Rare Book Monthly

Articles - November - 2021 Issue

Being on Top of the Market

When bidding or buying why guess what is fair market value?

Book valuation is never a certain number when you look on a listing site because what determines market value is when a  willing buyer makes an offer and the seller agrees.  Book listing sites offer millions of printed items and certainly try to convey that the price is the price, take it or leave it.  But in time the vast majority of browsers find that what they first wanted and thought was too expensive, they later find the market slowly affirms their opinion, when the item remains unsold.  It’s inefficient but listing sites believe buyers will pay up.


When printed paper comes up on auction sites it’s a different proposition. The date of the sale is firm but the price will be market determined.  The outcome, for book buyers who are patient, can return to listing sites periodically for an update of status, knowing most material will still be posted for months if not years.  But for auctions, 80% of all lots offered will soon be sold on the day of the sale.  When it’s something you missed it’s frustrating.  To avoid that risk requires a collector or collecting institution monitor the daily flow of upcoming auction lots in the collectible paper field.


Collectible paper is a part of many auctions but to look for that type of material requires looking to and through sales that are only tangentially relevant.  We alone, on Rare Book Hub, make it possible to know what’s upcoming at auction in collectible paper worldwide because we work with most auction houses and review their upcoming events and then post their related lots.  This means our upcoming auction lot search is very pure.  On a typical day 2,000 fresh paper lots are posted, ensuring you’ll have a  chance, if you take a moment to run your search terms.  It’s free and efficient. 


Better yet, for the sake of efficiency, Rare Book Hub, years ago also developed a daily report matching member preferences and we release those reports overnight to those members who have created a matrix of search terms reflecting their interests.  That service is called Matchmaker.


Because auctions are typically posted 7 to 14 days ahead of sale, this means 15,000 to 30,000 items will at any given time be searched in the upcoming category.  For those who are more methodical, they can create a set of search terms matching their interests in Matchmaker.  After which we issue reports when one or more of your terms appears in upcoming lots.  This saves both time and the occasional sense of disaster when you realize you missed something that’s in your wheelhouse.


As well, if serious, by subscribing to our paid services, you will gain access to over 11 million records from past auctions and other sources. This will enable you to estimate current value and  the probability to appear again at auction – expressed in months and years.  And it’s useful to know.  The probability of reappearance often drives prices higher. You can learn more about it by clicking the “Rare Book Transaction History” tab at the top of the page.


Use the upcoming auction search.  It’s free, it saves time, and it’s sequenced by sale date so you know immediately, if something is appealing comes up at the top of the list, it’s coming up soon.  When you conclude your time is valuable, use Matchmaker in conjunction with Transactions+. 


This works.

Posted On: 2021-11-11 10:09
User Name: emmajoseph


Rare Book Monthly

  • Forum Auctions
    Fine Books, Manuscripts and Works on Paper
    30th May 2024
    Forum, May 30: Potter (Beatrix). Complete set of four original illustrations for the nursery rhyme, 'This pig went to market', 1890s. £60,000 to £80,000.
    Forum, May 30: Dante Alighieri.- Lactantius (Lucius Coelius Firmianus). Opera, second edition, Rome, 1468. £40,000 to £60,000.
    Forum, May 30: Distilling.- Brunschwig (Hieronymus). Liber de arte Distillandi de Compositis, first edition of the so-called 'Grosses Destillierbuch', Strassburg, 1512. £22,000 to £28,000.
    Forum, May 30: Eliot (T.S.), W. H. Auden, Ted Hughes, Philip Larkin, Robert Lowell, Seamus Heaney, Ted Hughes, & others. A Personal Anthology for Eric Walter White, 60 autograph poems. £20,000 to £30,000.
    Forum, May 30: Cornerstone of French Enlightenment Philosophy.- Helvetius (Claude Adrien). De l'Esprit, true first issue "A" of the suppressed first edition, Paris, 1758. £20,000 to £30,000.
    Forum Auctions
    Fine Books, Manuscripts and Works on Paper
    30th May 2024
    Forum, May 30: Szyk (Arthur). The Haggadah, one of 125 copies, this out-of-series, Beaconsfield Press, 1940. £15,000 to £20,000.
    Forum, May 30: Fleming (Ian). Casino Royale, first edition, first impression, 1953. £15,000 to £20,000.
    Forum, May 30: Japan.- Ryusui (Katsuma). Umi no Sachi [Wealth of the Sea], 2 vol., Tokyo, 1762. £8,000 to £12,000.
    Forum, May 30: Computing.- Operating and maintenance manual for the BINAC binary automatic computer built for Northrop Aircraft Corporation 1949, Philadelphia, 1949. £8,000 to £12,000.
    Forum, May 30: Burmese School (probably circa 1870s). Folding manuscript, or parabaik, from the Court Workshop at the Royal Court at Manadaly, Burma, [c.1870s]. £8,000 to £12,000.
  • Sotheby’s
    Modern First Editions
    Available for Immediate Purchase
    Sotheby’s, Available Now: Winston Churchill. The Second World War. Set of First-Edition Volumes. 6,000 USD
    Sotheby’s, Available Now: A.A. Milne, Ernest H. Shepard. A Collection of The Pooh Books. Set of First-Editions. 18,600 USD
    Sotheby’s, Available Now: Salvador Dalí, Lewis Carroll. Alice's Adventures in Wonderland. Finely Bound and Signed Limited Edition. 15,000 USD
    Modern First Editions
    Available for Immediate Purchase
    Sotheby’s, Available Now: Ian Fleming. Live and Let Die. First Edition. 9,500 USD
    Sotheby’s, Available Now: J.K. Rowling. Harry Potter Series. Finely Bound First Printing Set of Complete Series. 5,650 USD
    Sotheby’s, Available Now: Ernest Hemingway. A Farewell to Arms. First Edition, First Printing. 4,200 USD
  • Bid on iGavelAuctions.com: Heller, Joseph, Closing Time, Advance Readers Copy of Uncorrected Proof with a letter from Heller on his personal stationary
    Bid on iGavelAuctions.com: Gates, Bill, How to Avoid a Climate Disaster, N Y: Knopf, 2021; first edition, with a handwritten note from Bill Gates
    Bid on iGavelAuctions.com: Heller, Joseph, Catch-22, New York: Simon & Schuster, 1961, first edition, first printing, first issue dust jacket, inscribed on the front end paper by Heller
    Bid on iGavelAuctions.com: Heller, Joseph, Something Happened, New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1974, first edition, inscribed on the front end paper by Heller
    Bid on iGavelAuctions.com: Austen, Jane, Northanger Abbey and Persuasion, London: John Murray, 1818, in four volumes
  • Manuscript Masterpieces from the Schøyen Collection
    London auction, 11 June
    Christie’s, Explore now: The Holkham Hebrew Bible. In Hebrew, decorated manuscript on vellum [Toledo, 2nd quarter 13th century]. £1,500,000–3,000,000
    Christie’s, Explore now: The Crosby-Schøyen Codex. In Coptic, manuscript on papyrus [Upper Egypt, middle 3rd century / 4th century]. £2,000,000–3,000,000
    Christie’s, Explore now: The Geraardsbergen Bible. In Latin, illuminated manuscript on vellum [Southern Netherlands, late 12th century]. £700,000–1,000,000
    Christie’s, Explore now : Jean de Courcy (fl. 1420). The Chronique de la Bouquechardiere. In French, illuminated manuscript on vellum [Paris, c.1480]. £200,000–300,000
    Christie’s, Explore now: The ‘Catherine de Medici’ Hours. In Latin and French, illuminated manuscript on vellum [Paris, c.1485]. £120,000–180,000

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