Rare Book Monthly

Articles - February - 2006 Issue

Web Catalogue: Premium Subscription Pt. II

Mcfeb06

Web Catalogue reads like a catalogue, works as a research document.


By Bruce McKinney

The printed paper catalogue is perhaps, next to book dealers themselves, the most resilient element in book selling. Of course it's true today that perhaps 1,000 times as many books are displayed electronically as are ever catalogued in printed catalogues but this does not accurately reflect the relative importance of the printed presentation. Literally, for centuries, the cognoscenti have tucked themselves into bed at night with the great catalogues by the bedstead, their minds freed to consider the pleasure and significance of owning material that comes to life as it is described by the great book sellers of the era. To read such material is to share in the significance. Even today, with the dealer under subtle pressure from ever higher printing and distribution costs on the one side and the always improving and the expanding internet instant-and-everywhere-at-once presentation model on the other, great catalogues continue to be produced. Succinctly stated, the bedsteads are still piled high.

This month we offer an alternative to the paper catalogue: an electronic version we call Web Catalogue that is a part of any AE Premium Subscription. It provides an appealing presentation with links to sophisticated visual and historical data that help both seller highlight significance and collector organize, display and share material as it is acquired. It represents a softening of the line between catalogue and collection and is explicit recognition that a new selling - collecting model is emerging. For the seller it is a significant advance in presentation that carries, embedded in its DNA, recognition that the collector will be an active participant rather than simply a passive purchaser. Interest is a function of involvement and this approach encourages participation by providing collectors the tools to challenge their imaginations. In this way the next generation of great collectors will emerge. Say it this way. Information is the bedrock of the new collecting and the underlying rule is "Push the envelope. Pursue information to its ever-extending limits." A seller provides it; the collector researches it and in some cases buys the material.

What exactly is Web Catalogue? It is at first glance an electronic catalogue that can be read in the form and format of paper catalogues. [Link to catalogue]. It is of course more flexible than paper. Text can be revised and errors corrected. Distribution is essentially free. Each traditional description links to a more detailed record. Here there are images and footnotes. Each element is a pop-up screen that allows, even encourages comparison. [Link to detail page] The seller of course controls the presentation. When the buyer is also a Premium member the full selling presentation including images and footnotes can be transferred to the collector's collection. Then only the seller's name, date and price paid need be added to create a complete and permanent record. In time all collections are sold or gifted and reconstructing purchase records then becomes essential. Here, as you build a collection or an inventory using Web Catalogue your dollar basis is captured. At the end of the year you can run reports. How much did you spend? What did you sell? It's here.

Rare Book Monthly

  • <b>Swann Auction Galleries Illustration Art:</b> Eric Carle, <i>The Very Hungry Caterpillar,</i> hand-painted collage. Sold for a record $20,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Illustration Art:</b> Charles Addams, <i>Couple passing a giant bird house,</i> watercolor cartoon for <i>The New Yorker,</i> 1948. Sold for $16,250.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Illustration Art:</b> Miriam Troop, <i>Rain on Laundry Day,</i> oil on canvas, cover for <i>The Saturday Evening Post,</i> 1940. Sold for $40,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Illustration Art:</b> Rockwell Kent, <i>To All Fascists,</i> ink broadside for The League of American Writers, circa 1937. Sold for $6,500.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Illustration Art:</b> Jo Mielziner, <i>Pet Shop Drop,</i> backdrop design for <i>Pal Joey</i> on Broadway, 1940. Sold for a record $55,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Illustration Art:</b> Lee Brown Coye, acrylic cover illustration for the 25th anniversary of <i>Weird Tales,</i> 1944. Sold for $18,750.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Illustration Art:</b> Virgil Finlay, <i>The Outsider & Others,</i> pen & ink dust jacket illustration for H.P. Lovecraft's book, 1939. Sold for $5,500.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Illustration Art:</b> Al Hirschfeld, <i>Paul Robeson as Othello,</i> illustration for <i>The New York Times,</i> 1942. Sold for $68,750
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Illustration Art:</b> Frederic Remington, pen & ink illustration for <i>A Scout with the Buffalo Soldiers</i> in <i>The Century</i> magazine, 1889. Sold for $17,500.
  • <b>Bonhams, Sep. 17:</b> EARLY AVIATION PHOTOGRAPHY ARCHIVE. Chronicling 20th century aviation from the earliest Wright Brothers images through commercial and military applications. $50,000 to $70,000.
    <b>Bonhams, Sep. 17:</b> FIRST TELEPHONE CALL TO THE MOON. Partial transcription signed by Apollo 11 astronauts and President Nixon. $20,000 to $30,000.
    <b>Bonhams, Sep. 17:</b> SPUTNIK-1 EMC/EMI LAB MODEL, 1957. Full scale vintage test model of the Sputnik-1 satellite, Moscow, [February, 1957]. $400,000 to $600,000.
    <b>Bonhams, Sep. 17:</b> Apollo 11 Beta cloth crew emblem, SIGNED BY THE ENTIRE APOLLO 11 CREW. $8,000 to $10,000.
    <b>Bonhams, Sep. 17:</b> GEMINI 1/8 SCALE MODEL. Rarely seen large-scale contractor's model. $3,000 to $5,000
    <b>Bonhams, Oct. 23:</b> SMITH, CHRISTOPHER WEBB. 1793-1871. <i>Indian Ornithology.</i> [Patna, India]: 1828. $50,000 to $80,000.
    <b>Bonhams, Oct. 23:</b> DUPRÉ, LOUIS. 1789-1837. <i>Voyage à Athènes et à Constantinople, ou Collection de portraits, vues et costumes grecs et ottomans.</i> Paris: Dondey-Dupré, 1825. $60,000 to $90,000.
    <b>Bonhams, Oct. 23:</b> ADAMS, JOHN. Autograph Letter Signed ("J Adams"), [to Dr. Perkins?] while recovering from his small pox inoculation, [late-April, 1764]. $30,000 to $50,000.
    <b>Bonhams, Oct. 23:</b> AUSTEN, JANE. Autograph Letter Signed ("J. Austen"), to her sister Cassandra, 4 pp, "Thursday – after dinner," [September 16, 1813,] Henrietta St. $80,000 to $120,000.
    <b>Bonhams, Oct. 23:</b> AUDUBON, JOHN JAMES. 1785-1851. <i>The Birds of America, from Drawings Made in the United States and Their Territories.</i> New York & Philadelphia: J.J. Audubon & J.B. Chevalier, 1840-1844. $20,000 to $30,000.
    <b>Bonhams, Oct. 23:</b> DODWELL, EDWARD. 1767-1832. <i>Views in Greece.</i> London: Rodwell and Martin, 1821. $20,000 to $30,000.
    <b>Bonhams, Oct. 23:</b> JAMES, JESSE. Autograph Letter Signed ("Jesse W. James"), to Mr. Flood demanding Flood retract spurious accusations, 3 pp, June 5, 1875. $200,000 to $300,000.

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