AE Top 500 Auction Sales for 2006!
The same issue can arise with photography. Is an album of 19th century photography, perhaps depicting battles from the Civil War or other historic events, related photography? We tend to think so. How about an 1854 daguerreotype of Edgar Allan Poe? Again, we will say yes. So how about the Steiglitz photographs of Georgia O'Keeffe, many of which sold for enough to qualify for the list? Two of these (her hands and torso) sold for over a million dollars each. I can't imagine what her whole body would have brought. Is this related to books? Not in our book. Or, here is my favorite: Love, a 1993 photographic work of "art" by Adam Fuss, described as thus: "The majority of photograms from this series depict the entrails of rabbits dynamically arranged on light sensitive paper, resulting in an almost abstract expressionist image." Don't laugh. This brought in $90,000. And you thought book collectors were irrational! In a world where O'Keeffe's hands bring in ten times as much as Poe's portrait, it is evident that we need to sift out the "art" from the books, or the list will be dominated by the absurd prices people pay for this stuff.
So here is what you will find in the AE Top 500. Books, manuscripts, signed documents by writers or historical figures, artwork used or intended for use as illustrations in books or somehow related to authors, and photographs depicting either writers or historic events. Left out is material generally thought of as "art," unless it is clearly in book form. Therefore, a book primarily of art, but with an artist's biography, or perhaps a few poems, qualifies. A group of artistic prints or photographs does not.