Diamonds in the Rough

- by Bruce E. McKinney


The purchase of a library is exciting.

By Bruce McKinney

This past October Bonhams sold "The William H. Guthman Collection Part I" in New Hampshire. Mr. Guthman was a life-long antiquer and Antiques Road Show luminary who left ample artifacts for a new generation of dealers and collectors to fight over. Five-hundred thirty-three lots accumulated over a career were converted into $2.575 million in a few hours. Every lot sold. Almost all of the first 434 lots were arms and militaria mostly made of metal or wood and in a few cases fabric. There was then a handful of mezzotints followed by 89 lots of interest to the collector of works on paper.

The first paper lot, number 443, is proof that buyers look past descriptions for hidden value. At the auction an unnamed party, a collector of armament and the history that pertains, outbid an auctioneer to acquire "The Reference Library of William Guthman" described as 1,500 to 2,000 volumes of reference material on colonial American history, militaria, ethnography, art history, local interests, and other subjects. The price was $26,325 including commission. Shortly thereafter the buyer sold a two-thirds interest in the remainder to two partners including Eveleigh Books & Stamps of Dover Massachusetts who have already begun to describe, price and list it on line. The first items were recently posted on various sites including AE's Books for Sale. [Click here to see to Eveleigh listings using keyword GUTHMAN

Among the first items posted from lot 443 are: