Rare Book Monthly

Articles - January - 2007 Issue

Take Control of Your Foreign Affairs, Part II

Don't settle for de facto exchange rates.


By Renée Magriel Roberts

In my December article I discussed some of the problems that we booksellers face in buying and selling overseas, with a specific focus on the expense and time involved in buying books from overseas sellers:
  • Vendors may want payments in their own currencies, either by wire transfer or by bank draft in their own currency. Or, if they are in Canada or the USA, they may prefer EFT/ACH electronic payments. What is the simplest way to initiate these transactions?
  • Third-party transactions in foreign currencies create timing issues. How can one guarantee that the exchange transaction will allow a reasonable profit?
  • How can costly bank fees and unfavorable exchange rates be avoided?
  • How can one eliminate the extra credit card charges incurred when dealing with foreign exchanges?
  • Time is money in our industry. How can we avoid the long lines at the bank and the do-overs from processes that are not efficiently set up?
  • How can we readily transfer funds between accounts in the USA and overseas at minimum expense and effort?
In order to begin solving these problems, we found we needed more control over the central process in any foreign purchase: the actual exchange to and from US dollars. By better understanding and controlling the process, we avoided just about all of the time and energy drains of doing business the old way.

Taking control of our foreign affairs started out with just getting better information on the current and ever-changing exchange rates. We began by using XE.com. A free and easy-to-use site, XE.com launched its flagship service, "The Universal Currency Converter"®, to dynamically calculate exchange rates among all 193 of the world's currencies. The XE payment system used to make trades, which we will describe later in this article, supports the 15 major world currencies:

* AUD Australia Dollars, * CAD Canada Dollars, * CHF Switzerland Francs, * DKK Denmark Kroner, * EUR Euro, * GBP United Kingdom Pounds Sterling, * HKD Hong Kong Dollars, * JPY Japan Yen, * MXN Mexico Pesos, * NZD New Zealand Dollars, * NOK Norway Kroner, * SGD Singapore Dollars, * SEK Sweden Kronor, * USD United States Dollars, and * ZAR South Africa Rand.

Using XE.com is extremely easy. You just plug in an amount in one currency and pick the target currency; the Currency Converter displays the result and the exchange rate used in the calculation. In addition the Universal Currency Converter will display the so-called mid-market rates for many other currencies. You can readily bookmark this site and use it whenever you wish, and there is also a library of free web tools to integrate the technology into your own site as a customer service.

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.
  • Ketterer Rare Books
    Auction May 27th
    Ketterer Rare Books, May 27:
    K. Marx, Das Kapital,1867. Dedication copy. Est: € 120,000
    Ketterer Rare Books, May 27:
    Latin and French Book of Hours, around 1380. Est: € 25,000
    Ketterer Rare Books, May 27:
    Theodor de Bry, Indiae Orientalis, 1598-1625. Est: € 80,000
    Ketterer Rare Books
    Auction May 27th
    Ketterer Rare Books, May 27:
    Breviary, Latin manuscript, around 1450-75. Est: € 10,000
    Ketterer Rare Books, May 27:
    G. B. Piranesi, Vedute di Roma, 1748-69. Est: € 60,000
    Ketterer Rare Books, May 27:
    K. Schmidt-Rottluff, Arbeiter, 1921. Orig. watercolour on postcard. Est: € 18,000
    Ketterer Rare Books
    Auction May 27th
    Ketterer Rare Books, May 27:
    Breviarium Romanum, Latin manuscript, 1474. Est: € 20,000
    Ketterer Rare Books, May 27:
    C. J. Trew, Plantae selectae, 1750-73. Est: € 28,000
    Ketterer Rare Books, May 27:
    M. Beckmann, Apokalypse, 1943. Est: € 50,000
    Ketterer Rare Books
    Auction May 27th
    Ketterer Rare Books, May 27:
    Ulrich von Richenthal, Das Concilium, 1536. Est: € 9,000
    Ketterer Rare Books, May 27:
    I. Kant, Critik der reinen Vernunft, 1781. Est: €12,000
    Ketterer Rare Books, May 27:
    Arbeiter-Illustrierte Zeitung (AIZ) / Die Volks-Illustrierte (VI), 1932-38. Est: €8,000
  • 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
    Sotheby’s
    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

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