Rare Book Monthly

Articles - August - 2009 Issue

Recipes for Recovery

M.osborne

Michael Osborne: mending, cataloging and selling


Ed Postal of Barnaby Rudge of Laguna Beach: "Traffic in the shop is down so I'm adding two shows: Santa Monica in September and Seattle in October." He's also selling about $5,000 a month in eBay stores. "If the market won't come to me, I go to the market."

Frank Wood and Scott DeWolfe have gone in a different direction. They have been selling books for several decades. They have seen downturns before but the anxiety level is higher this time around. Sellers are more anxious to sell and buyers less certain about buying. DeWolfe & Wood has responded by diverting some material they might have held for shows, into weekly online catalogues they release at noon EST each Tuesday. Each week twenty or so new items are posted and, with a few exceptions, have been posted every week since their introduction in February. The material is quirky, often unusual and priced to both sell and attract new buyers.

The strategy has been working. It has become a weekly event. They also sell on eBay.

Here are links to the D&W site: www.dwbooks.com and for the weekly catalogue click here. The newest issue has been released early to correspond to the release of AE Monthly. The regular schedule will resume on August 11th.

Philip Core of Wilkensburg, Pa, doing business as Brillig Books, describes the past six months as an unusually slow time. "I've responded by reducing my offers to buy material and continue to have them accepted. Other dealers are also bidding but the offers, out of an abundance of caution, are lower. Philip goes on to point out, "It is not only the lack of buyers that makes for a buyer's market. It is the circumstances of sellers and their need to sell."

"I continue to sell online and occasionally by appointment. My options, other than cutting prices, are limited. However, I did find something that has made a difference: free shipping. It is a positive factor in holding my own with sales volume."

Dayson Engels of Castner's Auction Service of Branchville, New Jersey offered this sobering perspective. "I'm as busy as I ever was but the circumstances are different. Four years ago I'd be asked to sell the contents of a house because the seller was moving to Florida. Today I get the same call but they tell me their house is being foreclosed. Sell the contents. Send me a check."

And then there is Michael Osborne of Columbia, Maryland. Sometimes your book, manuscript and ephemera sales, no matter how much and how many, are not the most important thing in your life. He's fighting a serious illness. For him the question about decline and recovery is about life, not sales.

While mending he is keeping his perspective, writing descriptions of a new collection of architecture books, aggressively pricing and preparing for the Baltimore Antiquarian Book Fair, September 3rd to 6th at the Baltimore Convention Center.

About this material, a portion of the collection of J. Wilmer Smith, who was a practicing architect in the early 20th century and who co-produced Measured Drawings of Georgian Architecture in the District of Columbia, 1750-1820 he has this to say. "Many of the books are from local architects and architecture firms of the time: Upman & Adams, PC Adams, and William Deming. I have some plate counting to do this coming week when I catalog Georgian Architecture of the Colonial Period in portfolio from 1898 and a McKim Mead & White monograph unbound in parts. Last week I cataloged what I believe is the first edition of William Pain's Builder's Pocket Treasure from 1763, which is a pocket sized look at Palladio in text with 44 folding plates.

If you find yourself on Maryland's sandy plains stop in to say hello. Here is his web site: www.michaeljosbornebooks.com.

Taken together, booksellers are a tough bunch. The book business isn't going away but its recovery will be the work of thousands of men and women who assess their situations and take steps to recover and in time prosper. Think of your own situation and remember the words often used in AA: You can not continue to do the same thing and expect a different outcome.

Links to those interviewed:

Lee Kirk: The Prints and the Paper.

John Bruno: Flamingo Eventz.

Myron West: Far West Maps and Books.

Dan Weinberg: Abraham Lincoln Book Shop.

Bill Ewald: Argus Books and Graphics.

Ed Postal: Barnaby Rudge.

DeWolfe & Wood, Frank, Scott and Brandy.

Philip Core: Brillig Books.

Castner's Auction Service, Branchville, NJ.

Michael J. Osborne Books

Rare Book Monthly

  • <b><center>Sotheby’s<br>Original Film Posters<br>27 January - 10 February 2023</b>
    <b>Sotheby’s, Jan. 27-Feb. 10:</b> Vertigo (1958), poster, US. The ultimate poster on this classic Hitchcock title, one of three known examples. £40,000 to £60,000.
    <b>Sotheby’s, Jan. 27-Feb. 10:</b> Lawrence of Arabia (1962), roadshow poster, US. £8,000 to £12,000.
    <b>Sotheby’s, Jan. 27-Feb. 10:</b> Star Wars (1977), style C poster, printer's proof, US. £7,000 to £10,000.
    <b>Sotheby’s, Jan. 27-Feb. 10:</b> The Navigator/ La Croisiere du Navigator (1924), re-release poster (1931), French. £5,000 to £8,000.
    <b>Sotheby’s, Jan. 27-Feb. 10:</b> Bullitt (1968), special test poster, US. £3,000 to £5,000.
  • <b>Old World Auctions (Feb 8):</b> Lot 817. Bellin's complete five-volume maritime atlas with 581 maps & plates (1764). $24,000 to $30,000.
    <b>Old World Auctions (Feb 8):</b> Lot 325. An early and important map of the Republic of Texas (1837). $11,000 to $14,000.
    <b>Old World Auctions (Feb 8):</b> Lot 45. De Bry's early map of North Pole depicting Willem Barentsz' expedition (1601). $3,500 to $4,250.
    <b>Old World Auctions (Feb 8):</b> Lot 154. Poignant map of the United States documenting lynchings (1931). $250 to $325.
    <b>Old World Auctions (Feb 8):</b> Lot 457. Extremely rare matching set of pro-German propaganda from WWI (1914). $2,000 to $2,400.
    <b>Old World Auctions (Feb 8):</b> Lot 815. Homann's world atlas featuring 110 maps in contemporary color (1751). $14,000 to $16,000.
    <b>Old World Auctions (Feb 8):</b> Lot 60. Miniature pocket globe based on Herman Moll (1785). $3,500 to $4,500.
    <b>Old World Auctions (Feb 8):</b> Lot 8. Visscher's rare carte-a-figures world map (1652). $14,000 to $16,000.
    <b>Old World Auctions (Feb 8):</b> Lot 158. Matching satirical maps of the US by McCandlish: "Ration Map" & "Bootlegger's Map" (1944). $3,000 to $4,000.
    <b>Old World Auctions (Feb 8):</b> Lot 820. One of the finest English atlases of the early 19th century (1808). $4,750 to $6,000.
    <b>Old World Auctions (Feb 8):</b> Lot 59. Important milestone in preparation for 1969 moon landing (1963). $750 to $900.
    <b>Old World Auctions (Feb 8):</b> Lot 805. Superb bible leaf with image of crucifixion of Jesus with gilt highlights (1518). $800 to $950.
  • <center><b>Potter & Potter Auctions<br>Fine Books & Manuscripts,<br>including Americana<br>February 16, 2023</b>
    <b>Potter & Potter, Feb. 16:</b> [KELMSCOTT PRESS]. CHAUCER, Geoffrey. <i>The Works…now newly imprinted.</i> Edited by F.S. Ellis. Hammersmith: Kelmscott Press, 1896. $100,000 to $125,000.
    <b>Potter & Potter, Feb. 16:</b> [EINSTEIN, Albert (1879–1955)]. –– ORLIK, Emil (1870–1932), artist. Lithograph signed (“Albert Einstein”). N.p., 1928. $10,000 to $15,000.
    <b>Potter & Potter, Feb. 16:</b> TOLKIEN, John Ronald Reuel. <i>[The Lord of the Rings trilogy:] The Fellowship of the Ring.</i> 1954. –– <i>The Two Towers.</i> 1954. –– <i>The Return of the King.</i> 1955. $10,000 to $15,000.
    <b>Potter & Potter, Feb. 16:</b> CLEMENS, Samuel Langhorne ("Mark Twain") and Charles Dudley WARNER. <i>The Gilded Age: A Tale of Today.</i> Hartford and Chicago, 1873. $6,000 to $8,000.
    <b>Potter & Potter, Feb. 16:</b> LOVECRAFT, Howard Phillips. <i>Beyond the Wall of Sleep.</i> Collected by August Derleth and Donald Wandrei. Sauk City, WI: Arkham House, 1943. $2,000 to $3,000.
  • <center><b>California International Antiquarian Book Fair<br>February 10-12, 2023<br>Pasadena Convention Center<br> abaa.org/cabookfair
    <center><b>California International Antiquarian Book Fair<br>February 10-12, 2023<br>Pasadena Convention Center<br> abaa.org/cabookfair
    <center><b>California International Antiquarian Book Fair<br>February 10-12, 2023<br>Pasadena Convention Center<br> abaa.org/cabookfair
    <center><b>California International Antiquarian Book Fair<br>February 10-12, 2023<br>Pasadena Convention Center<br> abaa.org/cabookfair
    <center><b>California International Antiquarian Book Fair<br>February 10-12, 2023<br>Pasadena Convention Center<br> abaa.org/cabookfair
    <center><b>California International Antiquarian Book Fair<br>February 10-12, 2023<br>Pasadena Convention Center<br> abaa.org/cabookfair
    <center><b>California International Antiquarian Book Fair<br>February 10-12, 2023<br>Pasadena Convention Center<br> abaa.org/cabookfair
    <center><b>California International Antiquarian Book Fair<br>February 10-12, 2023<br>Pasadena Convention Center<br> abaa.org/cabookfair
    <center><b>California International Antiquarian Book Fair<br>February 10-12, 2023<br>Pasadena Convention Center<br> abaa.org/cabookfair
    <center><b>California International Antiquarian Book Fair<br>February 10-12, 2023<br>Pasadena Convention Center<br> abaa.org/cabookfair
    <center><b>California International Antiquarian Book Fair<br>February 10-12, 2023<br>Pasadena Convention Center<br> abaa.org/cabookfair
  • <b><center>Swann Auction Galleries<br>View Our Record Breaking Results</b>
    <b>Swann:</b> Gideon Welles, <i>Extensive archive of personal and family papers of Lincoln’s Secretary of the Navy,</i> 1791-1914. Sold September 29 — $281,000.
    <b>Swann:</b> Charles Addams, <i>Rock Climbers,</i> cartoon for <i>The New Yorker,</i> watercolor, ink and gouache, 1954. Sold December 15 — $37,500.
    <b>Swann:</b> Charlotte Brontë, <i>Jane Eyre. An Autobiography. Edited by Currer Bell,</i> three volumes, first edition, 1847. Sold June 16, 2022 — $23,750.
    <b>Swann:</b> Geoffrey Chaucer, <i>The Workes of Geffray Chaucer Newlye Printed,</i> London, 1542. Sold October 13 — $106,250.
    <b><center>Swann Auction Galleries<br>View Our Record Breaking Results</b>
    <b>Swann:</b> Dorothea Lange, <i>Migrant Mother, Nipomo, California (Destitute pea pickers in California. Mother of seven children. Age 32),</i> silver print, 1936. Sold October 20 — $305,000.
    <b>Swann:</b> George Washington, Autograph Document Signed, with two manuscript plat maps in holograph, 1751. Sold October 27 — $37,500.
    <b>Swann:</b> Winfred Rembert, <i>Winfred Rembert and Class of 1959,</i> dye on carved & tooled leather, 1999. Sold October 6 — $233,000.
    <b>Swann:</b> M.C. Escher, <i>Relativity,</i> lithograph, 1953. Sold November 3 — $81,250.

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