Rare Book Monthly

Articles - September - 2008 Issue

Book Collectors to See Stars



By Bruce McKinney

If you are a movie buff or simply like movie stars in the buff I know where you'll be in early December - at the auction, close-out and house cleaning of the Collector's Bookstore in LA. In typical Hollywood style, Profiles in History of Calabasas, the designated auction seller, is planning a five day auction beginning on December 10th to sell the estimated 3 million items in CB's stock. Assuming that no one sleeps that's at least 25,000 items per hour, 400 a minute, one every fifteen one hundredths of a second. Auctioneers are known to talk fast and fast talkers are legendary in Hollywood but this promises to be a superhuman display of tongue-twisting acumen. Of course it can't be done this way. It isn't cool.

The inventory is actually a bit more than three million items, by some estimates closer to four. I rounded down. Here it is: three million Hollywood photos, 200,000 negatives, 30,000 movie scripts, 150,000 posters and more than 18,000 movie magazines dating back to 1912. According to Joseph Maddalena, the President of Profiles, an extensive full color catalogue will be available in early November. Single copies will be $30 and the complete sale available online as a PDF at no charge. AE expects to host a fully searchable version and it will also be accessible through eBay Live.

According to Mr. Maddalena, the inventory will be divided into approximately 3,000 lots. This suggests that an average lot will contain about a thousand items. Photographs will be sold "by the filing cabinet," approximately 15 running feet each. There are 150 filing cabinets. The best scripts will be grouped 5 to 10 per lot, the balance of the 30,000 available in much larger lots. "Hollywood memorabilia is a worldwide currency" according to a spokesman for the seller.

Also to be sold during the same sale will be 150 statues that are to be deaccessioned by the Hollywood Wax Museum. Figures from Mash, likenesses of John Wayne, Jerry Lewis, Wonder Woman [Linda Carter], Arnold Schwarzenegger, Ronald Reagan, May West and John Travolta lead an all-star caste.

According to Mr. Maddalena the estimated value of the collection is $4.0 million. For buyers, assuming that the inventory of 3.6 million pieces is parsed into 3,000 lots, the average lot will bring about $1,333 and contain more than 1,100 items. For eBay resellers, collectors and dealers it promises to be an intriguing opportunity.

The Collector's Bookstore was founded by Malcolm Willis and Leonard Brown in 1965. They were both collectors and started by selling what they collected: kitsch. In time the kitsch turned to gold and the store into a career. Six years ago the company closed its retail location and shifted its focus to eBay. Now they are ready to call it quits.

The material will be available for inspection by appointment and inspections are highly recommended. To arrange a seance call 310.859.7701.

The sale will conducted at Profiles in History, 26901 Agoura Road, Calabasas, California 91301. The start date is subject to change. Their website is www.profilesinhistory.com.

Rare Book Monthly

  • Il Ponte, Feb. 27-28: KUPKA, Frantisek (1871-1957) - Quatre histoires de blanc et noir. Paris: Marcel Baque, 1926. €5.000-€8.000
    Il Ponte, Feb. 27-28: VASI, Giuseppe Agostino (1710-1782) - Raccolta delle più belle vedute antiche, e moderne di Roma disegnate ed incise secondo lo stato presente. Rome: A. Vasi, 1786. €4.000-€6.000
    Il Ponte, Feb. 27-28: SALAMANCA, Antonio (1478-1562) - [First map depicting the bay of Naples]. [Rome: 1538]. €3.000-€5.000
  • Bonhams, Ending Feb. 21: A JAMES MADISON THANKSGIVING PROCLAMATION. $12,000 - $18,000
    Bonhams, Ending Feb. 21: A JAMES MONROE PRESIDENTIAL SERVICE SOUP BOWL. $6,000 - $9,000
    Bonhams, Ending Feb. 21: A FRANKLIN PIERCE BRUSHED SILK TOP HAT. $10,000 - $15,000
    Bonhams, Ending Feb. 21: LINCOLN ENDORSEMENT: "I AM ALWAYS FOR THE MAN WHO WISHES TO WORK." $15,000 - $20,000
    Bonhams, Ending Feb. 21: A RUTHERFORD B. HAYES CIVIL WAR-ERA TRAVEL DESK. $4,000 - $6,000
    Bonhams, Ending Feb. 21: FRANKLIN D. ROOSEVELT'S FINAL PRESIDENTIAL AUTOMOBILE FLAG. $20,000 - $30,000
    Bonhams, Ending Feb. 21: GARFIELD LS AS PRESIDENT ALLUDING TO THE "STAR-ROUTE" SCANDAL: "REGRETTING THE EMBARRASSMENTS WHICH THE EVENT HAS CAUSED US BOTH." $25,000 - $35,000
    Bonhams, Ending Feb. 21: AN 18K GOLD AND ENAMEL WILLIAM MCKINLEY INAGURATION POCKETWATCH. $15,000 - $20,000
    Bonhams, Ending Feb. 21: A JOHN F. KENNEDY PRESIDENTIAL MOTORCADE FLAG. $80,000 - $120,000
    Bonhams, Ending Feb. 21: PRESIDENT KENNEDY'S LAST DAY: OFFICIAL SCHEDULE ANNOTATED BY SPECIAL ASSISTANT DAVE POWERS WITH A MINUTE-BY-MINUTE DETAIL OF THE DAY'S ACTIONS. $40,000 - $60,000
  • 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
  • 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.

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