Rare Book Monthly

Articles - February - 2021 Issue

Remembering an Excellent Effort to Understand the Market in 1978/1979

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A good idea that didn't last

Annual Report of the American Rare Antiquarian and Out-of-Print Book Trade 1978/1979

 

Introduction

 

By Denis Carbonneau

 

This edition of the Annual Report of the American Rare, Antiquarian, and Out-of-Print Trade is the first of a projected series whose purpose is to give a picture of  the antiquarian book trade for the year beginning July 1 and ending the following June 30.  These dates were adopted because they coincide with the fiscal year of most academic libraries and because they overlap the dates of the auction season.

 

The full title of this publication defines its direction and purpose.  The phrase annual report is a financial term for a statement of the financial health of tan enterprise.  Thus, readers will find here an appraisal of the financial health of the antiquarian book trade.

 

A purely financial view of the trade would, however, present a misleading and lopsided picture of the American antiquarian book trade in 1978 / 1979. Supporting activities, associations, and scholarship are an integral part of the trade, and in many ways these elements of the trade share responsibility for its success.  Their activities for 1978 / 1979 are also summarized in the Annual Report.

 

The section entitled “Auctions and Auctioneering” and “Review of Specialized Areas” provide information on buying and selling practices, financial trends, and changes in book collecting habits.

 

The dealer-specialists whose articles appear here have recorded their experiences as reflected in the activity of their businesses.  The most important material available for purchase would be likely to pass through their hands – or through the hands of dealers known to them.  So their appraisals can be expected to be an accurate summary of the year’s activity in their fields.

 

Such an approach is not without its hazards, of course, and specialist collectors and dealers may take exception to individual evaluations,  However, dealers were asked to concentrate on trends and relate those trends to the antiquarian book trade itself.  This summary process may distort the picture of a particular field.  Yet, while no claim to scientific accuracy is made here, the articles as a whole do provide a coherent and, I believe, accurate, view of a diverse and to some extent amorphous trade.

 

While the interpretations of last year’s marketplace activity may be re-evaluated in the future, the events that shaped the trade were seen by most dealers in the same way.  This is not necessarily a sign of accuracy.  But can so many dealers with different specialties and different views of the trade be off target?  It seems unlikely.  In any event, such unanimity will certainly play a large part in any future re-evaluation of the 1978 / 1979 trade.

 

The specialties that appear in the “Review of Specialized Areas” were chosen because of their current popularity with collectors, because of their historical importance in any overview of book selling and book collecting, or in eliminating possible bias.  Most of the areas will appear in future reports:  some areas will be dropped and others added as circumstances warrant.

 

Recurring themes within the articles may point to ongoing or developing trends.  For example, the effects of inflation were, not surprisingly, felt by all dealers, and this accounted for the increase in prices in many areas.  On the other hand, some steep increases undoubtedly result from the re-evaluation of the importance of certain areas.  Concurrent with the effects of inflation, the effects of the devaluation of the dollar were felt by dealers who buy abroad.

 

The influence and  importance of the investor-collector are the subject of comment and speculation.  While some dealers accept and encourage the purchase of books as an investment, others prefer not to deal with individuals who buy books for this purpose.  Still other dealers are not altogether sure that this is actually taking place since their specialties seem to be little affected.

 

The influx of new collectors and dealers or of collectors turned dealers proved disconcerting to several writers, especially since these novices are ignorant not only of the financial aspects of their fields, but of the bibliographical aspects as well.  Higher, inflated prices and poor cataloguing practices are the result.  The book collector who is himself ignorant of his field is thus the victim.

 

Finally, the unpredictability of the first editions market was the subject of discussion by dealers in almost every field.

 

The other sections of the Annual Report, the humanistic elements, also underscore trends in book collecting.  “Conservation of Material” will appeal to sophisticated collectors who recognize that their collections, valuable scholarship tools, are subject to deterioration.  These collectors will want to know what can be done to keep their collections from disintegrating even as they are being used.

 

The section on “Libraries and Librarianship” will be of interest to librarians and dealers since it focuses on the interrelationship of these groups.

 

“Professional Associations and Activities” points to the activities that help dealers maintain professional standards and increase their knowledge.

 

“Trends in bibliography,” a section important to anyone in the trade as well as anyone interested in scholarship and in books, is a summary of exciting bibliographical projects underway.

 

Finally, reference information not easily found elsewhere, if it can be found at all, is included in the Annual Report.

 

The section on book clubs will be updated yearly to reflect historical changes in an important segment of the book collecting world and to provide up-to-date information on the clubs themselves.  Similarly, the information on book fairs provides an overview of the development of an important tool of the antiquarian bookseller.

 

Sections on other topics of significance to the trade will be added as needed, and readers are asked to submit suggestions for improvements or additions.

 

This publication is necessarily the product of the work and faith of many people.  To the contributors themselves I extend my sincerest appreciation for their participation.  In addition, appreciation is due to Robert Nikirk and Thomas Lange for their participation as interviewers.

 

Others who contributed to the success of this volume include Evelyn Harter Glick, who designed the title page and assisted in decisions about design problems.  John DiLorenzo, who did yeoman service in assisting with production aspects; Dorothy MacDonald, who indexed the material; Michael Moran, who was asked near the deadline date to write his article, and who did so under  great editorial pressure; and Lawrence McCrank, who undertook extensive writing and editorial tasks.  To all, I owe a debt of gratitude.

 

As editor of this volume, I of course assume responsibility for the book as a final product.

 

Denis Carbonnneau

New York, New York

December 1979

 

 

Rare Book Monthly

  • <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.
  • <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.

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