Since then, as citizens, spectators, and advocates, we have long sought to be at the forefront of the trade.


What was once an association of book and manuscript sellers has evolved to encompass maps, prints, ephemera, zines, and other facets of material culture. In the last decade, we launched initiatives that broaden the inclusion and participation of women, BIPOC, and non-binary persons in the trade. Further, it is of utmost importance that diverse voices are represented in the formation and holdings of private and institutional collections.


As we move beyond a year that has caused physical, emotional, and financial hardship for many, we continue to listen, support, and bring forth programs to connect collectors and sellers. We look forward to a better new year and continue to offer virtual book fairs until we can safely gather for in-person events.



Sally Burdon, ILAB President

Although the COVID-19 pandemic has caused heartbreak for many and enormous disruption for even more, the fears that many held for the antiquarian book trade in March and April fortunately did not eventuate. Most antiquarian booksellers whether or not they have open shops have a solid mail order service integrated into their business. This has allowed the majority to manage to ride the storm, or in many cases do very good business, as collectors and readers return to their shelves and seek to fill in gaps or extend their collections. The re-emergence of virtual book fairs, last seen in the early 2000s, has been another bright spot for the book trade. These book fairs are much better supported than they were 20 odd years ago and have helped open the book fair world to those who have not attended a fair, or at least not one of the major fairs, before. The Virtual Book fairs are for book collectors and libraries a great equaliser offering equality of access to everyone with an Internet connection where ever you are on the globe. Many booksellers also used this year to try and catalogue some of the famous backlog that most booksellers have. Every bookseller buys more than they can process and frequently never quite get around to cataloguing some, often, very good stock. This year more of that stock came out and speaking from personal experience sold very well.  Overall the trade has faired, surprisingly given the year, very well in 2020. 

What are we to expect?  What’s going to be the new normal?  

Of course none of us know the answers to these questions - would that we did! The desire to return to physical shops and book fairs is great among both booksellers and their customers. Studies show that the interaction gained from talking in person is more deeper, pleasurable and interesting than the same interaction via video conferencing, very good though this is. Physical fairs will return I have no doubt and may do better than before as book collectors and readers seize opportunities to talk and look at books in person again. It seems likely as well  that the virtual book fairs will continue either as an adjunct or at different times over the year. Into the future booksellers will continue to do what they do so well,  putting out interesting catalogues and helping collectors build their collections.  


Marvin Getman, Electronic Book Fair Visionary


Virtual Outlook 2021


My last live book fair was on March 6-7. It was the satellite fair to the ABAA Armory show. That seems like an eternity ago. The last eight months has been a whirlwind of activity. How I came about developing a virtual platform has been widely reported so no need to repeat it here. Now to look forward to 2021. Here’s what I see:

Thankfully, vaccines are on the way and by this time next year, maybe sooner, I predict that some live fairs will return. I see that the Boston ABAA is being advertised for November and the New York ABAA Fair is being advertised for September. I do not plan, at this time, to bring back my live fairs. I know that might be a disappointment to some who enjoy attending my satellite fairs during the ABAA fairs but the fact is that those fairs take a lot out of this old guy for their financial return.  I will devote my time and attention to continuing to improve my virtual platform and to develop themes that will bring booksellers and their customers together. I get emails from institutions, librarians, collectors and dealers thanking me for developing a platform that is so easy to use and easy to navigate. I take pride that, during this unprecedented year, $2 million of commerce passed through my virtual fairs. There is no question in my mind that virtual fairs are here to stay. It gives me pleasure that other fair producers, Rare Books LA, and recently The SLAM French Book Fair were able to keep their fairs alive by using my platform. We hosted a special fundraiser for CABS which was highly successful. In January, the Rocky Mountain Booksellers Association will hold their annual fair on my platform. Expect to see more social interaction on the virtual fairs. I don’t expect to be able to duplicate the happy hour that so many people seem to miss from the live fairs.  I welcome ideas from booksellers as to what would make the platform more useful. I am investigating a way for money to pass between the buyer and seller quickly. I realize that is something people would like to see.

Posted On: 2021-01-03 08:39
User Name: 19531953

Bravo to Susan and Marvin. Well put and Well done!

Eric C. Caren

Posted On: 2021-01-13 19:23
User Name: mbook

That was more about bookfairs, they are in their own little world. Just the odd book dealer fact. They are not real down to earth actual book dealers.

Posted On: 2021-01-13 19:23
User Name: mbook

That was more about bookfairs, they are in their own little world. Just the odd book dealer fact. They are not real down to earth actual book dealers.

Rare Book Monthly

  • <b>Swann Auction Galleries Jun 24:</b> C.F. Payne, <i>Micawber, Imitating Norman Rockwell’s “Triple self-portrait,”</i> mixed media, 2002. $800 to $1,200.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Jun 24:</b> Brian Froud, media illustration published in <i>The Land of Froud,</i> 1977. Estimate $6,000 to $9,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Jun 24:</b> Haddon Sundblom, <i>All a Girl Needs,</i> oil on canvas, published in <i>The Ladies’ Home Journal,</i> 1942. $8,000 to $10,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Jun 24:</b> Adrianne Lobel, <i>My One and Only,</i> 26 scenic concept collages for the Broadway musical, 1983. $6,000 to $9,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Jun 24:</b> Charles Schulz, original four-panel pen and ink <i>Peanuts</i> comic strip, 1971. $15,000 to $25,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Jun 24:</b>Jack Davis, mixed media cartoon for <i>Playboy,</i> 1959. $6,000 to $9,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Jun 24:</b> Charles Addams, mixed media cartoon for <i>The New Yorker,</i> 1937. $6,000 to $9,000.
  • <center><b>Galleri Bygdoy Allé<br>Sales Exhibition Catalogue 47<br>Part III<br>Antiquarian Temptations:<br>Rare Books, Atlases & Maps,<br>Photos & Manuscripts</b>
    <b>Galleri Bygdoy Allé:</b> PIETER MORTIER. “Le Neptune Francois ou Atlas Nouveau des Cartes Marines. Levées et Gravées par ordre Exprés du Roy…” Paris, 1693.
    <b>Galleri Bygdoy Allé:</b> MARC CHAGALL illus. SHAKESPEARE. “The Tempest.” Large folio. Monte-Carlo, 1975. Signed by the artist.
    <b>Galleri Bygdoy Allé:</b> JOHN SPEED and followers. “A New and Accurate Map of the World.” Hand-colored engraving. London (1626 – 1627 – circa 1650) – 1676.
    <center><b>Galleri Bygdoy Allé<br>Sales Exhibition Catalogue 47<br>Part III<br>Antiquarian Temptations:<br>Rare Books, Atlases & Maps,<br>Photos & Manuscripts</b>
    <b>Galleri Bygdoy Allé:</b> MATTHÄUS SEUTTER. “The Colossus Series.” Set of 4 prints, contemporary hand-colored engravings, each c. 57x49cm. Augsburg c. 1730
    <b>Galleri Bygdoy Allé:</b> (CHARLES LE BRUN). “La Grande Galerie De Versailles, et Les Deux Salons qui L’Accompagnent, peints Par Charles Le Brun premier Peintre de Louis XIV…” Paris, 1752.
    <b>Galleri Bygdoy Allé:</b> G. BRAUN – F. HOGENBERG. “Danorum Marca.” Contemporary hand-colored engraving, 33x48cm. Cologne, 1588.
  • <b>Bonhams, June 29:</b> LIFE OF OSLER, PRESENTATION COPY TO NEPHEW NORMAN GWYN. CUSHING, HARVEY. 1869-1939. <i>The Life of Sir William Osler.</i> Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1925. $1,500 to $2,500.
    <b>Bonhams, June 29:</b> OSLER TO HALSTED MENTIONING CUSHING AND WELCH. Autograph Letter Signed ("Wm Osler") to William Stewart Halsted on medical matters, 2 pp, January 19, 1919. $1,500 to $2,500.
    <b>Bonhams, June 29:</b> CUSHING PRESENTATION COPY TO LUCIEN PRICE. CUSHING, HARVEY. <i>Intracranial Tumours.</i> Springfield, 1932. $1,000 to $1,500.
    <b>Bonhams, June 29:</b> OSLER ON HIS CHILDHOOD. Autograph Letter Signed ("Wm Osler") to Mabel [Brewster] on returning home to Staplehurst. $800 to $1,200.
    <b>Bonhams, June 29:</b> SCULTETUS, JOHANNES. 1595-1645. <i>Cheiroplotheke, seu armamentarium chirurgicum XLIII.</i> Ulm: Balthasar Kühnen, 1655. $3,000 to $4,000.
    <b>Bonhams, June 29:</b> VICQ D'AZYR, FELIX. 1748-1794. <i>Traite d'anatomie et de physiologie.</i> Paris: Didot l'aine, 1786. $3,000 to $5,000.
    <b>Bonhams, June 29:</b> TAGAULT, JEAN. C.1499-1546. <i>De chirugica institutione libri quinque....</i> Lyon: Guillaume Rouillé, 1549. $400 to $600.
    <b>Bonhams, June 30:</b> EDWARD S. CURTIS (1868-1952). Autograph Logs and Journals from his 1927 Alaska Expedition. $7,000 to $ 9,000.
    <b>Bonhams, June 30:</b> EDWARD S. CURTIS (1868-1952). Cañon de Chelley, 1904. Oversized orotone, 17 x 22in in original Curtis Studio frame. $30,000 to $50,000.
    <b>Bonhams, June 30:</b> EDWARD S. CURTIS (1868-1952). 26 cyanotypes, featuring images of Cheyenne tribes from Volume VI of <i>North American Indian,</i> c.1907, made by Curtis in the field. $30,000 to $50,000.
    <b>Bonhams, June 30:</b> EDWARD S. CURTIS (1868-1952). The Vanishing Race, 1904. Oversized orotone, 18 x 24in in original Curtis Studio frame. $20,000 to $30,000.
  • <center><b>Cowan’s<br>American Historical Ephemera<br>& Photography<br>June 25, 2021</b>
    <b>Cowan’s, June 25:</b> [CIVIL WAR] -- [SHERIDAN, Philip Henry]. Personal headquarters flag of Philip Henry Sheridan used when he led the 2nd Michigan Cavalry. Spring - Summer 1862. $20,000 to $30,000.
    <b>Cowan’s, June 25:</b> [EARLY PHOTOGRAPHY]. Half plate daguerreotype of firefighter Walter Van Erven Dorens. [San Francisco]: n.p., [ca 1854-1856]. $15,000 to $25,000.
    <b>Cowan’s, June 25:</b> [LINCOLNIANA]. Abraham Lincoln banner possibly made for the 1864 presidential campaign. $10,000 to $15,000.
    <center><b>Cowan’s<br>American Historical Ephemera<br>& Photography<br>June 25, 2021</b>
    <b>Cowan’s, June 25:</b> [REVOLUTIONARY WAR - CONTINENTAL CONGRESS]. [HOLTEN, Dr. Samuel]. An archive of letters related to Danvers, Massachusetts, physician and statesman Dr. Samuel Holten. $10,000 to $15,000.
    <b>Cowan’s, June 25:</b> [UNION PACIFIC RAILROAD]. CARBUTT, John, photographer. Exceptional collection of 27 stereoviews from the series, "Excursion to the 100th Meridian, October 1866." Chicago, [1866]. $10,000 to $15,000.
    <b>Cowan’s, June 25:</b> [ALASKAN GOLD RUSH]. William Steele West and family, extensive archive of photographs, diaries, correspondence, and personal items. [Ca 19th - 20th century]. $8,000 to $12,000.
    <center><b>Cowan’s<br>American Historical Ephemera<br>& Photography<br>June 25, 2021</b>
    <b>Cowan’s, June 25:</b> [TAYLOR, Zachary]. Quarter plate daguerreotype featuring the 12th President of the United States. N.p.: n.p., [ca 1845]. $8,000 to $10,000.
    <b>Cowan’s, June 25:</b> [WASHINGTON, George]. Signed Society of the Cincinnati document. $5,000 to $7,000.
    <b>Cowan’s, June 25:</b> LINCOLN, Abraham. Autograph endorsement signed ("A. Lincoln"), as President. [Washington], 29 September 1862. 1 page, 4to, old creases. $5,000 to $7,000.
    <center><b>Cowan’s<br>American Historical Ephemera<br>& Photography<br>June 25, 2021</b>
    <b>Cowan’s, June 25:</b> JEFFERSON, Thomas. Autograph letter signed ("Th. Jefferson"), as United States President, to Robert Patterson. Washington DC, 2 July 1805. 1 page, 4to, evenly toned, small tear from seal. $4,000 to $6,000.
    <b>Cowan’s, June 25:</b> [EARLY PHOTOGRAPHY] -- [ALCOTT, Elizabeth Sewall]. Ninth plate ruby ambrotype attributed to Elizabeth Sewall Alcott. N.p., [ca 1856-1857]. $3,000 to $5,000.
    <b>Cowan’s, June 25:</b> [WESTERN AMERICANA]. RUSSELL, Andrew Joseph, photographer. <i>Salt Lake City, From the Top of the Tabernacle.</i> [1869]
  • <b><center>Sotheby’s<br>Livres et Manuscrits :<br>de Cervantès à Houellebecq<br>18 – 25 June</b>
    <b>Sotheby’s, 18 – 25 June:</b> Jouve, Paul -- François-Louis Schmied -- Rudyard Kipling. <i>Le Livre de la Jungle,</i> 1919.<br>€ 80,000 to € 120,000.
    <b>Sotheby’s, 18 – 25 June:</b> Cervantès Saavedra, Miguel de. <i>El ingenioso hidalgo Don Quixote de la Mancha.</i> Bruxelles, 1607.<br>€ 30,000 to € 50,000.
    <b>Sotheby’s, 18 – 25 June:</b> Buren, Daniel - Aimé Césaire. Cahier d'un retour au pays natal. Solstice, 2004. 1/140 ex. Avec 1/20 suites d'œuvres originales.<br>€ 4,000 to € 6,000.
    <b>Sotheby’s, 18 – 25 June:</b> [Musique] - Gioacchino Traversa. Six sonates à violon seul. [Vers 1770].<br>€ 3,000 to € 5,000.

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