• <b><center>Gonnelli Auction House<br>Old master, modern and contemporary art<br>Maps & Orientalia<br>8th-9th-10th of June 2022
    <b>Gonnelli Auction House:</b> Giuseppe Aloja, Veduta di Napoli dalla parte di Chiaia. Starting price: € 1650
    <b>Gonnelli Auction House:</b> Abraham Ortelius, Mappa dell'Atlantico del Nord. Starting price: € 280
    <b>Gonnelli Auction House:</b> Max Klinger, Für alle. 1884. Starting price: € 360
    <b>Gonnelli Auction House:</b> Katsushita Taito II, Kacho gaden. Starting price: € 320
    <b>Gonnelli Auction House:</b> Blub, Galileo Galilei. Starting price: € 100
  • <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
  • <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.

Rare Book Monthly

Articles - January - 2022 Issue

“NFT” Is the Word of the Year. But What Is It?


This is not a real (as in physical) baseball card.

Collins Dictionary has named its Word of the Year, and it's one that collectors of all stripes will need to know in the years ahead. The “word,” though it isn't really a word, is “NFT.” It's an abbreviation for two words and one prefix, “non-fungible token.” That's a mouthful and probably half the people who are familiar with NFTs don't know what it stands for, even if they understand the concept. For many others, they don't understand the concept even if they have read the definition. It is not easy for people who grew up in a physical world to understand the digital one. I know.


NFTs, which have only been around a few short years and were unknown to most a year ago, broke into the public consciousness last spring when a digital NFT artwork sold for $69.3 million. Say what? An artwork with no canvas, no physical being, just an electronic memory converted to a digital image by computer chips sold for $69.3 million. Nice job “Beeple,” aka Mike Winkelmann, the artist. You aren't going to hang that on your wall unless its via an electronic computer monitor attached to a computer.


Before we get to describing the relationship between NFTs and collectible paper, here is a brief explanation from someone who actually has no idea what an NFT is. First, “non-fungible.” “Fungible” means there are many like items that can replace each other. For example, a dollar bill is fungible. They are interchangeable. It doesn't matter which one you have. So, non-fungible means unique, such as an original painting, or the first handwritten manuscript of a book.


“Token” here means something that is “attached” to a digital copy. Like an inscription written in a book, the token is “attached” to the digital image. It stays with the image forever. Since it is non-fungible, the token is unique, one of a kind. Attach this unique token to an artwork or anything else in digital form, it now becomes unique, the only one with this token. Therefore, if your digital copy of an artwork has this first token “attached” to it, it means you have the first. It's as if you had the painting and everyone else had prints or photographs of it. So, while others may have digital images of your artwork that look the same on their computers, you have the only one that has been established as the first, the original artwork. Naturally, that is worth a whole lot more.


An associated word you have probably heard, particularly with regard to digital (or crypto) currencies like bitcoin, is “blockchain.” Like me, you may have no understanding of this either. Rather than NFTs and their digital works being stored in a database, in one place, controlled by one entity, it is stored on a “blockchain.” That consists of “blocks” of sealed, unchangeable data in private computers all over the world. They are attached to each other, so to speak, to create a chain of blocks. Since these blocks are sealed and cannot be changed, no one can ever change or remove the token. It is like that inscription in the writer's unique handwriting. It guarantees authenticity. Your ownership becomes guaranteed in the blockchain (though you can sell it to another who registers their ownership, sort of like a chain of property ownership documents at the county courthouse). This is how your ownership of cryptocurrencies like bitcoin is guaranteed until you transfer it to another.


Now you may still be wondering what all this has to do with collectible books and paper. If artwork can be converted to NFTs, why not other forms of paper? We are already seeing it with baseball and other sports trading cards. Tampa Bay (and formerly New England Patriot) wide receiver Rob Gronkowski sold a collection of 349 of his digital NFT trading cards for $1.2 million. Just imagine how much his long-time buddy and teammate, Tom Brady, will be able to get for his. Topps, long the maker of tradition paper baseball cards, is now offering NFT versions.


Jack Dorsey, the founder to Twitter, sold an NFT of his first “tweet” for $2.9 million. What is a “tweet” but a digital version of a paper memo? An NFT of an original email could replace collectible old handwritten letters. And books? How about an NFT marked original manuscript of a book? Most authors are writing digitally on computers these days rather than creating paper manuscripts. This may be the only way to get an original manuscript in the future.


Michael Cohen, Donald Trump's one-time attorney and fixer, has offered a one-page manuscript as an NFT. He wrote it in prison and it looks like it may have been a draft of the opening statement for his tell-all book. It begins, “The President of the United States wanted me dead, or, let me say it the way Donald Trump would: he wouldn't mind if I was dead. That was the way Trump talked. Like a mob boss...” In case you're concerned you'll be bumped off if you buy it, it is priced in etherium, an untraceable digital currency like bitcoin. The price is 2.17 Eth, which as of a few days ago was worth $8,500 (by now, that could be worth twice as much or half as much the way those values fluctuate).


So long as there is money to be made, these things will be created. While no one can say this will be a lasting passion rather than a fad, the prices indicate the seriousness of interest so far. Could this be the future of collecting?


Two of the other words that made it to Collins' top 10 were “crypto” and “Metaverse.” “Crypto” is short for cryptocurrency, the digital currency. “Metaverse” is that land combining reality and fantasy, a land where real people can live and converse in a digital world, where their avatars have virtual experiences, and what they display and trade are not their physical possessions. No, they will be digital ones, their NFTs. If you want to be a big man or woman in the Metaverse, you will need to have important and valuable NFTs. Just like the rich person today shows off his Picasso hanging on the wall, the rich one of tomorrow will have a Picasso NFT to show off in the Metaverse.


Sounds exciting? A lot of people think so. Facebook didn't change its name to “Meta” for no reason. Apple and others aren't devising AR (augmented reality) and VR (virtual reality) glasses for people who want to live only in the “real” world. Young people, so we hear, can only afford to live in tiny apartments that have no room for physical objects anyway. And Covid has taught us how to live in confined settings where our only connections to others is in the digital world. Is this sufficient? I don't know. To me, there seems to be something missing. The physical world can be experienced through five senses, sight, sound, touch, smell and taste, the digital world but two, sight and sound. Does this matter? I need a hug.

Posted On: 2022-01-04 09:26
User Name: 19531953

If enough idiots buy into a bad idea, it (lamentably) becomes a good idea!

Eric C. Caren

Posted On: 2022-01-31 02:31
User Name: bukowski

“NFT” is an acronym, isn’t it?

Rare Book Monthly

  • <b><center>Swann Auction Galleries<br>Focus on Women<br>June 2, 2022</b>
    <b>Swann June 2:</b> Susan B. Anthony & Ida Husted Harper, <i>The History of Woman Suffrage,</i> first edition set, New York, 1881-1922. $7,000 to $10,000.
    <b>Swann June 2:</b> Georgia Douglass Johnson, <i>Bronze: a Book of Verse,</i> first edition, Boston, 1922. $4,000 to $6,000.
    <b>Swann June 2:</b> Elaine Fried de Kooning, small archive of material. $2,000 to $3,000.
    <b><center>Swann Auction Galleries<br>Focus on Women<br>June 2, 2022</b>
    <b>Swann June 2:</b> Helena Bochoráková-Dittrichová, <i>Z Mého Detství Drevoryty,</i> first edition, Prague, 1929. $4,000 to $6,000
    <b>Swann June 2:</b> Chicago Women’s Graphics Collective, <i>Cry Out,</i> silkscreen poster, Chicago, 1972. $800 to $1,200.
    <b>Swann June 2:</b> Pearl S. Buck, <i>The Good Earth,</i> first edition, New York, 1931. $3,000 to $5,000.
  • <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.

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