Rare Book Monthly

Articles - June - 2003 Issue

Looking at Auctions with the MatchMaker Software

Julie2

Matched Auction Lot Detail


But there aren’t going to be so many incorrect matches. In the Americana field there are currently about 12,000 lots annually. Of course there are many more books because about half of all auction lots in the field contain more than one book and sometimes as many as 10 individual books.

In time we believe the number of lots will increase but it is never going to rival the number of books on the net which is currently about 75 million in total and between 300,000 and 500,000 in the Americana field. Incidentally, you probably won’t want to too narrowly describe Hudson. You could add New York or N. Y. but such descriptive terms will eliminate all but exact matches so you’ll probably miss interesting material. Printers followed no set formula. Incidentally, this matching system ignores both capitalization and punctuation. Kingston, New York and Kingston New York look the same to the controlling software.

Above the A & I (Auctions & Internet) Matches on the Control Panel is the Creating/Editing Keyword Lists Menu. From here, you have two options: Add Keyword and View/Edit/Delete Keyword. If you click on Add Keyword, an initial search screen will pop up. Here you are able to enter a word of your choice on a line. You then have the opportunity to add a second and even a third keyword. But each word on a line must be present with each other word on the same line. So if you first keyword is Washington you might use George as a linked keyword. Unfortunately, George is often abbreviated to Geo. and using George isn’t going to match it. So you need to be imaginative. If your interest is only about his activities at Mount Vernon perhaps the linked keyword could be Vernon. Each member will develop their own sense of how to use this tool effectively. Until you see too many matches use very broad matches. It’s part of educating yourself.

The Auction Keyword Search Engine operates under the same logic as the Keyword Search in the Æ Database. Thus, it will search all fields in the auction lots. Since the search will automatically retrieve only those records with all of the keywords in them, each term used in the keyword search determines the outcome of your Auction Keyword Matches. This enables you narrow or broaden your search, depending on words used in your query. But start broad and narrow as experience dictates.

Since the Keyword Match Screen pulls its information from the Auction Records, it shows the same auction house and auction lot information as the Auction Match Screen. Thus, you can view date printed, edition and condition of a book. An even more nifty aspect of the auction lot records is that you can view the estimated and actual price of each lot. It’s nice to be able to compare the auction house’s expectations against the sale room reality. This will help you to gauge your future bids. If you see that a particular auction house’s lots usually sell for 2 to 3 times the high estimate you’ll know that to buy an item you may have to be prepared to bid much higher than the estimate range suggests. This makes it essential to use the ÆD auction and dealer catalogue records to gauge a logical bid and a just as logical limit to what an item is worth. There is no one rule about the relationship between auction lot estimates and lot value.

Rare Book Monthly

  • <center><b>Swann Auction Galleries<br>View Our Record Breaking Results</b>
    <b>Swann:</b> Scott Joplin, <i>Treemonisha: Opera in Three Acts,</i> New York, 1911. Sold March 24 — $40,000.
    <b>Swann:</b> Louisa May Alcott, autograph letter signed, 1868. Sold June 2 — $23,750.
    <b>Swann:</b> Anne Bradstreet, <i>Several Poems Compiled with Great Variety of Wit and Learning, full of Delight,</i> Boston, 1758. Sold June 2 — $21,250.
    <b>Swann:</b> William Shakespeare, <i>Comedies, Histories, and Tragedies. Published according to the true Originall Copies. The Second Impression,</i> London, 1632. Sold May 5 — $161,000.
    <center><b>Swann Auction Galleries<br>View Our Record Breaking Results</b>
    <b>Swann:</b> John Bachmann, <i>Panorama of the Seat of War,</i> New York, 1861-62. Sold June 23 — $35,000.
    <b>Swann:</b> Charlotte Bronte, <i>Jane Eyre,</i> first edition, London, 1847. Sold June 16 — $23,750.
    <b>Swann:</b> Elihu Vedder, <i>Simple Simon, His Book,</i> 1913. Sold June 9 — $12,350.
    <b>Swann:</b> Frederick Catherwood, <i>Views of Ancient Monuments in Central America, Chiapas and Yucatan,</i> London, 1844. Sold April 7 — $37,500.

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