Rare Book Monthly

Articles - June - 2021 Issue

Rare Book & Manuscript Info Plentiful at Exlibris


Remember civil discourse - no snark.

Though we’ve mentioned Exlibris before in this space, it can’t hurt to reiterate that it is one of the most informative and challenging of the many listservs in the world of better books. The membership group is large (3,400), diverse and long running (since 1990). Described as “a news and discussion group for the rare book community, it was established in 1990 at Rutgers University by the late Peter Graham and in November, 1995, moved to the University of California at Berkeley. In December, 2005, because of changes at Berkeley, the list moved to a private ISP and was underwritten financially by the moderator. In November, 2006, it moved to Indiana University under the sponsorship of the Lilly Library.”


According to information posted at the site,“Exlibris provides an environment for discussing matters related to rare book and manuscript librarianship, including special collections and related issues. Membership is open to anyone who wishes to subscribe, although you must be a member to post a message to the group.”


This particular list is international in scope; it is focused primarily on the world of scholarly libraries, archives, special collections and the people who work in and use them. It tilts heavily to academics and has many other members who are affiliated with the world of rare books and manuscripts in other capacities such as rare book dealers. This is a good place to get help with a Latin translation, find obscure citations, let the world know of an important scholarly conference, or post a job opening (which must include a stated salary range.)


Commercial Activity

If you are a dealer, particularly an upmarket dealer, or one who has or hopes to establish contact with libraries or well heeled private buyers, Exlibris makes limited provisions for commercial postings. These are allowed on Tuesdays and no other day.


One recent Tuesday there were more than 30 such posts from dealers around the world. Offerings ranged from Japanese woodblock views of 19th century Tokyo to a large and detailed selection Brazilian imprints, not to mention a photo archive of WWII Bombers, as well as hundreds of other choice items. At the upper reaches of the price spectrum was a signed letter from John Quincy Adams asking $35,000, and also a lovely octavo set of Audubon’s Quadrupeds of North America for $14,000. There were scads of other illustrated listings to scroll through, most priced at a few hundred to a few thousand dollars/Euros. There was also a tiny sprinkling of less costly goods. Whether you’re a buyer or a browser, it’s usually well worth the effort to peruse the Tuesday offerings.


Personally I’ve made a number of very good sales using this list which does not charge a commission. Only a few of the customers I’ve found here were affiliated with a library or similar institution. Most were private individuals and several turned out to be repeat buyers.


Some of the specific provisions applying to Tuesday commercial listings include but are not limited to:


  • All announcements must be preceded, as the first lines by the following text, typed exactly as shown (i.e. in all CAPS): DO NOT USE YOUR EMAIL REPLY FUNCTION TO RESPOND TO THIS ANNOUNCEMENT. MAKE SURE ANY MESSAGE COMES TO ME AND IS NOT SENT TO THE ENTIRE LIST.


  • Individual items may not be sold or solicited on Exlibris. This particular policy also excludes posting references to other venues where individual items may be for sale (e.g., you may not post an announcement that one of your items is for sale on eBay or at an auction.). Lists of individual items for sale may not be listed on Exlibris, even as part of catalogue announcements. Barter arrangements are also not allowed.


  • Any proffered catalogue must be available gratis; i.e., you can't announce a catalogue that must be purchased or is available only at a site for which a charge is made to access the site.


  • Booksellers may not add Exlibris members to their mailing lists without their consent.


It is strongly suggested that those who join Exlibris with an eye to doing business there read the rules all the way through before subscribing, with particular attention to Section V-Commercial Activity.


Code of Conduct

That said, this group tends to put a fine (dare I say “very fine”) point on almost everything, so it is good to lurk for a while to get the feel for it before participating. Specifically this list has its own Code of Conduct” which states: “We seek to make this a space open to all, where all members can post questions and discuss topics without fear of uncivil, flippant, and dismissive remarks - one where we share our knowledge rather than mock those who do not know what we might already know or mockthose who hold differing opinions and views than we do.” 


According to the moderators the following types of posts are strongly discouraged

  • · Unnecessary replies such as “I agree!”

  • · Personal conversations

  • · Posts unrelated to rare books and manuscripts

  • · Snarky or negative comments that do not add to the conversation

  • · Complaints about list policies (which should be sent to the moderators)

  •    The moderators announced at the end of May that changes to the commercial post rules are expected with a goal of "simplification."


For example, a recent announcement continuing an earlier discussion on Integrating Critical Race Theory and Teaching with Primary Sources” drew a slew of reactions. A few of them were submitted by posters who obviously hadn’t read the rules on “negative comments” and elicited a rebuke from the mods, i.e. “We've determined that this message violates the Exlibris Code of Conduct, specifically list members should strive to engage with these difficult topics and materials in a respectful and careful manner that provides appropriate context for their historical interpretation. This is a formal warning, any further violations of the list rules or code of conduct will result in a 30 day suspension of your posting privileges.”


Personally, I scroll through most of Exlibris every day, and I usually get around to viewing most of the booksellers’ Tuesday offerings, though it might take a few days to browse them all.


If you find any of this confusing or have trouble signing up, the email contact for listserv moderators is exlibrismods@gmail.com


And remember, however tempting, no snark.



Reach Rare Book Hub writer Susan Halas at wailukusue@gmail.com

Posted On: 2021-06-02 03:47
User Name: mairin

Good work, Susan, many thanks for this.
Just posted a notice on this piece on ExLibris-L.
Many of us are in its debt.
- Maureen E. Mulvihill, Collector.

Rare Book Monthly

  • <b><center>Sotheby’s<br> The Library of Henry Rogers<br>Broughton, 2nd Baron Fairhaven<br>Part I<br>18 May 2022</b>
    <b>Sotheby’s, May 18:</b> John James Audubon and James Bachman. <i>The Viviparous Quadrupeds of North America.</i> New York: J.J. Audubon, 1845-1848. £150,000 to £250,000.
    <b>Sotheby’s, May 18:</b> Thomas and William Daniell. <i>Oriental Scenery,</i> London, 1795-1807 [but 1841], 6 parts in 3 volumes, folio. £150,000 to £200,000.
    <b>Sotheby’s, May 18:</b> Mark Catesby. <i>The natural history of Carolina, Florida and the Bahama Islands...</i> London, 1731-1743, 2 volumes. £100,000 to £150,000.
    <b>Sotheby’s, May 18:</b> Gould and Lear. <i>A monograph of the Ramphastidae,</i> 1854; <i>Illustrations of the family of Psittacidae,</i> 1832. £60,000 to £90,000.
  • <center><b>Swann Auction Galleries<br>Graphic Design<br>May 19, 2022</b>
    <b>Swann May 19:</b> Adolphe Mouron Cassandre, <i>Triplex,</i> pencil maquette, 1930. $25,000 to $35,000.
    <b>Swann May 19:</b> Claude Fayette Brandon, <i>The Chap Book,</i> circa 1895. $3,000 to $4,000.
    <b>Swann May 19:</b> Various Artists, a complete set of <i>Das Plakat,</i> set of 10 hardcover volumes, 1912-21. $25,000 to $35,000.
    <b>Swann May 19:</b> Javier Gómez Acebo & Máximo Viejo Santamarta, <i>San Sebastian / XI Circuitto Automovilista,</i> 1935. $10,000 to $15,000.
    <b>Swann May 19:</b> Ephraim Moses Lilien, <i>Berliner Tageblatt,</i> circa 1899. $12,000 to $18,000.
  • <b><center>Forum Auctions<br>Fine Books, Manuscripts and Works on Paper<br>26th May 2022</b>
    <b>Forum, May 26:</b> Birds.- Gould (John). <i>The Birds of Great Britain,</i> 5 vol., first edition, [1862-]1873. £40,000 to £60,000.
    <b>Forum, May 26:</b> Canadiana.- Cockburn (Maj. Gen. James Pattison, 1779-1847), After. [Six Landscape of Quebec City and Six Views of Niagara Falls], 2 suites in 1 vol., comprising 12 aquatints, 1833. £30,000 to £40,000.
    <b>Forum, May 26:</b> Joyce (James). <i>Ulysses,</i> number 218 of 150 copies on verge d'arches, Paris, Shakespeare & Company, 1922. £15,000 to £20,000.
    <b><center>Forum Auctions<br>Fine Books, Manuscripts and Works on Paper<br>26th May 2022</b>
    <b>Forum, May 26:</b> Rowling (J.K.) <i>Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone,</i> first paperback edition, signed by the author, 1997. £15,000 to £20,000.
    <b>Forum, May 26:</b> Du Maurier (Daphne). <i>Rebecca,</i> first edition, signed presentation inscription from the author to her governess, 1938. £12,000 to £18,000.
    <b>Forum, May 26:</b> Magna Carta.- An exact copy of King John's Great Charter of 1215, transcribed from the fire damaged but legible manuscript in the Cottonian Library, British Library, J. Pine, 1733. £10,000 to £15,000.
    <b><center>Forum Auctions<br>Fine Books, Manuscripts and Works on Paper<br>26th May 2022</b>
    <b>Forum, May 26:</b> Woolf (Virginia). <i>Mrs Dalloway,</i> first edition, Hogarth Press, 1925. £10,000 to £15,000.
    <b>Forum, May 26:</b> Tudor exiles opposed to the Marian regime.- Mary I (Queen of England) Letter signed "Marye the Quene" to Lord Paget, signed at head, titled at head "By the King and Quene", 1556. £8,000 to £10,000.
    <b>Forum, May 26:</b> America.- Newfoundland.- Whitbourne (Sir Richard). <i>A discourse and discouery of Nevv-found-land…,</i> second edition, By Felix Kingston, 1622. £6,000 to £8,000.
    <b><center>Forum Auctions<br>Fine Books, Manuscripts and Works on Paper<br>26th May 2022</b>
    <b>Forum, May 26:</b> Cervantès Saavedra (Miguel de). <i>El Ingenioso Hidalgo Do Quixote de la Mancha,</i> 4 vol., Madrid, Por Don Joaquin Ibarra, 1780. £5,000 to £7,000.
    <b>Forum, May 26:</b> Stubbs (George). <i>The Anatomy of the Horse,</i> first edition, first issue, Printed by J. Purser, for the Author, 1766. £6,000 to £8,000.
    <b>Forum, May 26:</b> Cardiology.- Lower (Richard). <i>Tractatus de Corde item De Motu & Colore Sanguinus et Chyli in cum Transitu,</i> first edition, 1669. £5,000 to £7,000.
  • <center><b>Ketterer Rare Books<br>Auction on May 30</b>
    <b>Ketterer Rare Books, May 30:</b><br>Initial A on vellum, Cologne around 1300. Est: €25,000
    <b>Ketterer Rare Books, May 30:</b><br>J. Androuet du Cerceau, <i> Bastiments de France,</i> 1607. Est: €12,000
    <b>Ketterer Rare Books, May 30:</b><br>E. Cerillo, <i>Dipinti murali di Pompei,</i> 1886. Est: €2,500
    <center><b>Ketterer Rare Books<br>Auction on May 30</b>
    <b>Ketterer Rare Books, May 30:</b><br>L. de Austria, <i>Compilatio de astrorum scientia,</i> 1489. Est: €9,000
    <b>Ketterer Rare Books, May 30:</b><br>B. Besler, <i>Hortus Eystettensis,</i> around 1750. Est: €50,000
    <b>Ketterer Rare Books, May 30:</b><br><i>PAN,</i> 1895-1900. Est: €15,000
    <center><b>Ketterer Rare Books<br>Auction on May 30</b>
    <b>Ketterer Rare Books, May 30:</b><br>F. Colonna, <i>Hypnerotomachia Poliphili,</i> 1545. Est: €40,000
    <b>Ketterer Rare Books, May 30:</b><br>F. Schiller, <i>Die Räuber,</i> 1781. Est: €12,000
    <b>Ketterer Rare Books, May 30:</b><br>J. Albers, <i>Formulation : Articulation,</i> 1972. Est: €18,000
    <center><b>Ketterer Rare Books<br>Auction on May 30</b>
    <b>Ketterer Rare Books, May 30:</b><br>G. B. Ramusio, <i>Delle navigationi e viaggi,</i> 1556-1613. Est: €14,000
    <b>Ketterer Rare Books, May 30:</b><br>M. Wied Neuwied, <i>Reise in das Innere Nord-America,</i> 1839-41. Est: €12,000
    <b>Ketterer Rare Books, May 30:</b><br>E. Paolozzi, <i>Bunk,</i> 1972. Est: €25,000

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