The Power of Book Auction History

- by Bruce E. McKinney

The sale was withdrawn and sold en bloc.

From 1851 to 1900 the sale of books at auction increases by a factor of ten. Between 1801 and 1850 there are 497 reported sales, between 1851 and 1900 4,800. Between 1851 and 1875 there are 1,600 sales, between 1876 and 1900 3,200. Between 1901 and 1925 there are another 3,605. In the final nine years of this study, which includes five years of depression, there are 761 sales.

The peak of book selling at auction as measured as events divided by population is 1880 and the absolute peak of book auction selling in the pre-eBay era 1910. This analysis does not enter into total lots or dollar value and the entire closet of adjustments and deflators that will probably show a financial peak in the 1920's.

This study does not yet include financial outcomes but it is our expectation to include such information as we obtain it.