Rare Book Monthly

Articles - July - 2009 Issue

W. Graham Arader: "Reports of my death are greatly exaggerated"

W.graham

W. Graham Arader III


By Bruce McKinney

On June 19th the most recent and certainly not final chapter of the Graham Arader story was written in the auction rooms at Sotheby's, as they conducted a 202 lot sale of selected inventory from the storied archives of W. Graham Arader of King of Prussia, Pennsylvania, and Madison Avenue in New York. The sale realized $3.26 million. No doubt, many dealers wished for the sale to fail and were deeply disappointed that it made a passable grade even as the economic downturn has taken hold. Whether it was an act of bravery or necessity is subject to interpretation and both admirers and detractors have their different views. That it was an exceptional outcome given the difficult environment is beyond dispute.

Mr. Arader commands the attention of the press. He has been the subject, for almost thirty years, of newspaper and magazine articles, the bickering of competitors and the admiration of clients. He is the subject of a Wikipedia page that includes articles about and references to him.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Graham_Arader

Indicative of his larger than life personality and position in New York society the New York Observer, in March, writing about him and his New York City home had this to say:

"The legendary art dealer W. Graham Arader III, an eccentric maestro in the world of rare prints and antique maps, has cut the price of his seven-story, 10-bedroom, 22-room, 12,000-square-foot mansion at 1016 Madison Avenue from $75 million to $65 million. He now has only the second most expensive listing in New York: Aby Rosen's townhouse on East 71st Street is still asking $75 million."

His approach to the recent auction was vintage Graham Arader. He pledged 20% of the auction proceeds to charities of the buyer's choice. For institutions, this amounted to a discount of 20%, for well-healed successful bidders the chance to acquire appealing material and earn the appreciation of institutions and charities they designate.

In the run up to the sale the New York Times on June 18th addressed a rumor -

"Despite reports that he was closing his business, Graham Arader, a New York dealer in rare books, atlases, botanical prints and natural history watercolors, is just selling off inventory in Sotheby's sale on Friday of 200 of his holdings. A third of the lots will be sold without reserve, and Mr. Arader has pledged to donate 20 percent of each lot's hammer price to any recognized charity designated by the buyer."

Following the sale Mr. Arader released the following statement:

"With auction proceeds, sales after the auction and special sales in all of my galleries for the next month it appears that I am going to gross about $5,000,000 and hopefully give away $1,000,000 on top of that. Those funds will be distributed to the participating charities on July 23 at 1016 Madison Avenue at 4 pm to be followed by a dinner party at 6:30 for all institutions that participated (about 50) and for all people who acquired artwork at the sale and afterward. A list of the lots that sold with the charities to be benefited will be distributed at this event. Any charity that supported this new idea will be given a minimum of $1000 even if any buyers did not designate them. I hope that this will cover some of their costs of promotion for this new idea and encourage them to participate next year. It is very important that full disclosure be available for all parties to insure the continuation of this concept.

Rare Book Monthly

  • <b>Bonhams, Jun 13 results:</b> Darwin, Charles. <i>On the Origin of Species.</i> Presentation Copy. Sold for $500,075.
    <b>Bonhams, Jun 13 results:</b> Darwin, Charles. Autograph Letter Signed, 3 pp, negotiating the 2nd American edition with Appleton. Sold for $21,325.
    <b>Bonhams, Jun 13 results:</b> Hemingway, Ernest. Autograph Letter Signed, 8 pp, Paris, 1924, to his father discussing Bullfighting, Stories, and his new baby. Sold for $25,075.
    <b>Bonhams, Jun 13 results:</b> Shakespeare, William. <i>Corialanus.</i> London, 1623. 1st printing [Extracted from the First Folio]. Sold for $50,075.
    <b>Bonhams, Jun 13 results:</b> Swift, Jonathan. <i>Gulliver's Travels.</i> London, 1726. 1st edition, Teerink's A edition, fine, large copy. Sold for $21,325.
    <b>Bonhams, Jun 13 results:</b> Fitzroy, Robert. Autograph Letter Signed to agent Thomas Stilwell, informing him of the progress of H.M.S. Beagle. Sold for $17,575.
    <center><b>Bonhams<br> Property from the Collection of Nicole and William R. Keck II</b>
    <b>Bonhams, Jun 13 results:</b> Shakespeare, William. <i>Sonnets.</i> 1901. 2 volumes. Printed on vellum and illuminated by Ross Turner, bound by Trautz-Bauzonnet. Sold for $13,825.
    <b>Bonhams, Jun 13 results:</b> Beardsley, Aubrey. <i>The Birth, Life, and Acts of King Arthur.</i> 1893-94. 2 volumes. Contemporary painted vellum gilt by Chivers. Sold for $5,325.
    <b>Bonhams, Jun 13 results:</b> Assisi, St. Francis. <i>The Canticle of Brother Sun.</i> Illuminated on vellum, for the Grolier Society. Sold for $7,575.
    <b>Bonhams, Jun 13 results:</b> Rackham, Arthur. <i>Peter Pan in Kensington Gardens.</i> 1/500 copies signed by Rackham. Sold for $4,825.
    <b>Bonhams, Jun 13 results:</b> Proust, Marcel. <i>Du coté de chez Swann.</i> 1st edition, 1st issue. Inscribed by Proust. Sold for $8,825.
  • <b>Swann Auction Galleries Aug 7:</b> Sergio Trujillo Magnenat, <i>Bogotá 1938 / IV Centenario / Juegos Deportivos Bolivarianos,</i> 1938. $2,000 to $3,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Aug 7:</b> <i>McQueen Drives Porsche,</i> designer unknown, 1970. $800 to $1,200.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Aug 7:</b><br>Joe Bridge, <i>Bignan / A Des Ailes,</i> 1921. $5,000 to $7,500.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Aug 7:</b> Graham Simmons, <i>The Army Isn’t All Work,</i> 1919. $1,000 to $1,500.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Aug 7:</b> Leonetto Cappiello, <i>Je ne fume que le nil,</i> 1912. $800 to $1,200.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Aug 7:</b> <i>Attack of the 50 ft. Woman,</i> designer unknown, 1958. $3,000 to $4,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Aug 7:</b> Raymond Tooby, <i>Festival Guiness / Have You Tried One Yet?,</i> 1952. $600 to $900.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Aug 7:</b> Francisco Tamagno, <i>Terrot & Co. / Dijon / Cycles Motorettes,</i> 1909. $2,000 to $3,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Aug 7:</b><br>A. Hori, Oakland / General Motors, circa 1925. $3,000 to $4,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Aug 7:</b> James Montgomery Flagg, <i>Travel? Adventure? Answer – Join the Marines!,</i> circa 1918. $4,000 to $6,000.
  • <b>Lark Mason Associates, Aug 8-27:</b> Roberts, David. Twenty Lithographs of the Holy Land, 19th Century. $2,000 to $4,000.
    <b>Lark Mason Associates, Aug 8-27:</b> Declaration by the Reps. of the United Colonies of N.A. 1775. $8,000 to $12,000.
    <b>Lark Mason Associates, Aug 8-27:</b> Composer Jerome Kern personal Letters, Albums and Other. $15,000 to $25,000.
    <b>Lark Mason Associates, Aug 8-27:</b> Paine, Thomas. <i>Common Sense,</i> London 1776. $8,000 to $12,000.
    <b>Lark Mason Associates, Aug 8-27:</b> Stowe, Harriet Beecher. <i>Uncle Tom’s Cabin,</i> Cleveland 1852. $4,000 to $6,000.
    <b>Lark Mason Associates, Aug 8-27:</b> Hobbes, Thomas. <i>Leviathan,</i> 3rd edition, London 1651. $2,000 to $3,000.
    <b>Lark Mason Associates, Aug 8-27:</b> Anno Regni Georgii III. Intolerable Acts and other Bills, 1774. $15,000 to $20,000.
    <b>Lark Mason Associates, Aug 8-27:</b> Wilberforce, William. An Abstract of the Evidence, 5 Letters, and two books. $6,000 to $9,000.
    <b>Lark Mason Associates, Aug 8-27:</b> Nightingale, Florence. Notes on Nursing and Signed Letters, ca. 1860 $4,000 to $6,000.
    <b>Lark Mason Associates, Aug 8-27:</b> Tolstov, Leo. <i>War and Peace,</i> 5 volumes, 1886. $3,000 to $5,000.
    <b>Lark Mason Associates, Aug 8-27:</b> Dickinson, John. Letters from a Farmer in Pennsylvania, 1768. $1,500 to $2,500.
    <b>Lark Mason Associates, Aug 8-27:</b> Twain, Mark. <i>Tom Sawyer,</i> 1877 [and] <i>Huckleberry Finn,</i> 1885. $4,000 to $6,000.

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