Rare Book Monthly

Articles - September - 2008 Issue

Bookseller Heaven; or The Thirtieth Colorado Antiquarian Book Seminar

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Faculty and students paying close attention to Seminar Director, Rob Rulon-Miller.


By Karen Wright

When I wrote an essay about why I should be awarded a scholarship to the Thirtieth Annual Colorado Antiquarian Book Seminar, way back last winter, I didn't really expect to get it. I assumed there would be a zillion people with better essay skills applying, and I forgot about it. My surprise was complete when I got an email from Kathy Lindeman, the Coordinator for the Seminar, telling me that I had won a week in the shadow of Pike's Peak. I had absolutely no idea what I was in for, but right up front, before I go into great detail, let me just say that even in college I have never had a learning experience so completely utopian. I'm still blissed out and my faith in my chosen profession is renewed ten times over. I went there thinking that after eighteen years as a bookseller, I knew a lot about bookselling. I came away much humbled, after realizing that I didn't know nearly as much as I thought I did. Therein lies my tale.

We skidded in late from the airport to register on Sunday night then grabbed a bite to eat at the college cafeteria. Now this cafeteria, I'm happy to say, was nothing like any cafeteria in which I've ever eaten. They had a well stocked salad bar, a breakfast bar, a grill, a stir-fry stall, a Mediterranean snack bar, a pizza bar, a meat and potatoes cafe, and a fairly constant supply of fresh, raw veggies and fruit. It was amazing, and a happy occasion since we were eating most of our meals there.

After dinner, there was a get-acquainted reception. We all introduced ourselves and then listened with interest to the keynote speaker; Hannes Blum, CEO of ABE Books. The recent announcement that Amazon had just co-partnered with ABE was of great interest to all of us, especially since there was a large contingent of dissatisfied Amazon users present. Blum fielded questions very carefully and noted several times that the two companies have not yet had time to discuss what changes - or lack thereof - they may make in their policies. We gleaned that ABE will probably handle more of the antiquarian and rare books and that Amazon will probably be responsible for the day-to-day sale of less lofty used books. After a couple of glasses of wine, a chocolate dessert, and a day on the plane, we were all ready to walk the three blocks to the Colorado College Inn. Our residence for the week was a former 'pay-by-the-hour' motel, bought by the college, rehabbed, and converted to summer student housing. It was quite nunnery-like, with single beds, no TVs, and no frills, but it was clean and had air conditioning. Besides, we were all so exhausted by the end of each day that I think we could have slept on a bench in a bus station.

It would take a week to give you a blow by blow account of each class, so I will hit the gist of each talk and you can email me if you want more details.

Monday we started in promptly after breakfast with the most basic of bookseller info; how to handle books including things as simple as how to open a rare book, how to shelve and unshelve it, sleeve it (if necessary), and a few other basic procedures. The segment on shipping covered what supplies to use and where to find specialized materials. We were also cautioned on where NOT to ship and why, and how to check an order that might seem a bit dicey.

Rare Book Monthly

  • <center><b>Sotheby’s<br>Collection of a Connoisseur:<br>History in Manuscript, Part 2<br>27 April 2021</b>
    <b>Sotheby’s, through Apr. 27:</b><br>Ronald Reagan. Series of 37 letters to Senator George Murphy, and related material, 1968-90. £50,000 to £70,000.
    <b>Sotheby’s, through Apr. 27:</b><br>Chaim Weizmann. Autograph letter signed, to General Sir Gilbert Clayton, 6 September 1918. £20,000 to £30,000.
    <b>Sotheby’s, through Apr. 27:</b><br>Sir Winston Churchill. Autograph letter signed, to Pamela, Lady Lytton, 1942. £20,000 to $30,000.
    <center><b>Sotheby’s<br>Collection of a Connoisseur:<br>History in Manuscript, Part 2<br>27 April 2021</b>
    <b>Sotheby’s, through Apr. 27:</b><br>Oscar Wilde. Five autograph letters signed, to Alsager Vian, 1887. £15,000 to £20,000.
    <b>Sotheby’s, through Apr. 27:</b><br>Napoleon I. Letter signed to Admiral Ganteaume, ordering the invasion of England, 22 August 1805. £10,000 to £15,000.
    <b>Sotheby’s, through Apr. 27:</b><br>Horatio, Viscount Nelson, and Emma Hamilton. Two autograph letter signed, to Catherine and George Matcham, 1805. £6,000 to £8,000.
  • <b>Swann Auction Galleries Apr 15:</b> Frances Palmer, <i>Battle of Buena Vista,</i> chromolithograph, New York, 1847. $4,000 to $6,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Apr 15:</b> Antonio Colmenero de Ledesma, the earliest publication concerned solely with chocolate, first edition, Madrid, 1631. $10,000 to $15,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Apr 15:</b> Romans Bernard, <i>An Exact View of the Late Battle at Charlestown, June 17th, 1775,</i> engraving, 1776. $40,000 to $60,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Apr 15:</b> <i>A Short Narrative of the Horrid Massacre in Boston,</i> English edition, London, 1770. $12,000 to $18,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Apr 15:</b> William Soule, <i>Lodge of the Plains Indians,</i> albumen print, 1872. $1,500 to $2,500.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Apr 15:</b> Manuscript document to enforce New York’s “Agreement of Non-Importation” during the heyday of the Sons of Liberty, New York, 1769. $10,000 to $15,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Apr 15:</b> Clarence Mackenzie, <i>Drummer Boy of the 13th Regiment of Brooklyn,</i> salt print with applied color, 1861. $3,000 to $4,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Apr 15:</b> Moses Lopez, <i>A Lunar Calendar,</i> first Jewish calendar published in America, Newport, RI, 1806. $3,000 to $4,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Apr 15:</b><br>The Book of Mormon, first edition, Palmyra, 1830. $30,000 to $40,000.
  • <center><b>Gonnelli Auction House<br>Books and Graphics<br>19th, 20th and 21st April 2021</b>
    <b><center>Gonnelli: Apr. 19-21<br>Books from XVI to XX Century</b>
    <b><center>Gonnelli: Apr. 20<br>Atlases and Maps</b
    <b><center>Gonnelli: Apr. 21<br> Veneto and Venice, a Selection of Books from the XVI to XX century</b>
    <b><center>Gonnelli: Apr. 20<br></b>Rossini Gioachino, Baguette de chef d'orchestre appartenuta a Gioachino Rossini, dono del Comune di Passy. 1500 €
    <b><center>Gonnelli: Apr. 21<br></b>Manetti Saverio, Storia naturale degli uccelli trattata con metodo. Cinque volumi. 1767. 18.000 €
    <b><center>Gonnelli: Apr. 21<br></b>Poe Edgar Allan, Double assassinat dans la rue morgue. Illustrations de Cura. 1946.
    <b><center>Gonnelli: Apr. 19-21<br>Books from XVI to XX Century</b>
  • <b>Old World Auctions (April 28):</b><br>Lot 54. Fanciful engraving of earth's interior with magma core and errupting volcanoes (1682). $1500 to $1800.
    <b>Old World Auctions (April 28):</b><br>Lot 165. Rare state of Jefferys' influential map of New England in contemporary color (1755). $8000 to $9500.
    <b>Old World Auctions (April 28):</b><br>Lot 177. Mouzon's foundation map of the Carolinas (1775). $10000 to $13000.
    <b>Old World Auctions (April 28):</b><br>Lot 183. Very rare first state of De Fer's map of the Lower Mississippi Valley (1715). $20000 to $25000.
    <b>Old World Auctions (April 28):</b><br>Lot 253. Scarce Scottish edition based on Ellicott's plan of Washington, D.C. (1796). $2400 to $3000.
    <b>Old World Auctions (April 28):</b><br>Lot 313. Stunning view of Philadelphia by John Bachmann (1850). $3250 to $4250.
    <b>Old World Auctions (April 28):</b><br>Lot 338. Rare Civil War map based on Bucholtz map of Virginia (1862). $9500 to $12000.
    <b>Old World Auctions (April 28):</b><br>Lot 667. First map to accurately show Luzon in Philippines (1590). $6000 to $7500.
    <b>Old World Auctions (April 28):</b><br>Lot 682. Rare map of Shanghai International Settlement published just after WWI (1918). $7000 to $9000.
    <b>Old World Auctions (April 28):</b><br>Lot 738. Coronelli's superb map of the Pacific showing the Island of California (1697) Est. $2400 - $3000
    <b>Old World Auctions (April 28):</b><br>Lot 743. A cornerstone piece in the mapping of Australia and New Zealand (1726) Est. $6000 - $7500
    <b>Old World Auctions (April 28):</b><br>Lot 781. An uncommon signature during Jefferson's Governorship of Virginia (1779) Est. $9500 - $11000

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