Rare Book Monthly

Articles - July - 2009 Issue

<i>In The News:</i> Crime and Lawsuits

Cookcountycourt

Dismissed for want of prosecution.


By Michael Stillman

A couple of the more notable cases involving books and bookselling have been delayed or deleted. The case of Raymond Scott, of Durham, England, was postponed until August when his attorney informed the court that Mr. Scott was in the hospital, recovering from an unspecified operation. Scott is the gentleman who walked into the Folger Library in Washington last year with a copy of a Shakespeare First Folio he said he wished to have authenticated on behalf of a Cuban owner. Instead, the Folger's expert identified it as being the copy stolen from the Durham University Library a decade ago. Scott, a most colorful, high-living playboy, denies the accuracy of the expert's identification, and sticks to his story that it belonged to the family of his Cuban girlfriend. Rather than seeking to hide, Scott has sought out publicity for the past year, making the most of, not to mention extending, his 15 minutes of fame. However, it now appears that authorities have further complicated his situation by leveling theft charges over a few other items, such as credit cards and a driver's license, found when his home was searched after the initial charge.

The case of E Baron Auction vs. Sandra Efroni appears to have quietly faded away. That was the case where an eBay seller took his customer to court for posting negative feedback. Efroni had purchased a couple of cheap medallions from E Baron, and felt both should have a case (just one did), the shipping was too expensive, and the seller had taken too long to repost the items after an earlier listing. However, all of these were clear to the buyer before she placed her bid. In other words, there was nothing deceptive in the seller's listing, but the buyer still did not approve of his business practices. Is this grounds for negative feedback? Ms. Efroni thought so, Baron thought not. Ebay is unclear on this point. E Baron took her to court in his home state of Illinois, not at all convenient for the reportedly out-of-work California resident.

For months, this case was postponed in the Cook County Circuit Court. Finally, on the latest hearing date, June 10, 2009, the court announced the case has been dismissed for want of prosecution. The parties can now return to buying and selling, though it is doubtful either has benefited from this whole episode, either financially or in terms of reputation. Meanwhile, the glaring hole in eBay's feedback system, that allows buyers to post damaging, possibly unfair negative comments, with sellers having no means to explain, remains unfilled.

Rare Book Monthly

  • <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>
  • <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.

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