Rare Book Monthly

Articles - May - 2007 Issue

Evidence of Life in the White Mountains

A marked up sale catalogue.


By Bruce McKinney

The White Mountains, as a collecting focus, received a boost this past month as a group of White Mountains, Vermont and New Hampshire items came up at New England Book Auctions on April 10th and found willing buyers. In the 19th century the White Mountains were a favorite vacation spot for the well-to-do, a collecting focus then and a potentially interesting area today.

The sale, No. 350: Americana including a collection on The White Mountains, Cartography, Travel and Nautical, brought out a good crowd that Leif Laudamus, the auctioneer, described as "a full house." Every lot sold. As is NEBA's practice estimates were set at reasonable levels, the estimates in fact more an enticement to bid than a predictor of outcomes. The Tuesday evening audience at the Hotel Northampton in western Massachusetts responded with aggressive bids. The overall sale also did well.

Of 210 lots offered 36 pertained directly and indirectly to the White Mountains including a short run of groups. For those wondering if the glory days of White Mountains collecting have irretrievably faded the answer on April 11th was no. According to Mr. Laudamus there were many bidders for most items and very intense bidding for a few. As was to be expected, images and books with images fared best. Two items brought 5 times the low estimate:

By comparison with the results of the Streeter sale at Christies the following week the prices in this sale were low. But most collectors do not have deep pockets, only a passion for collecting. For them this was an interesting opportunity.

Lot 55, M. Conant's 1852 map of the Mountains and Lake Region of New-Hampshire with Rail-Road Routes, brought $1,100 against a low estimate of $200. Lot 203, a group of White Mountain items brought $500 against the low estimate of $100.

Two items brought the highest prices, both of them selling for $1,430: a mixed set of Jeremy Belknap's The History of New Hampshire against an estimate of $600-900; and Romeyn B. Hough's Woods of the White Mountains against an estimate of $150-250. Items with many comparables on the net did less well although here too there were exceptions. Lot 88, Farmer's 1823 New Hampshire Gazetteer brought $275, $25 higher than any of the ten copies offered recently on the net. It was probably a very nice copy. The majority of buyers were dealers who know to check online availability and pricing. They bid with eyes open and wallets secured. Collectors were also on hand to contend.

By any calculation the prices for the White Mountain material were firm if not high. In recent years dealers have cited lack of interest in this category as evidence of declining interest in book collecting generally. Some of the items were available on the net but it is an altogether different experience, even for jaded dealers, to see the material grouped and offered at auction. In this forum, a collector's logic is apparent and buyers sense what the pursuit of such material as a long term endeavor may entail. Hopefully a new collector or two found in this selection the beginnings of a passion. It is absolutely justified.

Click here for all the White Mountains [and related materials] offered in the recent New England Book Auction sale.

To view the White Mountains material broken out and in more detail click here.

Rare Book Monthly

  • 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
  • Gonnelli:
    Auction 50
    Books, Autographs & Manuscripts
    March 6th-7th 2024
    Gonnelli: Cramer, [Picasso, Chagall , Miró], Trente ans d'activité. Starting price 4800€
    Gonnelli: Futurism
    Gonnelli: Avienus, Opera. 1488. Starting price 1200€
    Gonnelli: Vimont, Relation de ce qui s'est passé en la Nouvelle France, en l'année 1642. Starting price 5000€
    Gonnelli: Goedart, Metamorphosis et historia naturalis insectorum. 1662.
    Gonnelli: Il Petrarcha con la spositione di M. Giovanni Andrea Gesualdo.
    Gonnelli: Poblacion, De usu astrolabi compendium.
  • Toronto Book Auctions
    ART-PHOTO-SIGNED-BOOKS-MILITARY(NON)FICTION
    March 6, 2024
    Toronto Book Auctions, Mar. 6: [ART BOOK MONOGRAPH] DAVID BURLIUK WITH ORIGINAL DRAWING and Signed twice. David Burliuk Rare ACA Gallery exhibition catalogue, undated. CA$400 – 800
    Toronto Book Auctions, Mar. 6: [ART BOOK MONOGRAPH] KAWS: COMPANIONSHIP IN THE AGE OF LONELINESS. Text by Margaret Atwood. National Gallery of Victoria, Australia, 2019. $CA400 - 800
    Toronto Book Auctions, Mar. 6: [ART BOOK MONOGRAPH] LAWRENCE WEINER: POSTERS. Nova Scotia College of Art, Canada,1987. CA$800 – 1,200
    Toronto Book Auctions
    ART-PHOTO-SIGNED-BOOKS-MILITARY(NON)FICTION
    March 6, 2024
    Toronto Book Auctions, Mar. 6: WILBUR SMITH: THE DARK OF THE SUN. Heinemann, UK, 1965. Signed First edition. CA$800 – 1,200
    Toronto Book Auctions, Mar. 6: ROBERTSON DAVIES: LEAVEN OF MALICE. SIGNED Clark, Irwin, & Co., Canada. 1954. 1st edition. CA$400 – 600
    Toronto Book Auctions, Mar. 6: [THE NOTABLE TRAILS LIBRARY]. 8 VOLUMES SOLD TOGETHER. INCLUDING: THE TRIAL OF DR. X; ROE V. WADE; THE GALILEO AFFAIR; THE TRIAL OF BERNHARD GOETZ… CA$300 – 500
    Toronto Book Auctions
    ART-PHOTO-SIGNED-BOOKS-MILITARY(NON)FICTION
    March 6, 2024
    Toronto Book Auctions, Mar. 6: [MILITARY FICTION]. 8 VOLUMES SOLD TOGETHER. INCLUDING: Canada's Royal Military College. REVIEW, THE STONE FRIGATE, A HISTORY OF THE RMC… CA$300 – 400
    Toronto Book Auctions, Mar. 6: [WW1] CANADIAN (C.S.E.F.) SIBERIA 1918-1919 PHOTO ALBUM. With approximately 303 original official war photographs, postcards, and personal photographs. CA$8,000 – 10,000.
    Toronto Book Auctions, Mar. 6: HANS BELLMER: THE DOLL. 1995, 1st Ed. CA$150 – 300.
    Toronto Book Auctions
    ART-PHOTO-SIGNED-BOOKS-MILITARY(NON)FICTION
    March 6, 2024
    Toronto Book Auctions, Mar. 6: FAN HO; HONG KONG YESTERDAY. ModernBooks edition, 2006. First edition. 4to. CA$300 – 600.
    Toronto Book Auctions, Mar. 6: TARYN SIMON: AN AMERICAN INDEX OF THE HIDDEN AND UNFAMILIAR. Hatje Cantz, Germany, 2012. Third edition. CA$600 – 1,000.
    Toronto Book Auctions, Mar. 6: BARBARA KRUGER PICTURE/READINGS. [Self-Published], 1978 First edition. CA$800 – 1,200.

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