Rare Book Monthly

Articles - October - 2021 Issue

From Here to Eternity: Collecting in your old age

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The collector and his family

Collections start randomly, and some day end.  Most don’t start out to be epic, rather they often turn out to be simply episodes.  The collector’s experience shapes what happens next.

Money, time and intellectual acuity play roles.  Partner preferences matter as does luck.  The early sources you rely on are crucial.  Bill Reese influenced two of my collections; The New World to 1625, and the other, The American West to 1890.  He provided perspective on how to intelligently collect, providing reading lists and sources when/if the material was not within his personal experience.  For me, collecting might have turned out to only be the accumulation of collectible material but he made the distinction, the material should have a rock solid focus.  The collection should encompass a story.

 

In addition to his perspective, I began to experiment, looking for personal relevance.  The New World to 1625 was interesting to me because I was living on the Florida east coast in the early 1990’s.  In time I built that collection [1991-1999], moved to San Francisco in 1995 and then built the collection related to the development of the American west.  I sold them at auction, the first in 2009 at Bloomsbury in New York, and second at Bonhams in New York in 2010 when I was 64.

 

I suppose at that age some collectors would throw in the towel but from when I was a kid, I always hoped I could collect a collection of Ulster County, New York where I grew up.  I did so randomly without much success.  But the internet, in the late 1990’s exposed all kinds of material relating to Ulster and found the county’s commercial history was accessible and saw the day to day details of life and business could be purchased online.  For me, this meant I was going to build one more collection and continue to build it today.

 

But I’m 75 now and completing and placing the Ulster County collection is complicated.  For starters, I’m still collecting, increasingly focusing on paintings.  I find them easy to live with.

 

But I have to plan the disposition of this collection because, while it matters to me, it’s not something my family will value in the way I do.  And, because it’s a complex collection it has to be organized in a way it will still make sense when its author is gone.  Simply stated, my wife Jenny made allowances to my interest in Ulster County, but I’m simply obligated to ensure this collection will not be a burden for either her or our children.

 

To do that suggests the complete collection will need to be catalogued.  Years ago I used to think that was the auction house’s responsibility but there are so many ways that sections of this collection reinforce each other it’s important I explain how the pieces fit together.  So I’m planning to have assistance to create catalogues by categories, such as manuscripts, books, maps and ephemera, paintings, disasters, kitsch, furniture and artifacts.  So when that day comes I don’t leave a burden.


Posted On: 2021-10-06 04:32
User Name: mairin

A good piece, Bruce, wishing you success placing the McKinney Ulster Collection. Yes, every collection should have its own unique narrative, reflecting the character, tastes, and life of the collector (influences / mentors). Absolutely. And your collecting habits, as you explained, surely have done all of that. Back to your Ulster material: I'd approach the Ulster Historical Society; the New-York Historical Society; and the NYPL (its Family History Division, maybe). Dr Alice Browne, Rare Book Cataloguer emerita, New-York Historical Society, and one of my best Brooklyn friends, may have some thoughts -- shall ask her. And, yes, assembling a catalogue of one's collection must be a priority for collectors of all ages, a serious & tedious task. It's just around my corner, as well (sigh).
All the luck,
Maureen E. Mulvihill,
Collector, Early Women Writers / RBH Guest Writer.
__


Rare Book Monthly

  • <b>Swann Auction Galleries Oct 28:</b> Pancho Villa, passport for a news correspondent covering the Mexican revolution, signed, 1914. $1,000 to $2,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Oct 28:</b> Nirvana’s <i>Nevermind,</i> CD insert signed & inscribed days after release by Cobain, inscribed by Novoselic, 1991. $40,000 to $60,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Oct 28:</b> Robert Indiana, <i>The Book of Love,</i> complete portfolio, artist’s proof set, 1997. $100,000 to $125,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Oct 28:</b> Marcel Vertés, Colette, <i>Chéri,</i> two volumes, deluxe edition, signed by the artist, Paris, 1929. $5,000 to $7,500.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Oct 28:</b> Virginia Woolf, <i>Orlando,</i> first trade edition, first impression, London, 1928. $1,200 to $1,800.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Oct 28:</b> Mark Twain, receipt for payment of the Mark Twain Public Library Tax, 1908. $10,000 to $15,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Oct 28:</b> Gustav Klimt, <i>Das Werk von Gustav Klimt,</i> portfolio, collotype plates, 1918. $15,000 to $20,000.
  • <b>Bonhams, Oct. 15:</b> EARLY PRINTING IN COLOGNE. <i>Alphabetum divini amoris.</i> 1466/67. $10,000 to $15,000.
    <b>Bonhams, Oct. 15:</b> SCHEDEL, HARTMANN. <i>Liber chronicarum.</i> Nuremburg: 12th July 1493. $50,000 to $80,000.
    <b>Bonhams, Oct. 15:</b> DÜRER, ALBRECHT. 1471-1528. <i>Underweysung der messung.</i> Nuremberg: 1525. $20,000 to $30,000.
    <b>Bonhams, Oct. 15:</b> LANCELOT DU LAC. <i>Le premier [second/tiers] volume de Lancelot du Lac…</i> Paris: [1502-1504]. $30,000 to $50,000.
    <b>Bonhams, Oct. 15:</b> CRUIKSHANK, GEORGE, ET AL. A group of 23 sketches by two generations of the Cruikshank family, various media, mostly pencil or ink with occasional color, c.1790s. $10,000 to $15,000.
    <b>Bonhams, Oct. 15:</b> FÉNELON. <i>Les Aventures de Telemaque.</i> Paris: 1785. Hand-colored copy originally belonging to Jean Baptiste Tilliard. $12,000 to $18,000.
    <b>Bonhams, Oct. 15:</b> FRAGONARD. LA FONTAINE. <i>Contes et nouvelles en vers.</i> Paris: 1795. $10,000 to $15,000.
    <b>Bonhams, Oct. 15:</b> SAINT-NON. <i>Voyage pittoresque ou description des royaumes de Naples et de Sicile.</i> Paris: 1781-1786. WITH: Original manuscript contract signed for publication, c.1787. $40,000 to $60,000.
    <b>Bonhams, Oct. 15:</b> MAN RAY. <i>Revolving Doors, 1916-1917.</i> Paris: 1926. PRESENTATION COPY FROM THE ARTIST. $30,000 to $50,000.
    <b>Bonhams, Oct. 15:</b> MIRÓ, JOAN. <i>Il etait une petite pie.</i> Paris: 1928. MIRO'S FIRST BOOK, PRESENTATION COPY FROM THE AUTHOR, LISE [DELHARME] HIRST. $12,000 to $18,000.
    <b>Bonhams, Oct. 15:</b> SCHMIED, FRANÇOIS-LOUIS. HOMER. <i>L'Odyssee.</i> Paris: 1930-1933. DELUXE EDITION OF SCHMIED'S MASTERPIECE, COLORED BY SAUDE. $12,000 to $18,000.
  • <center><b>Forum Auctions<br>A third selection of 16th and 17th<br>Century English Books from<br>the Fox Pointe Manor Library<br>Thursday 21st October 2021</b>
    <b>Forum Auctions, Oct. 21:</b> Hawking & Hunting.- Turberville (George). <i>The Booke of Falconrie or Hawking,</i> second edition, Printed by Thomas Purfoot, 1611. £6,000 to £8,000.
    <b>Forum Auctions, Oct. 21:</b> George Steevens' copy.- Coryate (Thomas). <i>Coryats Crudities Hastily gobbled up in five Moneths travells in France, Savoy, Italy, Rhetia...,</i> first edition, complete copy, Printed by W. S[tansby], 1611. £4,000 to £6,00
    <b>Forum Auctions, Oct. 21:</b> Butler (Charles). <i>The Feminine Monarchie: or The Historie of Bees,</i> second edition, Printed by John Haviland for Roger Jackson, 1623. £2,000 to £3,000.
    <center><b>Forum Auctions<br>A third selection of 16th and 17th<br>Century English Books from<br>the Fox Pointe Manor Library<br>Thursday 21st October 2021</b>
    <b>Forum Auctions, Oct. 21:</b> Brathwait (Richard). <i>The English Gentlewoman, drawne out to the full Body: expressing, What Habilliments doe best attire her…,</i> Printed by B. Alsop and T. Fawcet, for Michaell Sparke, 1631. £1,000 to £1,500.
    <b>Forum Auctions, Oct. 21:</b> Glapthorne (Henry). <i>The Ladies Priviledge,</i> first edition, Imprinted...by J. Okes, for Francis Constable, 1640. £1,000 to £1,500.
    <b>Forum Auctions, Oct. 21:</b> Witchcraft.- F. (H.) <i>A true and exact Relation Of the severall Informations, Examinations, and Confessions of the late Witches, arraigned and executed in the County of Essex,</i> first edition, 1645. £2,000 to £3,000.
    <center><b>Forum Auctions<br>A third selection of 16th and 17th<br>Century English Books from<br>the Fox Pointe Manor Library<br>Thursday 21st October 2021</b>
    <b>Forum Auctions, Oct. 21:</b> Hobbes (Thomas). <i>De Corpore Politico. Or the Elements of Law, Moral & Politick,</i> first edition, 1650. £2,000 to £3,000.
    <b>Forum Auctions, Oct. 21:</b> Early steam engine.- Worcester (Edward Somerset, 2nd Marquis). <i>A Century of the Names and Scantlings of such Inventions…,</i> first edition, 1663. £2,000 to £3,000.
    <b>Forum Auctions, Oct. 21:</b> Cookery.- M[ontagu] (W[alter]). <i>The Queens Closet Opened. Incomparable secrets in physick, chirurgery, preserving and candying, &c,</i> 3 parts in 1 vol., 1674. £1,500 to £2,000.
    <center><b>Forum Auctions<br>A third selection of 16th and 17th<br>Century English Books from<br>the Fox Pointe Manor Library<br>Thursday 21st October 2021</b>
    <b>Forum Auctions, Oct. 21:</b> Speed (John). <i>An Epitome of Mr. John Speed's Theatre of the Empire of Great Britain,</i> 2 parts in 1, 90 engraved maps, Printed for Tho. Basset, and Ric. Chiswel, 1676. £3,000 to £4,000.
    <b>Forum Auctions, Oct. 21:</b> Le Boe (Franciscus). <i>Of Childrens Diseases... also a Treatise of the Rickets,</i> first edition, Printed for George Downs, 1682. £2,000 to £3,000.
    <b>Forum Auctions, Oct. 21:</b> Economics.- Locke (John). <i>Several Papers Relating to Money, Interest and Trade,</i> first collected edition, Printed for A. and J. Churchill, 1696. £2,000 to £3,000.
  • <center><b>Gonnelli Auction House<br>Books and Graphics<br>26th-29th of October 2021</b>
    <b>Gonnelli Auction 31, Oct. 28th- 29th:</b><br>Books from XV to XX Century
    <b>Gonnelli Auction 31, Oct. 28th:</b><br>Manuscripts and autographs
    <b>Gonnelli Auction 31, Oct. 28th:</b><br>Artist books
    <b>Gonnelli Auction 31, Oct. 28th:</b><br>Cars & more
    <b>Gonnelli Auction 31, Oct. 28th:</b><br>Magazines
    <b>Gonnelli Auction 31, Oct. 28th- 29th:</b><br>Books from XV to XX Century
  • <center><b>Sotheby’s<br>The Luzzatto High Holiday Mahzor:<br>A Magnificent Illuminated Ashkenazic Prayer Book<br>19 October 2021</b>
    <center><b>Sotheby’s<br>The Luzzatto High Holiday Mahzor:<br>A Magnificent Illuminated Ashkenazic Prayer Book<br>19 October 2021</b>
    <center><b>Sotheby’s<br>The Luzzatto High Holiday Mahzor:<br>A Magnificent Illuminated Ashkenazic Prayer Book<br>19 October 2021</b>
    <center><b>Sotheby’s<br>The Luzzatto High Holiday Mahzor:<br>A Magnificent Illuminated Ashkenazic Prayer Book<br>19 October 2021</b>

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